The impact of warfare on absolutist state development in early modern Europe was more complicated than often thought by historians and theorists of the state. The competitive pressures of warfare did not always lead to linear political developments which would culminate in a centralized bureaucratic state. Instead, rulers' financial strategies along with the political effects of these strategies were conditioned by both structural and historical constraints. Political change in France over the course of the seventeenth century illustrates the impact of these two sets of constraints. Here, I trace in particular the changing property rights of office holding as a measure of political change shaped by war finance within these two sets of constraints.