The emergence of state structures in the early modern period is usually envisaged in the form of the extension of autocratic control by the monarchy. The most conspicuous examples are France and Brandenburg-Prussia, where during the seventeenth century, the crown was able to establish something like 'absolute' power by raising arbitrary taxation, mainly by imposition upon the peasantry, through a paid bureaucracy, backed by a powerful standing army. Thus Perry Anderson refers to 'the military-bureaucratic apparatus' that was creating the centralized state of Brandenburg-Prussia. England had become a coordinated national unit that generated greater economic resources and more effective military power than either of the other kingdoms in view. This chapter outlines some of the causes and implications in relation to the shifting basis of the concept of the common welfare. The development of trade and the problem of maintaining it again emerge as important factors in creating a national perspective.