This course studies the transformation in the understandings of state power, of property and of law, and the historical background to these changes that can be traced back to the formation of centralized monarchies and the commercial expansion of the 16th century. While this early history formed the background of the histories of modernity, the rupture in terms of the ways individual societies were governed, economic activity was organised, and property rights or resource allocation was affected, actually took place only in the 18th and the 19th centuries. These forms have subsequently been associated with the process of modernity, and were universalized given thecontext of competition, imperial penetration, and international economic expansion. The course will focus on the debates of 18th and 19th century political economists and political theorists including the Physiocrats, Montesqieu, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham and Alexis de Tocquevılle. It will then address the historical context these conceptualizations grew out of and responded to.