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Inward Conquest
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Book description

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, modern states began to provide many of the public services we now take for granted. Inward Conquest presents the first comprehensive analysis of the political origins of modern public services during this period. Ansell and Lindvall show how struggles among political parties and religious groups shaped the structure of diverse yet crucially important public services, including policing, schooling, and public health. Liberals, Catholics, conservatives, socialists, and fascists all fought bitterly over both the provision and political control of public services, with profound consequences for contemporary political developments. Integrating data on the historical development of public order, education, and public health with novel measures on the ideological orientation of governments, the authors provide a wealth of new evidence on a missing link in the history of the modern state.


'Inward Conquest provides fascinating insights into the development of social bureaucracies and the dynamics of political struggle over religion, region, and relations of production. Boundary wars may be the legend of state-building; yet governments moved from protectors of citizens to providers of government services over the long nineteenth century. Creeping processes of centralization, subsidization and secularization shaped the evolution of the modern social delivery state. This multi-methods tour de force offers a much-needed correction to stories of state-building that preference external enemies to the neglect of internal allies, and offers a comprehensive, sweeping view of historical development reminiscent of Lipset and Rokkan.'

Cathie Jo Martin - Boston University

'In this marvelous study, Ben W. Ansell and Johannes Lindvall provide a panoramic survey over 140 years of how the provision of public services grew, how jurisdiction over their delivery changed, and of the political conflicts that lay behind these changes. This is an indispensable study of the neglected side of the development of the state and it will be of special interest in an era when a new pandemic has called into question the capacities of states to protect their citizens.'

Peter A. Hall - Harvard University

'This book will interest readers across the social sciences, especially anyone who wants to understand how modern states have evolved. It provides novel insights into the factors that shape the provision of public services, tracing their origins to key political struggles and reforms. Ansell and Lindvall present an impressive array of evidence documenting the extent of change and discusses how this transformation in the scope of government has affected politics.'

Tim Besley - London School of Economics and Political Science

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