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The statement, “war made the state and the state made war” (Tilly, 1992) sounds true in the sense that military innovation in Pre-Modern Europe led to an expensive war, especially because of mass armies as well as invention of gunpowder. Tilly (1992) mentioned that only the state that had enough capital and huge population could be able to afford payments for security and survive through harsh conditions. In this case, institutions of modern nations were developed in order to put taxes into effect and create a chance for war making. However, an argument can be offered against this statement in that sometimes war did not lead to state formation and the states have continued making wars. Therefore, it is vital to look at the statement in two perspectives in terms of examining the status of war in formation of states as well as discussing the way warfare and states link with each other. This paper will support the thesis that war led to state formation and the states have greatly contributed to formation of war.
According to Tilly’s work Coercion, Capital, and European States, war and its preparation involved rulers that extracted the means of war formation from others who had essential resources. These resources included supplies, money or arms. The rulers were reluctant to give those resources without involving much pressure or payment. It became clear that the limitations set by both rewards and demands from other states provoked extractions and struggles for means of war creation in the middle of organizational format of states. Most importantly, the organization of social classes in nation’s territories affected the plans used by rulers to get the resources. It can be drawn that the increasing scale of warfare along with the knitting of European state structure by commercial, diplomatic and military interaction gave way for war making. This was advantageous to states that could be able to handle standing armies and those that had access to large rural populations, relatively commercialized economy as well as many capitalists. Ultimately, these states were able to set necessary terms for war. Moreover, their form of government emerged as the predominant one in the whole of Europe (Tilly, 1992). The European nations were then forced to converge in the same form as the national state. Therefore, there is a clear reason to indicate that war led to state and states led to war.
However, a refutation can be made under this argument in that war affected the state for a long time through its predating capacity. It is obvious that the state can eventually outlive any war that is perhaps the terminal decline across many countries of the world. If we take one step back to Tilly’s non-unilinear, bellocentric and relational theory, it can look close to the group selection theory. In this case, the group selection theory strives to involve the trend of rising social cooperation where the less cooperative are unfortunately selected out. This is not a strong argument against the stated thesis since European interstate war offers an extensive explanation of the radical reduction of states in modern Europe as well as their structural strengthening. It became clear that only the regimes that created strong state capacities ended up as survivors of the warfare periods. In this case, the fiscal imperative and the increased needs in terms of costs of warfare along with the long-term effects of fiscal growth seemed to be the drivers for state developments.
In conclusion, Tilly (1992) was keen on his statement after a long period of study of the states. His investigations showed that the organization in major social classes as well as their relations varied from European coerced regions to capital-intensive regions. Therefore, war wove European structure of national states and war preparation developed internal state structures. It can be deduced that “war made the state and state made war” (Tilly, 1992).
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