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Military EngineersThe Development of the Early Modern European State$
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Bruce P. Lenman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781845861209

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781845861209.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 26 May 2020

Conclusion: Servicing Early-Modern European Sovereignties

Conclusion: Servicing Early-Modern European Sovereignties

Chapter:
(p.271) Conclusion: Servicing Early-Modern European Sovereignties
Source:
Military Engineers
Author(s):

Bruce P. Lenman

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781845861209.003.0013

To assess the significance for European states of the impressive range of activities undertaken by early-modern military engineers one has to look at two historical debates. The first is what is meant by ‘the state’ in this era. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, populist nationalisms used state structures to compete for territory with one another. They also used the coercive capacity of the state to impose a particular sense of national identity on the populations they controlled, eradicating alternative identities, and propagating myths that projected their sense of identity back to remote antiquity. The Chief End of Man was seen as the creation and extension of a centralised, interventionist state designed to defend the interests, redress the wrongs, and reinforce the identity, rightly understood, of ‘the nation’. Tempted by reductionism, historians have concentrated on a few states seen conventionally as ‘first-class powers’ and precursors of modern nation states, despite the fact that early-modern Europe was a dense network of sovereignties, some tiny; others like Venice or Bavaria never leading European powers but significant ones within specific contexts....

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