Political Spaces*

by NN last modified 2010-11-27

State Forms and State Systems

This article discusses the transformation of Europe from a collection of Christian dynasties and (city-) republics, which were all part of the Church of Rome and represented at the Councils of Constance (1414–1418) and Basle (1432–1448), to a Europe of sovereign states. Of these states, five would go on to dominate Europe for much of 18th, 19th and the first part of the 20th century. These five powers saw their position of dominance destroyed by the First and Second World Wars, after which Europe was dominated by two powers which were fully or partly non-European, the Soviet Union and the United States, both of which led alliance systems (Warsaw Pact, North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Given that one of these alliance systems has already ceased to exist, it can be argued that the emergence of the modern occidental state remains the most significant development in modern world history.

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