Wayne E. Lee
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Conquer, extract, and perhaps govern
Organic economies, logistics, and violence in the pre-industrial world
in A global history of early modern violence

Victors in the pre-industrial world secured the long-term benefits of military success through a combination of four ‘pillars’: legitimacy, sanctity, bureaucracy, and the deployment of force in a security or ‘latent’ mode such as, for example, a garrison. Managing the last pillar, latent force, was heavily shaped by military logistical considerations, which in turn reflected the fundamentals of the victor’s subsistence system. This chapter moves beyond the usual analysis of states, comparing three types of early modern societies, and specifically their use of latent force to secure ‘victory’: agricultural states, nomadic pastoral clans on the Eurasian steppe, and Native American polities in the North American woodlands. Over time, patterns of conquest within each type of subsistence system generated a ‘normal’ expectation or definition of the rewards of victory that included what would happen to defeated populations. When different systems clashed – when, for example, the steppe invaded the sown or when the forces of a state marched into the North American woods – the resulting mismatch of expectations about the meaning of victory changed not just the violence of war, but also the violence of post-war consolidation.

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