Monarchomachs

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Monarchomachs

 

Western European writers and publicists of the second half of the 16th and early 17th centuries who opposed absolutism.

The monarchomachs denied the divine origin of royal authority, believing that sovereignty belongs to the people. The people empower the monarch on a contractual basis; accordingly, they have the right to overthrow him if he violates the conditions of the contract, thus becoming a tyrant, and even to kill him.

The monarchomachs did not constitute a unified tendency in philosophy; depending on concrete historical conditions, they reflected the interests of different social strata such as the growing bourgeoisie in England and the Netherlands or the feudal elite in France. Employing the term “the people,” the monarchomachs in fact meant the bourgeoisie or the nobility, never the popular masses. The French monarchomachs in particular sought not the elimination of the monarchy but rather its limitation by institutions representing the various social estates.

Monarchomach theories were often advanced in the course of the religious-political struggle of this period. Among those developing such ideas were the Calvinists P. Du Plessis-Mornay and F. Hotman in France, J. Althusius in Germany, and G. Buchanan in Scotland; the Catholic J. Boucher in France, one of the founders of the Holy League of 1584–94; and the Jesuits J. de Mariana and F. Suarez in Spain.

F. A. KOGAN-BERNSHTEIN

References in periodicals archive ?
11) Alexander's solid knowledge of the classics and of Buchanan's and the French Huguenots' monarchomach theories proved to be decisive in his crafting a play so vividly depicting a tyrant at work and the consequences of his evil yoke, as did his familiarity with James's personality and political writings.
In the first place, he shifts the context in which the De rege is to be read, removing it from the Anglo-French context framed by the monarchomach tradition and repatriating it, as it were, to its true home in Spain.
The Jesuit Juan de Mariana (1536-1624) is remembered as the most prominent Catholic monarchomach and a leading historiographer of late sixteenth-century Spain.
Secondly, what aspects of conciliar theorizing and practice we-e the seventeenth-century parliamentarians or, for that matter, their sixteenth-century monarchomach predecessors invoking?
More recent arguments that Sidney promotes the monarchomach position include: Martin Bergbusch, "Rebellion in the New Arcadia," PQ 63 (1974): 29-41; Jan Van Dorsten, "Sidney and Languet," HLQ 29 (1966): 215-22; Alan Sinfield, "Power and Ideology: An Outline Theory and Sidney's Arcadia," ELH 52 (1985): 259-77.
The monarchomach treatises of l570s and l580s engaged ideas of property in ways both sympathetic and opposed to Montaigne's position.
More recent arguments that Sidney promotes the monarchomach position include: Martin Bergbusch, "Rebellion in the New Arcadia," PQ 53 (1974): 29-41; Jan Van Dorsten, "Sidney and Languet," HLQ 29 (1966): 215-22; Alan Sinfield, "Power and Ideology: An Outline Theory and Sidney's Arcadia," ELH 52 (1985): 259-77.
39) His self-appointed tutor, Hubert Languet, wrote one of the principal statements of monarchomach theory; his friend, Sir Henry Savile, was on the cutting-edge of English Taciteanism; Daniel Rogers, another friend, translated Buchanan's republican De jure regni apud Scotos.
Surprisingly, the old republican Calvinist monarchomach vetoed the idea, bluntly informing the impulsive teenager that "you and your fellows, I mean men of noble birth, consider that nothing brings you more honour than wholesale slaughter', and you are generally guilty of the greatest injustice.
Both thinkers defended conceptions of the state as absolutist (or at least highly authoritarian) to make clear that the point of the state was to preserve order in the face of challenges to the peace posed by the Church or by proponents of group rights such as the Monarchomachs.