*Mea Culpa and Updates*
I made an error in overstating the effect of the Treaty of Westphalia with regards to Secularism. Please read Huichieh Loy's (of SingaporeAngle) comment in the prior post.
For more information on this very important piece of document click here. As Mr. Miles my history teacher in HC Humanz once put it, it created the modern notion of the nation-state and transformed the raison d'ete of the state from an overarching tenor of religion to the more narrow political self-interest that marked and still marks most of the 19th and 20th century geopolitics. As aways, I will recommand Paul Kennedy's Rise and Fall of Great Empires for its remarkable broad sweep of history since Philip II of Spain and the Habsburg Empire.
Oh, I've got the book so if anyone wants to swap, just drop me a line.