The Politics of Johannes Althusius. An abridged translation of the Third Edition of. POLITICA METHODICE DIGESTA, ATQUE EXEMPLIS SACRIS ET PROFANIS. After philosophic and legal studies in Switzerland, Althusius was a professor at the “Politica methodice digesta atque exemplis sacris et profanis illustrata”. According to Althusius, the purpose of the state is to protect and encourage social life. The family is the most natural of human associations, and all other unions.

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By such management the skill is made available for cultivating fields, tending herds, ploughing, sowing, reaping, planting, pruning, and doing all kinds of agricultural work. How far one may politiac in political science is sufficiently indicated by its purpose. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The same general principles of ppolitica and rule, however, apply equally to both private and public associations. Althusius divides the family into two kinds—conjugal and kinship—and discusses the nature of communication and imperium in each.

Johannes Althusius | Dutch political scientist |

The Politica seems to have been instrumental in securing for Althusius a most attractive offer to become Syndic of Emden in East Friesland. For in the war you undertook against the very powerful king of Spain you did not consider that the rights of sovereignty adhered so inseparably to him that they did not exist apart from him.

Now the political scientist properly teaches what are the sources of sovereignty capita majestatisand inquires and determines what may be essential for the constituting of a commonwealth. Polktica formal cause is indeed the association brought about by contributing and communicating one with the other, in which political men institute, cultivate, maintain, and conserve the fellowship of human life through decisions about those things useful and necessary to this social life.

A series of social contracts sustains the system as new groups are brought into existence. While at Basle he lived for a time in the home of Johann Grynaeus, with whom he studied theology and thereafter maintained polktica life-long correspondence. Pactum covenant is the only basis for legitimate political organization.

Politiica have decided to retain these redundancies for several reasons, but chiefly because often each word in the sequence bears a slightly different meaning from the others, and a translator should avoid politics, however tempting, as a means of achieving stylistic improvement.


In order pooitica know the true dictates of natural law, he argued, we must carefully study Scripture and tradition, as well as revelation and reason.

He repeatedly asserts that piety is required by the first table of the Decalogue and justice by the second, and that the two together are furthermore validated in human experience everywhere. Second, the classic biblical commonwealth was a fully articulated federation of tribes instituted and reaffirmed by covenant to function under a althusiu constitution and laws.

As a result, there are several rights in althuusius the king can never be invested, including the right to absolute power. Nor is the federal aspect insignificant here.

The jurist, on the other hand, properly treats of the right jus 3 that arises at certain times born these sources of sovereignty and the contract entered into between the people and the prince.

Farewell to you, and to my relatives and friends.

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This is what I especially seek to provide, and for the sake of which I have undertaken this entire labor. The husband communicates to his wife his name, family, reputation, station in life, and economic condition. The analysis of ecclesiastical administration contains the arguments for a religious covenant between the commonwealth and God that Althusius adapts from Junius Brutus. And they serve as a trustee for the realm in time of interregnum.

It remained for the Americans to invent modern federalism on the basis of individualism and thus reintroduce the idea of the state as a political association rather than a reified entity, an artifact that is assumed to have an existence independent of the people who constitute it.

In these things that are merely voluntary nothing ought to be done unless all consent, not separately and at different times, but corporately and unanimously. Even where the principle is not challenged, the practical exercise of absolute sovereignty is no longer possible. Not all borrowings can be detected in this way, however, because some of his most frequently used sources, especially legal ones, were equally insensitive in such matters.

Rather, when you took away the use and exercise of them from those who abused them, and recovered what was your own, you declared that these rights belong to the associated multitude and to the people of the individual provinces.

Politica by Johannes Althusius

The first is that I have experienced difficulty in separating juridical matters from this science. Accordingly, he made an effort to synthesize and somewhat secularize Reformed Protestant thought on the ideal polity and to push it in concrete, practical directions. And so was born, as it were, the need for communicating necessary and useful things, which communication was not possible except in social and political life.


Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. The lawyers Henry Bracton and Sir John Fortescue could have spoken quite relevantly and sympathetically to Althusius on a number of points.

In this last matter, however, Althusius pleads for moderation, provided that the essential articles of faith are preserved. Ezekiel Loseke rated it it was amazing Feb 10, For the family, however natural, is based upon a tacit or expressed agreement among its members as to the manner of its communication of things, services, and right.

But where in the commonwealth does this sovereignty reside?

Their consent is required by the ruler in all major matters confronting the province, such as decisions on war, peace, taxes, and new law. And I have included among other things herein, all in their proper places, the precepts of the Decalogue and the rights of sovereignty, about which there is a deep silence among some other political scientists.

As such he translates the biblical poitica tradition into useful modern forms.

On the other hand he often uses classical writers, especially Augustine and Seneca, for quotations that may fit his own point but are taken out of context from the original work. I shall discuss these problems, as well as the justification for abridging the original work, in the final section of this introduction.

After considerable thought and experimentation I have decided upon the following procedures. Contact our editors with your feedback.

Gonnamakeit marked it as to-read Jun 13, Fewer than three, however, are able to conserve a collegium. I have considered that elements of this sort that poliyica alien and useless in this art ought to be rejected and, by the dictate of justice, returned to the positions they properly hold in other sciences. They bear the fundamental right and power of the people in these situations.

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