Opinion Columns & Blogs

January 17, 2014

Thomas E. Ricks: Technology reshaping the future of war

Changes in the nature of warfare profoundly shape both the manner in which the state is organized and the law itself. An obvious example of this is how the adoption of gunpowder warfare and the emergence of small standing armies helped to produce the absolute monarchies of the 16th and 17th centuries. In turn, the levee en masse – the mass mobilization of conscripts – by Napoleon’s revolutionary armies helped spell the beginning of the end for those monarchies. The need to raise and maintain ever-larger armies also required the creation of the apparatus of the modern state such as a census, universal taxation and basic education.

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