Religious History: Political Theory

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22 Mar 2012
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February 11, 2009
Political Theory
Cauis Regio Auis Religio
Power of the Kings – Medieval West
- Bound by divine law
- Bound by moral law
- Religious laws they were also bound to
When Kings took power, they took oaths:
-To govern in the interest of their people
-There is a contractual obligation that binds the King and the person
-Medieval Kings had emphasized the power given to them by God
The office of the King was sacred, not the person himself
This is why Succession becomes such a huge issue – continuity of the office has to maintain its relationship with
What right do you have to resist the power of the King if he is Tyrannical? or of a Different religion?
Phillip de Mornay (Calvinist)
Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants (1574-1579)
- God delegates his authority to earthly rulers on the basis of a contract
oTriangle – God, People, King: there is a contract between each party
oThese three contracts are inter-related – and if one of the contracts is violated the others are
brought into question
If the Kings become viewed as Heretical, he has broken his contract with God – the people must resist their King to
uphold their own contract with God
- The same could be said about a King who is Tyrannical
- The right of resistance rests in the hands of the people – appoint representatives to confront the King
oIf the King did not listen to the representatives: they were not allowed to violently resist, only endure
Mariana (Catholic)
The ones concerned with this are the Jesuits
- They are responsible to stop the spread of Protestantism – they work underground
of Kings and the Educations of Kings
- He was bothered by the expansion of centralized government (France, Spain, England)
oKings expanding their power usurps the regional government
If the King broke the contract with the people or with God – the right of resistance rests in the individual
Tyranicide
-Assassination is a reasonable method of dealing with the tyrant
-Henry III – Was stabbed in his own home for not being Catholic enough
What you have is a world where Kings could be murdered for Religious Ideologies – increasingly violent world
Jean Bodin
Exalted the State above everything else
- The power of the State is supreme – to rebel for religious reasons is not an option
- Establish some degree of stability which should not be disturbed for any reason
- The Kings should have the power to make laws – no barriers to their making laws
James I in England is loving what Bodin is saying
oHowever, the King is not above the law
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