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As European nation-states consolidated, a strange political development transpired. Common people, newly freed from serfdom in some cases, were once again willing to subordinate themselves to the most powerful lord, who eventually became the king. Although several civil wars occurred in these European states which threatened their ability to grow, centralized economic and political power was finally concentrated in a king who believed he held the divine right to rule. Politically, it meant that the entire population, even the lords which previously held power, would have to obey the king’s decrees. These nations also underwent a dramatic economic centralization that placed the power of the purse in the hands of the monarch and a few of his hand-picked advisers. This centralization was most prevalent in France and Spain, where the monarch held absolute power, and was least prevalent in England, where Parliament sometimes acted as a check on the king’s powers.
One of the most important events which occurred during the development of the sovereign paradox in Europe was the transfer of clientele from various liege lords to the king....
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