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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He also alludes to Calvinism in the pirates of La Rochelle (1.41), suggesting some degree of sympathy for the Monarchomachs, who embraced a Protestant version of the radical Jesuit perspective of men like Mariana.
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. The state was best understood as the realm of order, to be contrasted with the state of war signified by its absence and threatened by its dereliction.
The contract might be one between government and people, as argued by many of the Monarchomachs; or a social contract organizing the people, followed by a further agreement between people and government, as with Pufendorf; or, again, the single contract in which the sovereign and the State are created simultaneously.
But historians of political thought have tended to focus rather more broadly on the role the work ascribes to notions of popular sovereignty in the resistance to tyranny and to situate it accordingly in the tradition of political thinking stemming from such late scholastic constitutionalists as John Mair and Jacques Almain and taken up later by such sixteenth-century "monarchomachs" as George Buchanan, Jean Boucher, and Williams Rainolds.
But from the local readings we learn that Hayward was more loyal than his punishment would imply; that York is a figure of the conflicted recusant writer uncomfortably trying to get along with a shifting political/religious plot; that Malcolm--a Jacobean version of York--is similarly torn between duty and "monarchomachs"; that Donne's conflicted position as a fairly recent and dubious convert made him--well, circumspect with regard to absolutism and rebellion; and that Jonson's (similarly complicated political and religious position) contorted representations also suggest the difficulty of negotiating the via media.
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 2002,1.207), or a "composite monarchy," to use J.
"Bodin and the Monarchomachs." In Verhandlungen der internationalen Bodin Tagung, ed Horst Denzer.
Whatever the case, the silence of those Catholic monarchomachs on that particular matter did not carry much weight with the royalist John Maxwell, bishop of Tuam, when he came in 1644 to launch a long end powerful attack on those Jesuits and Puritans who "to depresse Kinges averre, that all power is originally, radically and formally inherent in the People or Communitie, and from thence is derived to the Kinge".(89) That deplorable idea these Puritans ("our Rabbies" as he calls them) did not draw from "the sound Protestants of the Reformed Churches" but from such monarchomachs of the previous century as Boucher, Rossaeus and Hotman who, in turn, "borrowed" it (he charged) from "the polluted cisterns" of "the Sorbonistes, and others of that kinde".
In The Political Thought of the Dutch Revolt, Martin van Gelderen is also engaged in a work of rescue: to redress what he regards as the unjustified dismissal of Dutch political ideas in standard accounts of sixteenth-century political thought as largely derivative of the French monarchomachs. The Dutch produced no works of abstract theory, but either justified the Revolt as the defence of an inherited constitution, or conducted political argument in works occupying the shadowy ground between theory and propaganda.