Johannes Althusius

(redirected from Johannes Althaus)

Althusius, Johannes


Born 1557 in Diedenshausen; died Aug. 12, 1638, in Emden. German jurist and theorist of law.

Althusius was an ardent Calvinist. In his main work, Politica . . . (1603), Althusius was an early representative of the bourgeois theory of natural law, which he based on the principles of Calvinist theology. Althusius developed the idea of popular sovereignty and argued that the people have the right to overthrow and execute tyrannical rulers (in this respect he was close to the monarchomachs). The work of Althusius was essentially a theoretical justification of the republican system in the northern Netherlands.


Politica methodice digesta et exemplis sacris et profanis illustrata. Cambridge, 1932.


Kovalevskii, M. Ot priamogo narodopravstva k predstavitel’nomu . . ., vol. 2. Moscow, 1906.
Gierke, O. Johannes Althusius .... 5th ed. Meisenheim am Glan, 1958.
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Indeed, the influence of Lipsius' Politica has now been detected in works emerging from such divergent contexts as Elizabethan deliberations on the fate of Ireland (most notably Sir William Herbert's Croftus sive de Hibernia liber) or the German juridico-political teachings of Johannes Althaus (Althusius [1557-1638]), whose Politica methodice digesta appeared in 1603.