A Revolution from Above?: The Power State of 16th and 17th Century Scandinavia

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Leon Jespersen
University Press of Southern Denmark, 2000 - History - 383 pages
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In the 16th and 17th centuries, the states of Europe underwent a series of changes which created the foundation for the state of today. The Nordic countries played their part in that process, but also demonstrated differences relative to each other. Scandinavia appears in this context as an interesting area for study. Three Nordic researchers have analysed some of these changes and their consequences at the level of the state, the region and the local district. During the 16th and 17th centuries the peoples of the Nordic countries experienced a strengthening of state power which imposed upon them increased taxes and other burdens, not least as a result of the frequent wars of the time. Ambitions to appear as a power-state and to try increasingly to regulate society and impose discipline on subjects took the form of an interplay between the power of the state and the local community which exposed the limited ability of the state to insist upon its will.

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