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To explain how broader sections of the population than the nobility were included in Parliament we need to recapture the original character of representation as obligation. The chapter therefore presents the compellence model of obligation, which is predicated on ruler strength. The model is exemplified by the English case, which is traditionally taken as the paradigm for the alternative and most widely invoked model, which sees representation as the result of bargaining. Magna Carta is the classic historical precedent and it is here shown to depend on royal strength instead. The role of ruler strength and obligation is then further demonstrated by process-tracing the emergence of the English Parliament from the 1220s into the early 1300s. Though bargaining was pervasive, what channelled outcomes in a constitutional direction was the crown's capacity to enforce attandance across social orders. Bargaining was pervasive on the continent as well; what differed in England that the bottom-up requests for rights were preceded and followed by periods of strong royal capacity. The "fiscal fixation" of much social science thus needs to be revised. The institutional and, especially, judicial infrastructure in which state-society bargaining occurs is what shapes ultimate outcomes.
This book argues that justice rather than taxes was at the foundation of representative governance. The historical origins of representative institutions are typically sought in a fiscal bargain that pitted resource-poor rulers against subjects recently empowered through the growth of commercial wealth. Such an approach, however, fails to explain why representative institutions would become regular (since taxation was irregular), how social groups solved their collective action problem in resisting the ruler, and how exchanges with resource holders extended to include the whole polity. Acknowedging the role of justice in the emergence of representative institutions allows us to address these concerns. This requires, however, first noting that outcomes of interest often originate in conditions that are inversely related. This is defined as the normative/empirical inversion and is examined in connection to the importance of central power, the constitutional separation of powers, and the security of property rights. In all, state power emerges as paramount in securing constitutional outcomes. The chapter thus also makes the case for England as a strong state. It then provides a summary of the argument and concludes with a discussion of the case selection.
Part IV examines in greater detail a central concept in the preceding chapters: conditionality. Its ubiquity throughout the previous sections raises the question whether it might suffice to explain representation. The question is first approached by examining how conditionality operated in cases where ruler power was weak. Under such conditions, it led to "second-best constitutionalism," a pattern of governance emerging where rulers lacked power over the most powerful and developed conditional relations with groups they endowed with counterbalancing resources. This explains representative governance in cases where the regime was not able to control all social groups: representation was focused on the groups with conditional relations with the crown. This helps explain the cases of Hungary and Poland, which are treated here at greater length, as well as Sweden, Denmark, and the Holy Roman Empire, which are treated more briefly.
The conclusion examines some broader questions raised by the analysis. It first discusses the pattern of the normative/empirical inversion noted throughout the book, whereby conditions associated with some desirable outcomes (e.g. separation of powers) are projected back into an account of origins. This is identified as a major obstacle in effective causal analysis. Second, the chapter examines a fundamental underlying concern of the book, the origins of power. Although no answer can be offered, it explains the implications of the book's argument to our understanding of despotic and infrastructural power, perhaps the most influential formulation in social science, as well as to the distinction between direct and indirect rule, which is shaping discussion of the state in varied literatures. Third, the chapter offers some thoughts about how the medieval account I have provided can be reconciled with the early modern accounts that have proved far more influential in explanations of state- and institution-building. I conclude with some shorter thoughts on the implications of the argument on the use of bargaining theory in modern development theory, on the popular notion of land redistribution, and on Huntington's problem of political order and instability.
City-republics have traditionally served as exemplars of participatory government. Their bottom-up organization would seem to suggest an alternative path to representative emergence. The three chapters of Part II address this challenge of equifinality; this chapter does so in two ways. First, it points out that republics are different forms of governance than representative polities, as they eschew a central executive and don't involve the integration of varied social groups. Second, despite such differences, republics and municipal governance can also be shown to reflect the basic logic of this book, as they were preceded by a period of centralized rule under conditional relations. These enabled the institutional learning that was necessary for participatory institutions to consolidate. The absence of an executive, however, also meant that they did not survive over the long term. These points are demonstrated by an examination of Italian city-states and of the Low Countries. Both Flanders and Holland had a thriving urban sector, but they retained their participatory institutions longer because the exective authority of the count was comparatively greater. The Swiss Cantons are briefly considered. The role of trade emerges as endogenous to political organization.
Incentives to attend parliament should have been common to both the French and the English nobility . Yet only the English nobility ended up being regularly involved in parliamentary proceedings. Their presence was fundamental for functional fusion and institutional layering to occur. Only where the nobility was compelled to attend parliament, especially in connection to its judicial functions, did the crown have a regular forum to raise taxation. Justice provided the regularity that taxation did not, allowing the institution to consolidate. Conversely, when the most powerful groups were regularly present in a central institution, they were able to solve their collective action problem and cooperate to oppose the crown. The chapter thus shows that the capacity of the English crown to compel nobles for judicial and political service was greater than that of France. The point is further established through the literature on Legal Origins, which explains the divergence of Common from Civil Law, as well as by an assessment of the remarkable level of conscription of English subjects to perform judicial functions that were disbursed by paid officials in France.
Russia provides the final testing ground for the concept of conditionality. This chapter shows how the limited incidents of representation in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Russia can be explained through the conditional rights to land granted to the lower nobility in order to counter the strength of the upper nobility, the boyars. This makes Russia another case of "second-best-constitutionalism." At that level, it displayed striking similarities to patterns observed in England, leading to the conclusion that the two cases differed not in the institutions that were being created but in the capacity of the state to enforce them. This position is at odds with common conceptions of the Russian tsar as all-powerful, so the chapter offers evidence to counter this assumption. It examines the weak control over the boyars, the limited taxing capabilities, and the mass enserfment of peasants to show how they either reflect or result from state weaknesses. The chapter then describes how these conditions interacted with the emergence of representation in Russia, as well as how they explain its demise.
The final chapter in Part III examines more directly the claim that parliaments are a consequence of commercial activity by looking at two cases, which have dominated especially neo-institutionalist accounts due to their thriving wool trades, England and Castile. The main mechanism tying trade to representative institutions is that of capital mobility, which is assumed to endow mercantile groups with bargaining powers. The section on England shows that taxes on mobile capital were not key for representation, as they were not bargained for in Parliament. Indirect taxation was also far less than direct taxation in the critical period of parliamentary emergence. Moreover, bargains that did occur resulted in sectoral privileges, not constitutional gains. In fact, the chapter shows how mercantile interests and the collective action of merchants were endogenous to state capacity. The section on the Castilian Mesta shows how the assumed inefficiencies of this commercial system can be traced to the political weakness highlighted in chapter 5.
Catalonia is another major case that appears to connect trade to municipal governance and bottom-up organization, a connection exemplified by its history after the fourteenth century. This chapter shows that these developments are also predicated on a prior period of institutional learning under strong counts, by examining the key variables in this account. It shows how early representative activity did not include towns or relate to taxation. It examines the role of the count in the pacification of the county and in the provision of justice. It then shows how functional fusion occured in the central representative institutions, the Corts, and how territorial anchoring was stronger than in Castile but weaker than in England. Power over the nobility is shown through an analysis of their fiscal obligations. As a result, the municipal structure of Barcelona that has elicited the assessment of a strong constitutional tradition in a bottom-up mode is shown to be preceded by a precocious period of institution-building under strong counts.
Part V integrates the different strands in the previous chapters to explain how they account for why representation consolidated in England but not in the non-Western cases. Existing accounts typically focus on the lack of certain cultural templates, whether corporate bodies and estates or corporations. Two alternatives are first examined, namely that the difference can be explained by the absence of two of the main components of representative emergence in the English case, the principle of representation itself and the demand for justice mediated through petitions. Both Russia and the Ottoman Empire exhibited both traits, however. So then the chapter revises the common assumption that western representation depended on greater corporate rights and on the end of collective responsibility. Rather, the critical difference was that the English state was better able to resist the demands of groups for corporate privileges, at least in the period of parliamentary emergence, and to impose collective responsibility on a state-derived (rather than tradition-based) basis. This power is exemplified by its capacity to tax the nobility, which, as we have seen other European leaders were generally unable to do.
This chapter offers some empirical support to a main claim in the book, namely that the capacity of the English state was higher than that of France, by examining the typical indicator of capacity, taxation. It focuses particularly on the fiscal burden of the nobility, to show that it was relatively heavy, especially if debt is also considered. Once compelled to contribute to taxation, the English nobility had greater incentives to participate in the institution where it was negotiated, as well as to accept its extension over the broader population. By contrast, the fate of the French Estates-General moved in tandem with the taxation of the nobility; when noble fiscal privileges were consolidated, the institution declined. The chapter also provides comparative data of both fiscal and military extraction, to support the claim of greater infrastructural capacity of the English crown.