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.

Bibliography

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 ?
STEVE BRUCE last night warned Birmingham have no divine right to win promotion back to the Premiership after seeing his side regain top spot.
"Maybe we were in a comfort zone and a mindset of thinking we had a divine right to win at home.
By DAVID ANDERSON LEEDS boss Simon Grayson has warned his players they have "no divine right" to win promotion.
This would eliminate the aggression of drivers from Benllech, Menai Bridge and Caernarfon who believe they have a divine right to force their way into main-stream traffic where those drivers think they have an equal right to stop them.
Wilkinson said, "We have no divine right to claim we were on our way to a Grand Slam because we had three games left in the championship and now we have two and we have been beaten once.
TOUGH DECISIONS No one has the divine right to play for England
"British business has no divine right to these benefits.
It was not his divine right to live in the property.
"We have set our standards very high every season and nobody has a divine right to play in Europe.
There will always be a section of the motoring public, usually it has to be said, male, who regard it as their divine right to get from A to B as fast as possible.
FROM all accounts, street traders believe they have a divine right to sell their goods from the main shopping street in Liverpool.
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.