Downing2 - File: "Downing2" I. To Review: Downing's three...

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File: “Downing2” I. To Review: Downing’s three central arguments are these: A. Late medieval Europe had numerous political characteristics that distinguished it from other major world civilizations 1. Representative assemblies in particular constituted a basis for liberal democracy, and thereby provided Europe with a predisposition toward democratic political institutions. 2. This he describes in Chapter 2 B. Military modernization, and especially the “military revolution” of the 16 th and 17 th centuries, led to the strengthening of monarchal power in countries relying on domestic resources to finance modern armies. 1. In these countries, the monarchs did away with medieval constitutionalism and built expansive autocracies – bureaucratic-military absolutism – and thereby overcoming the democratic predispositions of medieval constitutionalism. 2. This he describes in Chapter 3. 3. In countries that avoided the military revolution, or found alternate methods of financing war than domestic resource mobilization, military modernization did not destroy constitutional government, and a liberal political outcome, though not assured, was at least more likely. a) This he also briefly discusses in Chapter 3. II. Downing then described in general what happened as the pressures of wars, and especially the need to finance the wars, let the monarchs to limit, constrain, and eventually destroy the institutions and rights stemming from medieval constitutionalism. A. But there were some factors that limited the impact of war and the need to finance it. B. These factors were the following: 1. Foreign resource mobilization: a) Is the war conducted on some other country’s territory. b) If so, then resources can be extracted from that country, and do not need to be extracted from the home country. c) This is what Sweden did in Germany during its wars in northern Europe. 2. Alliances: a) Military alliances with foreign powers enable the country to reduce the amounts of domestic resources that need to be mobilized. b) In its long wars with Spain, the Dutch Republic (the Netherlands) allied itself with England and France.
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3. An advanced economy and commercial wealth: a) Foreign sources of wealth, such as may be derived from colonies (Spain) or lucrative commercial transactions (the Dutch Republic), may provide a country with far greater levels of wealth than those of its enemies. b) Hence, the need for domestic resource mobilization is much smaller. 4. Geography and natural topographical features: a) Island nations and ones bounded by rivers, mountains, marshlands have natural barriers to invading armies, and allow a small, antiquated army to fight off a larger and more modern one. b)
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ISS 225 taught by Professor Williams during the Spring '07 term at Michigan State University.

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Downing2 - File: "Downing2" I. To Review: Downing's three...

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