The long nineteenth century witnessed four major historical processes of the utmost significance: the modernisation of the state, nation-state building, the independence of the American colonies from Europe, and the colonisation of the African and Asian continents. The modernising of the state entailed its growth and bearing on the economy and society, the widening of the state’s role, the “bureaucratization” of its administrative apparatus, and protracted democratisation. Along came the reduction or removal of competing powers, namely the church and aristocracy. The state also became a vehicle for the enshrinement of private property, free enterprise and, increasingly, the freedom of association among citizens. In addition, the modernised state would favour and support nation-state building in a number of ways.