Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mary Ailes

Committee Members

Torsten Homberger, Pradeep Barua


Bavaria;confessionalism;Holy Roman Empire;Maximilian I;state building;Wittelsbach


Over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Bavarian Wittelsbachs waged a war against their own estates, the encroachment of Protestantism, and checks on their own ducal and electoral power, at both the imperial and territorial levels. Through dynastic maneuvering the Wittelsbachs unified the whole of Bavaria under their banner and created an early modern bureaucratic state in order to aid in their rule. The creation of this system involved the creation of their own Counter Reformation system, state institutions, and an early modern bureaucracy to submit the territory to their will. The story of Bavaria’s state development is not one in a vacuum as it also coincides with the constitutional developments occurring in the Holy Roman Empire, and as such it is the story of state building within a greater federated empire. The confessional crisis of the Empire and its own attempts at centralization inadvertently gave the Bavarian state a model with which to augment or appeal to in the exploration of their own state’s development. Through this two-tiered state building process Bavaria offers itself up as a compelling example of Germanic state building and explores the breadth of one of the many territorial states that developed in what is now modern-day Germany.



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