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Some notes on absolutism and bureaucracy, and the Republic of the United Provinces

Those who supported the Grand Pensionary — known as Republicans — would eventually champion the notion of the estates’ absolutist sovereignty. The Stadhouder”s followers — called Orangists — adhered-to regimen mixtum theory. They admitted that sovereignty rested with the estates, but were of the opinion that Holland was a mixed polity, in which the Stadhouder provided the monarchic element. They almost never defend pure monarchy (Gejl, 1971; Van de Klashorst, 1986: 93-136; Kossmann, 1987a: 211-33; 1987b: 17-126). If we want to explore the question of the existence of protobureaucratic thought in the Dutch Republic, Republican writings it seems the logical place to look. Their authors, after all, were the only true absolutists in the Holland polity.

Studying the stillborn: the ideology of the estates’ absolutism and proto-bureaucratic thought in the 17th century Dutch Republic. Pieter Wagenaar. International Review of Administrative Sciences. Vol. 68 (2002), 95-112, p 102.

What is interesting about the quote is to show that absolutism is not equivalent to monarquismo unlimited. Is equal to unlimited power (whatever the location of that power).

And also shows that in this sense, absolutism whether it is related to the thought bureaucratic. Were (some) defenders of the States-the republicans(*)) who ended up defending ideas proto-bureaucratic: the separation of the administration of the policy, which the administrators should be the servants of the policy-makers (van Berkhout close to the 1670′, for example).

And it also shows one of my points that I like: The United Provinces is where we should look for a good part of the initial processes of modernity. When we talk about the modern (and early modern) we tend to speak of England, France, Germany, and we forget that the United Provinces were not only one of the great powers, but one of the countries most imitated (where was Peter the Great when he was trying to modernize Russia?) and more modern in the social structure of the time. We cannot, should not, write to the birth of modernity without making the netherlands are the center of our story.

(*) Do not forget that the republicans were oligarquicos. Were the supporters of the Prince of Orange, who most defended the rights of the people, and the people -until the 1770’s – when you got involved in politics and wanted to change to the oligarchy dominant, he was always against the party of the States. The opposition republic / monarchy, popular representation / king; people / king is one of the novelties of the EIGHTEENTH century in fact.