Pensions in Switzerland
Practices, conflicts, and impact in the sixteenth century
in Subsidies, diplomacy, and state formation in Europe, 1494–1789

The chapter argues that Swiss reception of pensions in the sixteenth century implied asymmetrical political relations between the Swiss Confederacy and its allies. There was significant dependence on France as a patron power with respect to both private and public pensions. The study shows the growing political importance of external involvement and makes it clear that the elites with informal connections to France benefited personally from foreign-policy relations. Foreign involvement became something of an obligation which no political actor could avoid. The picture of pensions painted by the treaties as a sign of French royal affection, and the equality suggested by the friendly rhetoric of the military alliances, thus constituted an unconvincing attempt to conceal the asymmetry in Franco-Swiss political relations.

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