divine right

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divine right,

doctrine that sovereigns derive their right to rule by virtue of their birth alone—a right based on the law of God and of nature. Authority is transmitted to a ruler from his ancestors, whom God himself appointed to rule. Because the sovereign was responsible not to the governed, but to God alone, active resistance to a king was a sin ensuring damnation. The doctrine evolved partly in reaction against papal claims to wield authority in the political sphere. In England, King James I and his son Charles I made many claims based on divine right, and a notable exponent of the theory was Sir Robert FilmerFilmer, Sir Robert,
d. 1653, English royalist political writer, author of Patriarcha; or, The Natural Power of Kings (pub. posthumously in 1680), a defense of the divine right of monarchs by an exposition of the patriarchal theory of the origin of government.
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. It ceased to be important in England after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The epitome of the doctrine is found in the rule of Louis XIV of France.


See J. N. Figgis, The Theory of the Divine Right of Kings (1896, repr. 1965); F. Kern, Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages (tr. 1939, repr. 1970).

References in periodicals archive ?
While they rejected the divine right of monarchs, they clung to (sometimes secularized versions of) the biblical idea that nature had been created for human benefit.
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The erosion of what had first been belief in common law since time immemorial and the rights of the ancient constitution, developed subsequently by the Tudors as a theory of divine right rule, prompting regicide, is at the heart of David Martin Jones's history of seventeenth-century political thought and practice.
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But you haven't got a divine right to wear that national jersey.
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Coun Gerry Keating, chairman of the constitutional committee which agreed the change, said: "The aim is to end the system whereby the majority party holds the office as if by divine right and get the best person for the job.
Foley has warned Munster "have no divine right to win it" ahead of their clash with the French champions.
A generation of fans have come to believe they have a divine right to win trophies.
Alas, the likes of Mr Smith are driven largely by a belief in the divine right of the Labour Party to rule every aspect of Welsh life, and by a pernicious hatred of anything or anybody who challenged or endangered that hegemony, especially Plaid Cymru and the Welsh language.
DAN O'NEILL'S article headlined Divine Right To Be Stupid aptly gives us the impression of a seasoned columnist's views on royalty and I certainly agree with practically all he writes about them.
They act as if they have some divine right to rule our city and make outrageous claims of impending disaster in the event of a simple division of power.