We Have No Such Word: The Concept of Sovereignty and the Rise of the Dutch States General, 1578-1587

In this article the author argues that superficial historical accounts of sixteenth-century Dutch history have led to the obfuscation of the political practice of heerschap by equating it with the consolidation of a theory of sovereignty. is is mainly due to the series of cross-translations and interpretations that unfolded during the extensive domestic and international negotiations carried out between the years of 1578 and 1587, in which Philip II was to be replaced by a foreign prince. In fact, the complexity of Dutch politics impeded the complete transfer of sovereignty as such, although the States General, through the practice of heerschap - the negotiation of duties and responsibilities between princes and states -, was able to assert itself by the end of the sixteenth century. The author presents historical evidence of how language reflected the dynamic politics of the period.

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