Nowhere is the distinction between the early modern and the modern period so clearly seen as in the role and nature of the state. The traditional start and finish of the early modern period have conventionally been defined by political events. For traditional economic historians with their bias towards a nineteenth-century viewpoint the French Revolution marked the divide between the early modern and the modern. Over much of Europe, the most profound consequences of the Revolution and of the French expansion which followed it were political and administrative rather than social or economic. Despite their normal rejection of the importance of political change and political structures in economic change, the traditional historians considered their role as crucial in defining the difference between the periods.
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