An Oral Historians’ Work [review] by Roy Rosenzweig

By Roy Rosenzweig

Retrieved from on 30 November 2016.

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For all sorts of reasons—not in the least because he wished to abandon the model of compromise of his father—Philip II disturbed the existing order. After 1568, resistance turned into civil war, marked by a provincial and particularistic reaction. Eventually, the Netherlands were divided in two parts: while Philip II was able to reconquer the southern provinces, the northern provinces were united in a separate state, the Republic of the United Provinces. 20 The war also had grave consequences for the Great Council.

As a result, the tribunal—and in particular the last century of its existence, as that was seemingly marked by decline and decay—continued to intrigue me even after my Master’s thesis on the eighteenth century prosecution office of the Great Council was finished. Enough, in fact, to eventually devote five years of my life to writing its history. D. work. Although it was at the outset conceived as a more or less purely institutional study of the eighteenth century Great Council of Malines, my budding interest in legal history and my growing understanding of procedure and other legal aspects connected to my subject eventually firmly placed this study at the intersection of law and history.

During this period the Great Council was only competent to deal with appeals from Luxemburg. After its return to Malines in the course of 1749, it more or less resumed its normal activities. The end of the War of the Spanish Succession also marked the beginning of renewed attempts at unification and centralization. 24 Joseph II deliberately abandoned the ‘Theresian compromise’ and did try to unilaterally impose his ideas in order to arrive at rationalization, unification and centralization of all his possessions.

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