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War, State, and Society in England and the Netherlands 1477-1559$
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Steven Gunn, David Grummitt, and Hans Cools

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207503.001.0001

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War and Urban Government

War and Urban Government

(p.87) 6 War and Urban Government
War, State, and Society in England and the Netherlands 1477-1559

Steven Gunn (Contributor Webpage)

David Grummitt (Contributor Webpage)

Hans Cools (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of war on the economic and political structures of urban life and civic finances. Wartime destruction and interruptions to trade posed challenges to the management of urban economies, but offered comparative advantages to towns in more peaceful areas or able to claim privileges in return for their loyalty. War drove up civic expenditure everywhere, but the effects were most dramatic in the Netherlands in the 1480s and 1490s, where many towns were driven by their indebtedness into closer tutelage by princely officials. Yet war also served to consolidate the powers of town councils over the townsfolk and the surrounding countryside. Especially in the Netherlands, it promoted the concentration of power in the hands of a smaller oligarchy of magistrates more prepared than the wider citizenry or the guilds to meet the prince's demands.

Keywords:   civic finances, guilds, oligarchy, towns, trade

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