‘Constructing the Modern State’ is concerned with the time when the medieval realm gave way to the modern state, generally thought to be during the sixteenth century. The arguments of Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes are discussed along with the theory of sovereignty. Two contrasting attitudes reveal the rhythm of modern politics. The first is the liberal view of the state, descending from medieval conceptions of freedom and kingship, as sustaining a civic order to be enjoyed. The second is the art of the state as something repressive, standing against the aspirations of its exploited subjects; the state as a problem because it is a repressive thing that needs to be humanized.