Abstract: This essay is a self-reflective meditation on my recent monograph, ‘The Savage Republic’, published last year. I take this opportunity to discuss and clarify certain key methodological choices and assumptions made during the writing of the earlier text. My main concern in this essay is to add greater clarity to what I consider two of my most important and controversial decisions: to employ Derrida’s notion of deconstruction as the theoretical basis of the text and to ‘translate’ the terminology of deconstruction into the referential terms of the post-Marxist historical materialism of World-Systems Analysis. I accomplish this by dividing the essay into two sections of equal weight and length. The first is my discussion of Derrida as the most attractive critical theorist for me to employ in the face of other, apparently more logical candidates, such as Deleuze. The second is to outline the ‘trace’ of the operation of the Modern World-System within the text of Grotius’ ‘De Indis’ by prioritising the dominant characteristic of the early Dutch polity: a radical political pluralism.