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 ?
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.
The monarchomach treatises of l570s and l580s engaged ideas of property in ways both sympathetic and opposed to Montaigne's position.
The most strenuously argued of monarchomach texts was perhaps that by Estienne Junius Brutus (Hubert Languet), the Vindiciae contra tyrannos (1581).
The monarchomach text that bears most directly on Montaigne's idea of freedom, Estienne de La Boetie's (1530-63) Discours deja servitude volontaire (ca.
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.
But even a cursory examination of the principal monarchomach tracts suggests that, except for a shared aristocratic bias, their ideological stance differs from Sidney's at virtually every point.
The aristocratic republicanism of the monarchomachs seems particularly close to the political attitudes implicit in Sidney's romance; as Norbrook notes, their claim that the "subaltern magistrate" had both the right and duty to rebel against a tyrannical prince was designed to sanction the Protestant nobility's resistance to its Catholic rulers.
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.
One could accordingly believe in an aristocratic republic or even a monarchical republic or, more typically in the literature, a mixed republic, regimen mixtum, as the monarchomachs favored (Skinner and van Gelderen 2002,1.