The Structure of Government

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In what ways was the Netherlands more a confederation of seperate states than a single state?


  • Each province had its own parliament or estate which sent delegates to attend 'general parliament' (States-General) which negotiated with the preciding regent.
  • In every province there was a governor or 'stadholder' to see that the ruler's orders were correctly carried out.
  • This gave the appearance of a Netherlands which was superficially centralised and united.


Structure of government 

  • The provinces and towns exercised powers which gave them a large degree of autonomy.
  • The ruler's name demonstrates the decentralised structure of government as rather than having a single title such as 'King' or 'Grand Duke', the regent was named by each individual province- 'Duke of Brabant', 'Count of Flanders', 'Lord of Mechlin' etc.
  • The 'general parliament' was attended by deputies from each of the seperate provinces. Before the deputies gave assent however, they had to consult with the estates of the various provinces they represented. And in many provinces the estates had to consult with the various towns and communities which had appointed them. This structure took the idea of confederation a step further in the States-General.
  • Decision making was therefore often slow and innefective for a cumbersome process of reporting back had to be followed for both the States-General and the provinces.
  • In…


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