Essay about The Expansion of the Nation-State System

Essay about The Expansion of the Nation-State System

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The foundation of the modern world system can be traced back centuries to the collapse of the Roman Empire and the subsequent introduction of the feudal system in Medieval Europe which heavily relied upon peasants working the agrarian base of the economy. The landed gentry then extracted the wealth created by the peasants, and, using paid military forces, they commanded taxation or tribute which supported entire divisions of labor. Because these rulers didn’t have the necessary means to fund wars, they began to take out loans from merchants in Italian port cities. Thus, merchant capitalism, a primitive accumulation of capital, developed and placed emphasis on income from trade which was lucrative for the merchants who consequently became rulers of these powerful city-states that were protected by purchased military might.
The agrarian-based feudal states perceived the increasing wealth, power, and military strength of the merchant city-states as a threat, and, as result, the feudal states changed their structure to rely more heavily upon the new relationship formed between the feudal elite and merchant capitalists. Through this new relationship, capitalists generated wealth through commerce, and monarchs extracted the wealth through bureaucrats in order to provide military protection to ensure that capitalists could generate further wealth through commerce. As a response to the powerful city-states, major kings centralized authority and offered further protection of trade routes with their newfound income, resulting in the Treaty of Westphalia in 1618 CE, paving way for what came to be known as Westphalian Sovereignty. This sovereignty resulted in one government monopolizing decision-making and violence within a specific g...


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... State University, Saginaw, MI, January 30, 2014.
b. “Capitalism and Corporations: The Division of Labor in the Modern World System.” Class lecture, Global Cultures from Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI, February 4, 2014.
c. “Chains of Commodities: The Cyclical Structure of Capitalist Production.” Class lecture, Global Cultures from Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI, February 17, 2014.
d. “From Empires to the Nation-State System: Rise of Sovereignty.” Class lecture, Global Cultures from Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI, January 22, 2014.
e. “Incorporation and Peripheralization: The Creation of Core and Periphery.” Class lecture, Global Cultures from Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI, February 11, 2014.
Go, Julian. 2007. “Colonialism (Neocolonialism).” Blackwell: Encyclopedia of Sociology Online (eISBN 9781405124331).

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