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Tilly, Charles. 1992. Coercion Capital and European States AD 990-1992.

Malden, MA:
Blackwell, Chapters 1 to 3
Question of the relation between political and economic change.
- Statist answer: partial independence of political change and mainly depends on the
events inside the different states (state as unit of analysis). As they look for a general
theory they tend to teleology and do not explain the variety of state-making paths in
- Geopolitical answer: emphasis on the international system, lack clear mechanisms.
- Mode of Production logic: State as a derivative of the interest of the capitalists.
- World system analysis: Division of labor on an international scale, the state is then an
instrument of the national ruling class.
These explanations failed to take into account the relations among states and assume a
deliberate effort toward a centralized nation state.
Men who controlled concentrated means of coercion (armies, navies, police forces, weapons,
and their equivalent) ordinarily tried to use them to extend the range of population and
resources over which they wielded power.
The most powerful rulers in any particular region set the terms of war for all; smaller rulers
faced a choice between accommodating themselves to the demands of powerful neighbors and
putting exceptional efforts into preparations for war.
War and preparation for war involved rulers in extracting the means of war from others who
held the essential resources -men, arms, supplies, or money to buy them and who were
reluctant to surrender them without strong pressure or compensation.
Within limits set by the demands and rewards of other states, extraction and struggle over the
means of war created the central organizational structures of states.
The relative success of different extractive strategies, and the strategies rulers actually
applied, therefore varied significantly from coercion-intensive to capital-intensive regions.
As a consequence, the organizational forms of states followed distinctly different trajectories
in these different parts of Europe.
Nevertheless, the increasing scale of war and the knitting together of the European state
system through commercial, military, and diplomatic interaction eventually gave the war-
making advantage to those states that could field standing armies; states having access to a
combination of large rural populations, capitalists, and relatively commercialized economics
won out. They set the terms of war, and their form of state became the predominant one in
Europe. Eventually European states converged on that form: the national state.
Difference between European experience and latter state formation (influence but not

Where capital defines a realm of exploitation (cities), coercion defines a realm of
domination (States).

Types of States:
European states possessed varying levels of capital and coercion, and different combinations
of capital and coercion lead to different kinds of states. There are three kinds of states that
existed in Europe: city-states, empires, and national states. The path to European national
state development lay through an (uneasy) bargain between the holders of coercion and the
holders of capital. The holders of coercion provided protection (security) in exchange for
capital to fund the means of warfare. As part of this bargain, rulers had to provide different
classes of citizens with representative institutions. Thus, state formation involves interactions
between rulers and citizens. In this way, national states lie between city-states and empires.

European states differed significantly, indeed, with respect to their salient activities and
organizations. Three different types of state have all proliferated in various parts of Europe
during major segments of the period since 990: tribute-taking empires; systems of fragmented
sovereignty such as city-states and urban federations, and national states. The first built a
large military and extractive apparatus, but left most local administration to regional
powerholders who retained great autonomy. In systems of fragmented sovereignty, temporary
coalitions and consultative institutions played significant parts in war and extraction, but little
durable state apparatus emerged on a national scale. National states unite substantial military,
extractive, administrative, and sometimes even distributive and productive organizations in a
relatively coordinated central structure. The long survival and coexistence of all three types
tells against any notion of European state formation as a single, unilinear process, or of the
national state -which did, indeed, eventually prevail -as an inherently superior form of
Accumulation of capital and Concentration of coercion does not always increase, depend of
the history of the states. Accumulation makes a lot of difference as concentration relies on it.
War played a key role in the process of state formation. Specifically, state structure is a
product of rulers attempts to acquire the means of war, and relations among states (especially
warfare) strongly affected state formation. Conquest requires the creation of bureaucracies
and requires the state to get involved in extraction (tax, infrastructure, standing armies). The
means of war were concentrated in the state, not the people (disarming of civilian, arming of
the state). War also increased significantly states budgets and the taxes levied on the
population. Furthermore, contests with other states helped states develop identities and build
a system of national states. Transition to direct rule (from indirect rule) during the French
Revolution and the levee en masse gave rulers access to citizens and their resources, in
exchange for rights and greater civilian involvement in the affairs of states. States with the
greatest capacity for coercion tended to win warsthose states that were able to field huge
armies from within their own populationwhile smaller rulers had to choose between
accommodating the demands of the powerful rulers or arming themselves.

The relative presence or absence of commercial cities within a state's territories therefore
strongly affected the ease of its mobilization for war. Not only did loans and taxes flow more
readily into state coffers where cities abounded -given sufficient state attention to the
burghers' interests inside and outside the territory -but also urban militias and commercial
fleets lent themselves readily to adaptation for defense and military predation. Where cities
were weak and rare, rulers either went without large loans or resorted to foreign bankers who
exacted high prices for their services, enlisted the cooperation of magnates who controlled
armed force and likewise demanded privileges in return, and built up cumbersome fiscal
apparatuses in the process of taxing a resistant, penniless population.
The relationships between warfare and state organization changed significantly over time in
Europe. At 990 AD, Europe was a land of completely fragmented sovereignty. There was no
such thing at the national state, and there were varying kinds of state organization. Tilly
identifies four different periods:
1. Patrimonialism: 990-1400; tribes, urban militias, feudal levies are the main military
forces; monarchs extracted capital from areas of immediate control (therefore through
war leaders look for more tribute rather than control over population)
2. Brokerage: 1400-1700; mercenaries dominate; rulers rely on independent capitalists
for loans/collecting taxes. Around 1490 European states basically all began to move
toward the creation of the national state. States also began to increase in size (and
decrease in number). (fight for the territory as it bring the resources, taxes)
3. Nationalization: 1700-1850; mass navies/armies drawn from population; military
forces & capital come under control of the state (especially w/ Napoleons conquests
of Europe)
4. Specialization: 1850-recent past; military force as specialized branch of government
and separation of military and fiscal administration; representative institutions gain
greater control over military; states gain greater control over distribution, regulation,
administration, etc. States consolidate (formation of German Empire and kingdom of
Italy). (war for resources)
Within the four above periods of time, different states varied their emphasis on coercion or
capital, leading to three different modes within each of the four periods of time:
1. Coercion-intensive mode: Rulers squeeze the means of war from their own population
and conquered populations, and built big structures of extraction (Brandenburg, Russia;
2. Capital-intensive mode: Rulers form relationships with capitalists to raise the means
for war without building permanent state structures (Genoa, Dubrovnik, Dutch
Republic; city-states, urban federations, fragmented sovereignty)
3. Capitalized coercion mode: Combination of capital and coercion; rulers devoted more
effort to incorporate capitalists and sources of capital directly into states (France,
England; earlier national states)
From 1600s on capitalized coercion mode was most successful at warfare, which led to
convergence on that form of state organization.
Geography also played an important role in the spread of European state development. In
990 cities were very small and scattered, but were more concentrated in the Mediterranean.
Over time the band of cities expanded and moved northward. Similarly, political and
economic power shifted from city-states of the Mediterranean to cities of the Atlantic because
these states were able to control massive, permanent armed forces. The presence of urban
centers was key in shaping state formation. The relationship between rural and urban areas
structured how rulers would be able to tax and garner men for armies. It was easier for rulers
to capture the territory of one central city, rather than a network of urban areas, which is why
national states developed geographically to involve a capital city surrounded by a piece of
territory. With the nationalization of the state, states incorporated the fiscal apparatus into the
state and relied less on middlemen. States changed from war machines into multi-purpose

On both the domestic and overseas fronts, how much state apparatus emerged from the
interaction between the creation of a military machine and the development of markets
depended on several factors: the bulk of the machine in relation to the population that
supported it, the prior commercialization of the economy, and the extent to which the state
relied on the wartime mobilization of powerholders who provided their own military force
and retained the ability to return it to peacetime uses at the end of war. We might imagine a
continuum from an imperial Russia in which a cumbersome state apparatus grew up to wrest
military men and resources from a huge but uncommercialized economy to a Dutch Republic
which relied heavily on navies, ran its military forces on temporary grants from its city-
dominated provinces, easily drew taxes from customs and excise, and never created a
substantial central bureaucracy. In between we would place cases such as France and Prussia,
where kings had access to important regions of agricultural and commercial capitalism, but
had to bargain with powerful landlords for support of their military activity. In the long run,
military requirements for men, money, and supplies grew so demanding that rulers bargained
with the bulk of the population as well.