Bodin, Jean

Bodin, Jean

biographical name

(born 1530, Angers, Fr.—died June 1596, Laon) French political philosopher. He studied at the University of Toulouse and later taught law there (1551–61). In 1571 he entered the household of the king's brother, François, duke d'Alençon. He favoured negotiation with the Huguenots, with whom the government was engaged in a civil war, and opposed the sale of royal domains. His The Six Bookes of a Commonweale (1576) won him immediate fame. In it he suggested that the key to securing order and authority lay in recognition of the state's sovereignty, which he believed derived from divine right and not from the consent of the subject. He distinguished three types of government: monarchy (which he favoured), aristocracy, and democracy.

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