The rise of the gentry is perhaps the single most notable idea in English historiography. Steve Hindle suggested that a feature in state formation was the widespread use of the legal system by the "middling sort", principally as a means of maintaining order in their localities. In the world of administration and indeed of commercial activity, the gentry and the middling sort were often to be found working together. The rise of the gentry and the middling sort has now been affirmed in so many ways that no amount of subterfuge can conceal it. The commission of the peace was the forum in which the force of the gentry was coordinated at county level, and the role of the counties as equal units in a uniform structure of national administration and representation meant that the rise of the gentry would also find national-political expression. In Elizabeth's reign "there was a decisive shift to dependence on the squirearchy and gentry".