A point of consensus in the so-called “sequencing debate” is that in Europe state-building preceded the development of political accountability, eventually in the form of democratization, by centuries. This is arguably a misrepresentation of the European sequence. Strong institutions of constraints were an integrated part of the political regime form when large-scale state-building began following the sixteenth-century military revolution. European state-builders were therefore checked by countervailing political power but were also able to channel authority through existing institutions. A comparison with Russia shows that it was on this basis that both the modern state and modern democracy emerged and took root in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Medieval Roots of Democracy
Issue Date July 2015
Page Numbers 110-123