The history of police and policing have been the subject of much interest and research in recent years, but this book provides the first serious academic exploration of the origins and development of the role of soldier-policemen: the gendarmeries of nineteenth-century Europe.
The author presents a detailed account of the French Gendarmeries from the old regime up to the First World War, and looks at the reasons for how and why this model came to be exported across continental Europe in the wake of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic armies. In particular their role is examined within the differing national contexts of Italy, Germany and the Habsburg Empire.
The gendarmeries, it is argued, played a significant role in establishing the state, particularly in rural areas. As the physical manifestation of the state, gendarmes carried the state's law and a promise of protection, whilst at the same time ensuring in turn that the state received its annual levies of conscripts and taxes
This account fully explores how the organisation and style of nineteenth-century soldier-policing in France developed in such a way that it brought the idea of the state and the state's law to much of twentieth-century continental Europe.
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