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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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Towns in the Polity

Towns in the Polity

(p.105) 7 Towns in the Polity
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 asks how the demands of war changed towns' relationships with other elements in the polity. War accelerated their direct communication with central government, whether through correspondence or princely visits. Provincial councils took some part in steering towns into compliance with princely policy in war, but more important were intermediaries from the local nobility. Their role declined over time in England, though fluctuating with the character and courtly power of individual noble patrons. It remained significant in the Netherlands whenever campaigns came near or princely tax demands had to be considered. Representative institutions — parliament in England and the provincial states and States-General in the Netherlands — were important forums in which towns could trade consent to taxation for favourable legislation or other concessions. At times they even enabled towns collectively to manage the war effort in their own strategic interest.

Keywords:   nobility, parliament, provincial councils, states, States-General, taxation

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