Rethinking Leviathan: The Eighteenth-century State in Britain and Germany

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Rethinking Leviathan offers a new approach to the history of the modern state. It concentrates on the eighteenth century and on two cases, those of Britain and Germany. These two countries have always been test-cases for historians and social scientists looking at the development of the modern state because they have been seen as presenting the two main alternatives in the state-building process. Using a comparative study of the British and German states, including Prussia, it deconstructs certain cliches about them and forces us to rethink how to study states in the early modern era. The volume is less concerned with the theory of the state or the formal constitutional conditions under which governments operate than with their actual modus operandi. The subjects covered in this volume include some which have so far been ignored in reconstructing the history of the modern state.