This is a study of the politics of the pivotal province of Holland and of its role in the political system of the Dutch Republic as a whole in the seventeenth century. It is an original, scholarly, and challenging analysis, which treats the reality of politics from the ground up. J.L. Price explores the politics of the towns of Holland in detail, examines the province's political system, and assesses the ways in which Holland influenced the policies of the Dutch Republic in its Golden Age. He argues, controversially, that not only did the decentralized political system of the Republic work well, but that a more unified state would have been a failure. Dr Price's novel approach to a complex and important subject sets politics in its economic and social context, and offers valuable insights into the practical politics of the Dutch during the period when they played a major role on the world stage.