Daniel Ziblatt begins his analysis with a striking puzzle: Upon national unification, why was Germany formed as a federal nation-state and Italy as a unitary nation-state? He traces the diplomatic maneuverings and high political drama of national unification in nineteenth-century Germany and Italy to refute the widely accepted notion that the two states' structure stemmed exclusively from Machiavellian farsightedness on the part of militarily powerful political leaders. Instead, he demonstrates that Germany's and Italy's "founding fathers" were constrained by two very different pre-unification patterns of institutional development. In Germany, a legacy of well-developed sub-national institutions provided the key building blocks of federalism. In Italy, these institutions' absence doomed federalism. This crucial difference in the organization of local power still shapes debates about federalism in Italy and Germany today. By exposing the source of this enduring contrast, Structuring the State offers a broader theory of federalism's origins that will interest scholars and students of comparative politics, state-building, international relations, and European political history.
Germans born in the second decade of the last century will have been a subject of no less than six political regimes, seven if they lived in the former German Democratic Republic. Today, Germany’s democratic polity, pluralistic society, institutional structures, and market economy are growing increasingly strong. In clear and compelling prose, Hancock and Krisch argue that German politics today is the politics of a “normal” European democracy moving toward the EU. The authors discuss Germany’s course of modernization, which involves rapid industrialization and social development following the nation’s first unification in 1871 and its subsequent torturous course of political change embracing Imperial authoritarianism, the democratic experiment of the Weimar Republic, Nazi totalitarianism, and postwar variants of communism and Western-style democracy. Chapters detail the country’s political history, as well as its culture, new constitutional debates, parties, and economic policy, and culminate in a look at Germany in global context.
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