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H-NET BOOK REVIEW Published by H-German@h-net.msu.edu (January 2008) Arno Strohmeyer. _Konfessionskonflikt und Herrschaftsordnung: Widerstandsrecht bei den österreichischen Ständen (1550-1650)_. Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz. Mainz: Verlag Phillip von Zabern, 2006. 561 pp. Notes, bibliography, index. EUR 55.50 (cloth), ISBN 3-8053-3570-9. Reviewed for H-German by Andrew L. Thomas, Department of History and Political Science, Salem College Language and Legitimacy Arno Strohmeyer's book presents the well-researched, generally persuasive claim that from 1550 to 1650 the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates developed their own forms of resistance to Habsburg rule, ones that did not depend on Calvinist monarchomach influence. This revised _Habilitationsschrift_ offers the first major study for the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates that examines Winfried Schulze's concept of political "resistance" as a form of tension between individual liberty and collective order. Schulze has emphasized how the abstract nature of "resistance" has easily and frequently led to anachronistic assumptions that equate modern concepts of liberty to those espoused during the early modern era. Strohmeyer heeded Schulze's warning by focusing on the etymological aspects of language analysis. In doing so, Strohmeyer also follows the school of intellectual history exemplified by J.G.A. Pocock and Quentin Skinner. Pocock claimed that in early modern England, disputes between Parliament and crown were framed within a generally accepted notion of "Ancient Constitution." Similarly, Strohmeyer argues that the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates' disputes with the Habsburgs reflected differing interpretations of rights and responsibilities rooted in late medieval contractual theory and modified by the political exigencies of the times. Strohmeyer asserts that from 1550 to 1650, the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates were far more practical rather than theoretical champions of political resistance. Their primary concern was finding solutions to immediate political issues. In light of this insight, Strohmeyer concentrates on an examination of petitions, responses, memorandums, decrees, notifications, supplications, minutes, and instructions in order to elucidate the intimate connections between reality and theory. Strohmeyer delineates seven ways in which the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates justified resistance to the Habsburgs: first, via "contract theory" rooted in medieval feudal law, which emphasized reciprocal obligations between territorial lords and estates; second, via "custom," defined as unwritten constitutional liberties and obligations based in historical tradition; third, via "common welfare," a notion of protecting the peace and well-being of a region with classical roots that had evolved during the late Middle Ages into a dispute over the whether the prerogative to protect peace with force lay with the territorial ruler or the estates; fourth, via the community metaphor of "family"; fifth, via the community metaphor of the "body"; sixth, via notions of "self-defense" and "resistance," which were only used quite late, when actually military engagements occurred; and seventh, via "freedom of conscience," the ground for the estates' claims of religious protection in the Peace of Augsburg. In this last form of defense, "divine right" conceptions often intertwined with notions of natural law and became colored by interpretations of Old Testament covenantal-contractual precedents. Both "contract theory" and "custom" defenses usually manifested themselves during homage ceremonies in literal and symbolic language. Strohmeyer's work is most convincing when he applies his etymological language analysis to the written sources he examines. Here, he successfully argues against the prevailing notion of a predominately Calvinist influence on the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates reflected in their efforts to resist the Habsburgs. Assumptions about Lutheran passivity and Calvinist political activism among the corporations of the Austrian Estates derive primarily from Hans Sturmberger's influential biography of the Calvinist Georg Erasmus von Tschernembl. According to Sturmberger, Tschernembl catalyzed the Upper and Lower Austrian nobility's resistance via his employment of monarchomach literature in the service of the Estates. Strohmeyer, in contrast, demonstrates that monarchomach usage of contract theory was part of a broader late medieval legacy shared by Lutherans and Catholics as well. He also notes that on this issue, the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates relied less on the Corpus Iuris Civilis and the Old Testament than the French monarchomachs did. Likewise, he points out that Austrian nobles emphasized their corporate social status rather than their role as magistrates and officials, as the monarchomachs did. Concomitantly, Strohmeyer underscores the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates' focus on defending corporate privileges. The argument becomes more problematic when Strohmeyer attempts to explain the role of genuflection in homage ceremonies. To make this claim, he employs Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger's valuable exploration of symbolic rituals as forms of pre-modern political communication in the Reich. Strohmeyer claims that the genuflection ritual during the homage ceremony underwent a symbolically semantic shift in the period from 1550 to 1650. He argues that genuflection initially served as a "soft" form of resistance to the Habsburgs; the Upper and Lower Austrian Estates used the "family" metaphor to emphasize parental obligations expected from the ruler. According to Strohmeyer, after 1620 genuflection represented subordination to the ruler, as the "family" metaphor strengthened the ruler's hand in calling for obedience. Strohmeyer convincingly illuminates nuances in the usage of the "family" metaphor relates them to the realities of military defeat and subsequent Catholic confessionalization, but offers no concrete evidence that the genuflection itself shifted in symbolic meaning from that of light resistance to complete subordination. Despite the weakness of the ritual aspects of his argument, Strohmeyer successfully challenges Sturmberger's claim of the dominant role of Calvinism in galvanizing Austrian Estate resistance. Indeed, its themes of indigenous foundations for Upper and Lower Austrian resistance resonate with Martin van Gelderen's recent work on the Dutch. Van Gelderen argues that native resistance traditions were of equal importance to the Dutch Revolt as those of French Calvinist Monarchomachs. Although he does not mention the works of Theodore Raab or Geoffrey Parker, Strohmeyer further buttresses their claims of a "general crisis" in early modern Europe that crossed confessional boundaries. Moreover, Strohmeyer's emphasis on "real" politics and negotiation strategies for the Austrian Estates echoes that of Karin MacHardy's work on the political dynamics between the Habsburgs and the Austrian Estates. Finally, in examining the interplay between ideas and social-political reality, his work further makes salient the importance of the social history of ideas. Notes . Winfried Schulze, _Einführung in die neure Geschichte_ (Stuttgart: E. Ulmer, 2002). . J.G.A. Pocock, _The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law. English Historical Thought in the Seventeenth Century_ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957). . Hans Sturmberger, _Georg Erasmus Tschernembl. Religion, Libertät und Widerstand. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Gegenreformation und des Landes ob der Enns_ (Graz: H. Böhlau, 1953). . Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, ed., _Vormoderne politische Verfahren_ (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001). . Martin van Gelderen, _The Political Thought of the Dutch Revolt, 1555-1590_ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). . Theodore Raab, _The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe_ (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975); Geoffrey Parker and Lesley Smith, eds., _The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century_ (London: Routledge, 1997). . Karin J. MacHardy, _Religion and Court Patronage in Habsburg Austria: The Social and Cultural Dimensions of Political Interaction, 1521-1622_ (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). Copyright (c) 2008 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit, educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the author, web location, date of publication, originating list, and H-Net: Humanities & Social Sciences Online. 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