Rather than presenting the absolutist states of late-scventeenth-century Europe as the products of military change, the new-found strength of new model armies, as scholars influenced by the Roberts’ thesis have been inclined to do, it is possible to reverse the relationship. By setting the decisive changes, in terms of size and, though to a lesser extent, organisation and weaponry, in the post-1660 period it can be argued that it was the more stable domestic political circumstances of most states in that period, which contrasted notably with the civil disorder of so many countries in what has been termed the mid-seventeenth-ccntury crisis [106, 117, 127], that made these changes possible. Such a revision requires, however, a new explanation of these circumstances, one that no longer relies on military strength. Instead, it is possible to stress stability rather than order, consensus rather than coercion, government as a part of elite society, rather than an external force seeking to mould it. The nature of absolutism can be defined as a politico-social arrangement, rather than a constitutional system, by which the social elite was persuaded to govern in accordance with the views of the ruler, while these views were defined in accordance with the assumptions of the elite.
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