On sovereignty : four chapters from The six books of the commonwealth


On sovereignty : four chapters from The six books of the commonwealth

Jean Bodin ; edited and translated by Julian H. Franklin

(Cambridge texts in the history of political thought)

Cambridge University Press, 1992

  • : hard
  • : pbk


Six livres de la République

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 72



Translation of selections from: Six livres de la République

Bibliography: p. xxix-xxxiv

Includes index



Bodin's Six livres de la republique is a vast synthesis of comparative public law and politics, the theoretical core of which is formed by the four chapters translated in this volume. These contain his celebrated theory of sovereignty, which informed his thinking on the state and made his Republique a landmark in the development of European political thought. This theory, however, also included a seductive but erroneous thesis that was of great importance for the development of royalist ideology: the idea that sovereignty is indivisible, that the entire power of the state has to be vested in a single individual or group. This thesis, together with the crisis of authority in the French religious wars, led Bodin to a systematically absolutist interpretation of the French and other contemporary monarchies. His primary aim was to exclude any legal ground of forcible resistance. A king of France, he hoped, would continue to adhere to moral and prudential limitations, but a proper king, he insisted, could not be lawfully constrained. This is the first complete translation of these chapters into English since 1606. It is accompanied by a lucid introduction, a chronology, and a bibliography.


  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Principal events in Bodin's life
  • Bibliography
  • Note on the text
  • Notes on format
  • Notes on translation
  • 1. Republique
  • 2. Book 1, chapter 8 on sovereignty
  • 3. Book 1, chapter 10 on the true marks of sovereignty
  • 4. Book 2, chapter 1 on the kinds of state in general
  • 5. Book 2, chapter 5 whether it is lawful to make an attempt upon the tyrant's life and to nullify and repeal his ordinances after he is dead
  • Textual notes
  • Index.

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