West European Studies

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17 Th Century Real Estate Project


Modern forms of government and economic systems have been as a result of the developments of older forms of governance. The 17 Th century was critical to most states characterized by development and evolving of governments, increased awareness of trade and changes in social and economic systems. This essay is a historical analysis of mainly Amsterdam, London and St Petersburg. It shall assess the forms of government, economic arguments, religious and social opportunities in each.

West European Studies

Forms of Government

Forms of government refer to the political institutions, bureaucracy, geographical area of governance and general organization of a state. It addresses issues to do with enforcement of human rights and justice, democracy and governance of a state. It depicts the policies, laws and decisions regarding trade, education among others. The forms of governance in the 17th centuries differed from one state to another. Amsterdam had the most modern system at the time. Its seven provinces were decentralized each under a noble. William prince of Orange united south and north Dutch forces to take leadership. (Amsterdam group 9/21/09)


London was more of a trade centre ruled by a king. This was the largest seat of government. (London 9/23/09)


St Petersburg government was a centralized form of monarchy ruled by Peter. He ensured the overall running of the state and aimed at making it the best. (St Petersburg 9/21/09)


Economic Arguments

Economic policies aim at achieving economic growth and development for a state. In the 17 Th century, nations developed policies that would benefit them. Amsterdam was an economic state with foreign policies and reliable and sustaining food source. African American slave trade fueled the economy with major trades of porcelain and spices from the East and rum from America. They concentrated on building ships for other nations because of their advantage of flowing upstream. There were free trade zones and trading posts through out the world from South America to china. (Amsterdam group 9/21/09)1

London was the world’s largest trade center especially in manufacturing. It had the largest port with vast trade opportunities. (London 9/23/09) Peter’s skills on various trades such as shoemaking and boat making had trade influence on St Petersburg. It had a warm water port in Baltic Sea and shipyards and canals. (St Petersburg 9/21/09)2

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Religious Opportunities

Religion played key roles in the states. Religion in Amsterdam was tolerated with mainly Jews from Spain and French Huguenots. (Amsterdam group 9/23/09)1 In St Petersburg, religion played major reforms with consolidated powers so that patriarchs could not compete with Peter the King. Infact, the church party of state ruled. (St Petersburg 9/21/09)


In London, religion was not emphasized. (Class notes 9/11/09)


Social Opportunities

Societal values and grouping differed. Amsterdam was highly populated with freedom. Ethnicity was not evident since Amsterdam was economically motivated. A reading culture was evident with the book production in Europe at that time. Freedom of expression was emphasized evidenced by the great writers and philosophers Descartes and Locke. They did writing in Amsterdam free from prosecution or persecution. (Amsterdam 9/21/09)1 St Petersburg had a low population with strict laws and regulations. It had a military system where people rose by ranks. (St Petersburg 9/21/09)


London had high literacy rates at the time. The middle class with professional occupations was growing. The living conditions were great with availability of water and street lighting with oil lamps. The art of London was influenced by the Dutch developed. (London 9/23/09)


The Best Town of the 17 Th Century

Comparing the towns and cities, London provided the best environment to live in. The aspects of availability of water and street lighting, revealed the commitment of the state in maintaining its people and security. Being a trade center, it offered trade opportunities to the people. Unlike St

West European Studies

Petersburg which had strict regulations, freedom was ensured. Unlike Amsterdam where social values were too liberal and slave trade emphasized, human rights were highly respected. High literacy rates guaranteed professional occupations. (London 9/23/09)3


The cities of the 17 Th centuries had distinctive characteristics unique for each. The towns evolved with trade states, economic states depending on the main activity carried out in the state. They adopted forms of governance that suited the times. The social and religious opportunities depended on the mode of governance adopted.


Dr Talamante Laura “Historical analysis of London”. Institution, 9/11/09

Microsoft PowerPoint group presentations:

Amsterdam Group Presentation, History 314, 9/21/09

London Group presentation, History 314, 9/23/09

St Petersburg Group Presentation, History 314, 9/21/09