This paper uses the tools of historical sociology to understand the formation of the authoritarian elites in Egypt. It does this by exploring the historical relation between the modern state in Egypt and its peripheries. The author argues that the lack of political experience in the Egyptian peripheries did not only lead to a wide expansion of the central authority, but it also influenced the evolution of the Egyptian revolution and its outcomes. Using Thailand as a comparative case study, the paper asserts that the history of exclusion in Egypt, in contrast, has created a gap between broad social strata and the public political sphere. The consequences of this gap was to engage in daily sub-political options in order to avoid the state instead of confronting it, negotiate rights with the bureaucracy and its clientelist networks, and to look for socio-economic space away from state control.