The introduction outlines previous definitions of the modern state as well as historians’ current explanations of state formation in early modern Europe and England. It demonstrates that earlier scholars have focused almost entirely on the state’s ability to engage in active warfare and have thus neglected an important aspect of the monopoly of violence, the restriction of non-state or illegitimate violence. The introduction also explores the medieval background of the coroner system, the mechanism designed to regulate violence in England and explains why the system had failed to achieve its proposed ends prior to the sixteenth century.
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