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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