This essay examines the revolutionary path of modern state formation in Vietnam under the Vietnamese Communist Party. I argue that the party’s radical ideology and practices shaped the path of state formation by creating particular opportunities and conundrums in five key aspects of state formation: legitimization, establishing sovereignty, territorialization, creating a centralized bureaucracy, and monopolizing violence. The revolutionary state left behind significant and adverse legacies that today’s Vietnam is still grappling with. In comparative perspective, the Vietnamese experience contributes to scholarship on revolutions, revolutionary state-building, and the role of revolutions in world politics.
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