The modern state touches nearly every aspect of our lives, but we usually spend little time thinking about it. The existence of states seems natural, as does their authority to collect taxes, raise armies, wage wars, regulate economies, build infrastructures, and provide services. This course analyzes how states acquired these powers over time. Topics include the emergence, development, and possible decline of modern states; war; democracy and its spread around the world; nationalism; globalization; citizenship; and human rights. The overarching goal of this course is for students to develop a better understanding of the state, society, and power in the modern world, with a focus on how history shapes current events.