Debating Secrecy

The Swiss Republic in the European Context

Subproject A investigates how the tension between secrecy and collective government was discussed in early modern printed sources. Were the concepts of res publica and arcana imperii seen as opposites – or did republican sovereignty in the seventeenth century presuppose precisely the capacity for secrecy? For the reconstruction of these European intellectual discourses, the subproject will analyse in depth works of political theory as well as early modern state descriptions, travel literature, and works of historiography on selected republics. A selection of these sources will be made generally available via the project homepage. In a second step, the subproject will focus on the Swiss Confederacy, drawing on additional material including unpublished archival sources. The aim of this endeavour is to investigate the development of secrecy regimes in Switzerland in the longue durée.

Conducted by Nadir Weber

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