This book demonstrates that the Counter-Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries contributed to the process of state building in Inner Austria in various ways, most important among which were the enhancement of the power of the Habsburg Monarchy and the creation of an ideological formula for the consensus between the dynasty and the provincial nobilities who represented the political nation. On the other hand, there was the case of Hungary and the unsolved problem of crypto-Protestantism which illustrated the dialectics of a confessional policy that already carried the germ of self-destruction. In the course of the 18th century, it was to succumb to the dissolvent, secularising forces of the Enlightenment, whose ‘cosmopolitan’ expansionism was in turn checked by the countercurrents of nascent nationalism. The age of confessionalisation and aspiring confessional absolutism thus left an ambivalent legacy of repression and revolt, to be rejected or assimilated by the modern national movements of the peoples in the Habsburg Monarchy.
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