Interest in the ideas of Johannes Althusius has been growing, as Professor Carney notes in his introduction. The sociological, as well as the political, dimension of the Politics is being recognized. Along with this growing interest in his writings, significant progress has been achieved in better understanding his historical setting and political work, especially that at the city of Emden. A learned society has been founded in Germany, the Johannes Althusius Gesellschaft, which is undertaking to edit unpublished manuscript material, as well as to prepare critical editions of the Politics and other writings. I myself hope to publish in book form a much enlarged edition of my 1932 introduction to the Politics. Hence the present English translation of Althusius' major work is most welcome. It is, as the translator points out, the first time that the book appears to any extent in a modern vernacular (a German edition is planned). This fate is not as extraordinary as it may seem. Jean Bodin's even more important work has been available in English only in the seventeenth-century translation by Richard Knolles, though of course it was originally published in French. But there are other very important writings of the period that have remained inaccessible to those who cannot or do not care to grapple with the original Latin. As Professor Carney points out, this is in part due to the tedious style which many of the legal and political writers then employed (and still do, I fear).
Professor Carney has considerably improved the readability of Althusius' work. The explanation which he has given for the various solutions he adopted in making this translation seem to me on the whole convincing. There is, as I know from personal experience, no one satisfactory way of translating. It is eloquent testimony to the complexity of word meanings in all languages that even the most learned and skilled translators will often disagree on the right way of rendering words, phrases, and sentences into another tongue. Professor Carney is to be congratulated upon the results of his labours. Besides, his introduction provides a well-balanced review of the major positions and the sequel of Althusius' argument.
Perhaps I may be permitted to emphasize two aspects which have considerably contributed to Althusius' increasing fame: his federalism and his legal philosophy. Neither Plato nor Aristotle, nor the many political writers following in their footsteps in classical antiquity, including the Stoics, developed a concept of federalism. This failure is as striking as the more frequently mentioned failure to elaborate the notion of representation. The practical attempts that were made to unite Greece in city leagues failed, perhaps in part as a result of this theoretical inadequacy. It was only in the Middle Ages that the idea began to unfold, as the politics of the great city leagues, especially in Germany, challenged the attention of theorists. Gierke even went so far as to state that the Middle Ages attained 'a construction of the social whole which in effect was federalistic through and through,' although he was certainly ready to recognize the medieval disposition to see things 'whole'. But this was an 'organic articulation in unity and a relative independence of members' as more especially expounded by Nicolas Cusanus. Be that as it may, the consciously federal principle was asserted by Althusius against the centralizing implications of the idea of sovereignty, especially as it had been formulated by Bodin.
In developing this principle, he implemented a basic position implied in the political views of John Calvin. Partial to the self-contained republic of the Genevan model, Calvin's thought (as Zwingli's before him) favoured the federation of such republics for defence and other common concerns. This idea becomes a persistent strand, culminating in the theories of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Kant. In Calvin's as in Althusius' political outlook, this defensive federalism was reinforced by the recognition of the protective role of guardians of a constitutional order, such as the ephors of ancient Sparta to whom Calvin had referred. For Calvin, the idea was no doubt suggested by the need of federating the self-contained congregations in a universal church. Broadly putting it, one could say that the spiritual as well as bodily survival called for a federal union of religio-political communities. The actual politics of the Swiss Confederation may have played a significant part in providing concrete background as well; in Althusius' day, the federal union of the Netherlands no doubt served to strengthen this conviction, since these Dutch had so dramatically demonstrated the point in their successful fight against the most powerful state of the time. It is not for nothing that Althusius dedicated a later edition of his work to the Estates of Frisia, one of the members of the Dutch confederation.
Althusius, fully familiar with the politics of both Switzerland and the Netherlands, though neither Swiss nor Dutch, was in an unusual position for discovering the pluralistic principle which these confederations had in common with the ancient empire. The strain to which the Bodinian doctrine of sovereignty was put by these political entities called for a federal re-evaluation. This discovery was clothed by Althusius in his doctrine of the 'symbiotic association', the community of men living together and united by real bonds which a contract of union, expressed or implied, institutionalized. What Althusius undertook to do was to interpret all political life in terms of the pactum, the bond of contractual union. Beginning with the family as such a natural and co-organic entity, he suggested that on successive levels of political community those who live together in order and harmony and whom he called 'symbiotes' are united by a pact, expressed or implied, to share things in pursuit of common interests and utility. The village was for him a federal union of families, as was the guild; the town a union of guilds; the province a union of towns and villages; the kingdom or state a union of such provinces; and the empire a union of such states and free cities. In a sense, this was a concept which transformed into a cooperative constitutional order the feudal hierarchy of successive levels of lord and vassal as mirrored in the medieval writings already alluded to. In his introduction Professor Carney develops in greater detail how this theory is worked out. The key to this concept of federalism is that on all levels the union is composed of the units of the preceding lower level. Thus, when we arrive at the top, the members of a state are neither individual persons nor families, but are politically organized collectivities, namely, the provinces and cities. This construction contrasts sharply with the later American concept of a federal union composed not only of states, but of individual citizens as well. This does not mean, as the Federalist argued against the Confederation, that the union is less closely knit, but rather that the pactum foederis or Bund (bond of union) is conceived in less purposive and individualistic terms; it is merely the outward form, the institutionalized framework of an existential communal reality. This reality consists in the sharing of values, interests, and beliefs to use modern terminology for Althusius' communicatio mutua rerum, operarum et juris i.e., it is existential community. As such, it transcends the wilful determination of the participants; it comes into being as part of their very nature, and merely needs to be recognized and consciously organized in the pactum or bond of union which makes it explicit.
The federal principle is explicitly applied also to the growth of a territorial dominion, and here the distinction between the federal and the confederal union, as it has been called in modern parlance, is explicitly developed. However, the distinction is more sensibly put by Althusius as a confederation which is either full (plena) or not-full (non-plena). These terms bring out much better the relative character of the difference. As Althusius develops it, the distinction between the full (Carney suggests: complete) and the not-full (Carney suggests: partial) confederation resembles that later made between the Bundesstaat and Staatenbund, between the federal and confederal union, because it turns upon whether the confederates retain their sovereign rights, their jura majestatis, or not. What matters more is that through this notion of an extension of government by consensual federation the basic solution to ever-widening political cooperation is indicated. It is evident that such a federal construction of the political order, pluralistic to the core, must assign a central role to the law. The command theory of law as the creation of the legislative sovereign has to be modified and transcended, though not necessarily abandoned. Althusius speaks expressly of the potestas imperandi. The medieval tradition of law as embodied in immemorial custom, expressive of reason and related to the universal order preordained by a benevolent Deity, is here secularized and humanized in terms of effective participation of the fellow members in successive layers of community. Such legislation expresses the special sovereign law which is embedded in a general sovereign law and right; both belong to the people, understood as the collectivity of corporate members, not of the individual persons. Law as the product of such special sovereignty is consensual within the context of the general law, which the reason that is embodied in the Decalogue prescribes. This view is, of course, the doctrine expounded by Calvin in partial modification of Luther's views. The divine law of the Decalogue makes explicit what reason could teach the natural man. As is well-known, this doctrine goes back through St. Augustine to St. Paul. The important and distinctly Althusian doctrine is that which insists upon the participation of all in the shaping of those special laws, though the participation of the individual persons (singuli) occurs only indirectly through the lower corporate entities to which they belong. Such special laws are seen as 'explaining' the Decalogue, and as 'accommodating' it to the circumstances of place, time, and so forth. They may somewhat depart (recedere) from the mortal law, as stated in the Decalogue, adding or detracting, but they must not be wholly contrary to natural law and moral equity. In order to make sure of that, sanctions are needed and guardians must see to it that the basic order is not violated. Althusius elaborated Calvin's hint about the ephors in light of the writings on the right of resistance which the previous generation had produced. There emerges here, although not yet too distinctly, the notion of a constitutional legislation which provides the basic order for the political community.
The idea of such a constituent power constitutes a significant restatement of the Bodinian concept of sovereignty in terms which hint at a democratic order. They are positions which English writers and lawyers were going to develop within the framework set by Fortescue and Sir Thomas Smith the latter being a source of Althusius' views on the English constitution. Among the writings of this turbulent period of English history, the anonymous book by Samuel Rutherford, entitled Lex, Rex: The Law and the Prince; A Dispute for the Just Prerogative of Kings and People (1644), comes perhaps closest to the Althusian position. It is not surprising, since Rutherford was a leading Presbyterian. His views were elaborated and radicalized by John Milton. I might add that Althusius' position, in theory and practice, also has parallels in the writers defending Swedish and Polish constitutionalism, as represented in the Estates and orders. His position also lived on in the political tradition of the Netherlands and Switzerland. These few remarks are only meant to highlight two key issues which are part of Althusius' contribution to the history of political thought. It remains to express my highest appreciation to the editor-translator of this English edition, and to the publisher who is willing to present a work to the English reader now which might with great profit have been put out three hundred years earlier or even before.
Carl J. Friedrich
Department of Government
1. The Politics, in its version of 1614, has also been integrally reprinted by Scientia Verlag. The Gesellschaft came into being as a result of the devoted efforts of Professor Dr Scupin of the University of Munich. For historical background, cf. Heinz Antholz, 'Die politische Wirksamkeit des Johannes Althusius in Emden' in Abhandlungen und Vortr?ge zur Geschichte Ostfrieslands, Heft XXXII (1955).
2. See the splendid new edition of this translation by Kenneth Douglas McRae, with a learned introduction by him. (See Appendix II.)
3. Otto Gierke, The Development of Political Theory, translated by Bernard Freyd (1939), p. 257. This book is a translation of Johannes Althusius und die Entwicklund der naturrechtlichen Staatstheorien.
4. Ibid., p. 277.
5. This term, expressive of the combination of organic and purposive elements in political association, was first proposed in William Y. Elliott's pathfinding study The Pragmatic Revolt in Politics (1928), especially pp. 352 ff.
6. See Chapter XVII.
7. Mr Carney has done well to include these paragraphs in his selections, for they constitute a crucial point. (see Chapter XXI.) For an elaboration of Bodin's position, see my The Philosophy of Law in Historical Perspective (1958; 1963), Chapter VIII.
The New Interest in the Political Theory of Althusius
Johannes Althusius has enjoyed the good fortune in recent times of frequent notice in political, theological, sociological, and historical writings. This has been true ever since Otto Gierke in the latter part of the nineteenth century recovered Althusius from two centuries of relative obscurity, and attributed to his Politics (Politica methodice digesta) the distinction of making one of the pivotal contributions to Western political thought. He saw in Althusius a seminal thinker who was enabled by an exceptional learning in law, theology, politics, and history to formulate a political theory that served as something of a culmination of medieval social thought and a watershed of modern political ideas. The chief features of this theory, Gierke felt, were to be found in its contractual and natural law principles.
The renewal of interest in Althusius was given further impetus by the labours of Carl Joachim Friedrich, who in 1932 not only republished the largest part of the 1614 edition of the Politics in its original language, but also provided for it an introduction that considerably advanced our knowledge of Althusius' life as well as his thought. Friedrich focused attention on the concept of the symbiotic association as the foundation of Althusian theory, and on the Calvinist religion as interpretative of this concept. In so doing, he differed quite noticeably from Gierke in his understanding of Althusius' political theory. Nevertheless, he shared with Gierke a very high estimate of Althusius' importance, even to the extent of considering him to be 'the most profound political thinker between Bodin and Hobbes'.
In addition to Gierke and Friedrich, the two persons who have done most to establish Althusius' reputation in the contemporary world, there is also a small but growing and impressive group of scholars from various political and religious traditions who have devoted considerable attention to his thought. The names of John Neville Figgis, R. W. and A. J. Carlyle, Pierre Mesnard, Erik Wolf, Ernst Reibstein, Peter Jochen Winters, and others whose works are listed in Appendix III of this translation testify to this. These men have addressed themselves to a range of topics in Althusian scholarship that reflects the wide scope of his thought. Included among such topics have been the constitutionalism of Althusius, the relation in his thought of philosophical norms to political processes, the contributions of Althusius to jurisprudence, his theory of associations, the Calvinist religious elements in his political theory, the role of the Spanish school of social philosophy at Salamanca in the development of his thought, and Althusius' employment of his own political teachings while serving as syndic of the city of Emden for thirty-four years.
It is a striking feature of Althusian studies, however, that until now there has not been a published translation of a substantial part of the Politics in any vernacular language. Wolf translated a few pages into German from the 1603 edition, and included them in a collection of juridical writings by various authors that he published in 1943. Friedrich circulated in mimeographed form ten pages of selections he put into English from the 1614 edition. And Father Stanley Parry translated, and at times paraphrased, major portions of the 1614 edition for a privately used English typescript in connection with his doctoral studies on Althusius at Yale University. But so far as I am aware, this abridged translation represents the first published attempt in a modern language to present in Althusius' own words the entire basic structure of his political thought, as well as the chief arguments by which he compared and contrasted his own position with that of his contemporaries. The reason why such a translation has not been attempted before may well be because of some unusual problems it presents to the translator. I shall discuss these problems, as well as the justification for abridging the original work, in the final section of this introduction.
It may be helpful in concluding this section to note briefly some of the most important facts of the life of this man whose thought is now acquiring new attention among scholars in a number of disciplines. Little is known of the early years of Althusius' life, except that he was born in Diedenshausen in Westphalia about 1557. He appeared in 1581 at Cologne, where he apparently studied the writings of Aristotle. It was at Basle, however, that he received his doctorate in both civil and ecclesiastical law in 1586, with a thesis on the subject of intestate inheritance. Surprisingly, he published De artejurisprudentiae Romanae, his first book, during the same year. While at Basle he lived for a time in the home of Johann Grynaeus, with whom he studied theology and thereafter maintained a life-long correspondence. Sometime prior to obtaining his doctorate, Althusius also studied at Geneva with Denis Godefroy, the renowned textual scholar of Roman Law.
Upon receiving his doctorate, he was called to the Reformed Academy at Herborn as a member of the faculty of law. Herborn Academy, which had been founded only two years earlier (1584) by Count John of Nassau, had become immediately successful and had attracted an international student body. Its first rector was Kasper Olevianus, the co-author with Zachary Ursinus of the Heidelberg Catechism. Althusius, in addition to his professorship in law, became councillor to the count in 1595 and, after some months of theological study at Heidelberg, was made rector of the Academy in 1597. His volume on ethics entitled De civile conversatione was published in 1601. But the greatest achievement of his Herborn years was the publication in 1603 of the Politics, a work that received immediate and wide attention.
The Politics seems to have been instrumental in securing for Althusius a most attractive offer to become Syndic of Emden in East Friesland. This city had been one of the first in Germany (1526) to embrace the Reformed faith. Ever since John Laski had been invited to Emden in 1542 by Countess Anna to reorganize its religious life, it had become a veritable 'Geneva of the North'. Its strategic location on the frontiers of both the German Empire and the Netherlands gave it freedom of movement vis-?-vis its Lutheran provincial lord and its Catholic emperor. At the same time, its strong Calvinist spirit enabled it to exercise an exceptional influence in key areas of the Netherlands and Germany. Indeed, Emden was often called the 'alma mater' of the Dutch Reformed Church, for it was from Emden that some of the early Dutch ministers came, and at Emden that many exiles from the Duke of Alva's persecution later found refuge. Moreover, at the Synod of Emden in 1571 the Reformed churches of East Friesland and the Lower Rhine joined with the Dutch churches to form a union of the largest part of Northern Calvinism. Furthermore, Emden was a leading seaport, in close communication with England, and it served as a haven for a number of English divines during the Catholic reaction under Mary Tudor.
Recently, however, Emden had encountered increasingly serious conflicts with its provincial lord, as well as with various larger and more powerful units of the German Empire and Spanish Kingdom. The City Council was consequently seeking an exceptionally able leader to guide its negotiations and destiny. Johann Alting, a son of Emden's distinguished clergyman Menso Alting and one of a number of students from Emden studying law under Althusius at Herborn, apparently sent copies of the Politics home as soon as it was published. The favourable reception by Emdanians of the ideas on government expressed in this volume, coupled with Althusius' growing juristic reputation, led the City Council to invite him to become the Syndic of Emden.
He accepted the offer in 1604, and guided the political destinies of this city without interruption until his death in 1638. During the years of his service in Emden, he published two new and enlarged editions of the Politics (1610 and 1614), and also wrote the Dicaelogicae (1618), an immense work that seeks to construct a single comprehensive juridical system out of Biblical law, Roman law, and various customary laws. In 1617 Althusius was elected elder of the church of Emden, a position he continued to hold until his death twenty-one years later. There is a sense in which his two functions of syndic and elder, coupled with capacities for leadership and hard work, enabled him to coordinate the civil and ecclesiastical jurisdictions of the city, and thus to exercise somewhat the same kind of influence in Emden as Calvin did in Geneva. His correspondence contains frequent condemnations of Arminian theological opinions, and in one letter he especially criticized the Pietas of Hugo Grotius on the basis that it would undermine the independent right and liberty of the church by transferring ecclesiastical functions to civil government.
The Basic Structure of His Thought
Althusius consciously organized his Politics according to Ramist logic. This is the explanation for the words 'methodically set forth' in the title, and for the references occasionally found throughout the text to 'the law of method' and 'the precepts of logicians'. Peter Ramus, a celebrated and highly controversial French logician of the sixteenth century, made use of the two traditional topics of logic: invention and disposition (or judgment). What was largely new with Ramus, however, was the manner in which he employed these two topics. Where invention had previously been understood as the processes for combining predicates with subjects in debatable propositions, under the influence of Ramism it also came to denote the processes for determining what material belongs to subjects as scholarly disciplines. And where disposition had previously referred to methods of arranging propositions into syllogisms or inductions, and these into discourses, with Ramism it also came to refer to the methods of organizing material appropriate to any given discipline. The change that has occurred is one in which logic is used to clarify not only what may be said for or against propositions and combinations of propositions, but also how a field of study may be 'logically' organized. An assumption inherent in Ramism is that proper organization of materials is valuable not only for teaching and learning purposes, but also for the discovery and clarification of knowledge.
Ramus' interpretation of invention made use of three laws he adapted from Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. (1) The law of justice (lex justitiae) indicates that each art or science has its own purpose, that this purpose serves as a principle for determining what is proper to a given art (suum cuique), and that everything not proper to it is to be rigorously excluded. Althusius' employment of the Ramist law of justice is introduced initially in the Preface to the first edition, where he says that 'it is necessary to keep constantly in view the natural and true goal and form of each art, and to attend most carefully to them, that we not exceed the limits justice lays down for each art and thereby reap another's harvest'. The purpose of political science, according to Althusius, is the maintenance of social life among men. He therefore proposes to remove certain legal, theological, and ethical material from it by which others in his judgment had confused and compromised its proper operation. He acknowledges, however, that two disciplines may have partly overlapping subject matter, as theology and political science share the Decalogue, and law and political science jointly embrace the doctrine of sovereignty. But he insists that each discipline must limit itself to that aspect of the common material that is essential to its own purpose, and to reject what is not. (2) The Ramist law of truth (lex veritatis) indicates that an art or science consists of universal and necessary propositions or precepts, and that those that are true only in certain places and times should be sifted out. For Althusius the problem was what to do with such politically relevant, but nevertheless contingent, matters as the varying character and customs of rulers and peoples. 'Who can propose general precepts,' he asks, 'that are necessarily and mutually true about matters so various and unequivalent? The statesman, however, should be well acquainted with these matters.' His solution is to retain some of these matters in his Politics for expedient reasons, but with advance warning to his readers concerning their quasi-scientific nature. They are especially to be found in the chapters on 'Political Prudence in the Administration of the Commonwealth'. (3) Ramus' law of wisdom (lex sapientiae) indicates that a proposition should be placed with the nearest class of things to which it belongs rather than with matters on a higher or lower level of generality. Although Althusius nowhere explicitly discusses this law, it is evident that he consistently employs it. For example, there are no propositions referring chiefly and generically to the city to be found in his opening discussion of politics in general. They are too restrictive for this level because politics also includes other associations in addition to the city. Nor are they to be located in his discussion of the rural village. They are too extensive for this level because other kinds of local community also qualify as cities. Rather all such propositions will be found in his discussion of the non-universal public association that is composed of families and collegia. They belong precisely to this level, as they do to no other. Althusius' use of the Ramist law of wisdom gives to the Politics a highly architectonic quality, even though the effect sometimes impresses the reader as somewhat superficial.
The most distinctive feature of the Ramist interpretation of disposition is its emphasis upon method. And this Althusius clearly appropriates. Ramus had written that those who think wisely and methodically 'descend from the most general idea to the various divisions thereof, and thence to the particular cases it comprehends'. (Dialectique, 1555, p. 4.) Althusius opens the Politics with a general proposition that indicates the fundamental insight regarding the nature of political science that will be pursued throughout this inquiry, and suggests by implication the limits that will be observed. He then proceeds by dividing and repeatedly subdividing the subject matter, each subdivision in turn opening with a sub-proposition relating to the general proposition and defining the appropriate material therein. He pursues this method with a tiresome regularity throughout the entire volume until the full implications of the opening proposition have been diligently sought out in their application to all forms and activities of political association.
'Politics is the art of associating men for the purpose of establishing, cultivating, and conserving social life among them. Whence it is called "symbiotics".' This is the general proposition for the entire volume. It stands at the beginning of Chapter I, and guides and controls everything that follows. By referring to politics as symbiotics (or the art of living together), and to social life as symbiosis (or living together), Althusius means to include all human associations in his study. These he divides into simple and private associations (family and collegium), and mixed and public associations (city, province, and commonwealth). The latter are discussed in both civil and ecclesiastical aspects because provision for both body and soul are deemed essential to public social life. Although the concentration of this volume is upon the commonwealth, Althusius clearly believes that these other associations are the parts out of which, indirectly and directly, the commonwealth is composed, and that they furthermore share common problems of political organization with the commonwealth. Indeed, by first setting forth the principles by which these problems are to be met in the smaller associations, Althusius anticipates the major features of his discussion of the commonwealth except for the addition of the attribute of sovereignty, which is proper to the commonwealth alone.
Symbiotic association involves something more than mere existence together. It indicates a quality of group life characterized by piety and justice without which, Althusius believes, neither man nor society can endure. He repeatedly asserts that piety is required by the first table of the Decalogue and justice by the second, and that the two together are furthermore validated in the experience of men everywhere. Thus both divine revelation and natural reason are called upon in political science to clarify the true nature of symbiotic association.
Wherever there is symbiosis there is also communication, or the sharing of things, services, and right. (The Latin word jus employed in this connection means both right and law.) Although politics is properly involved in each of these three forms of communication, it has one basic concern with them, namely, the effective ordering of all communication. Therefore, politics is not interested in the goods of the tradesman or the skills of the craftsman, except inasmuch as these goods and skills must be socially regulated for the benefit both of the individual and of the association. Thus politics may be distinguished from economics. The communication of right (jus), however, is proper to politics in an even more basic manner. For by this kind of communication each association is given its political structure, and achieves that form of self-sufficiency appropriate to it. The right that is communicated is in part common to all associations, in part special to each type of association, and in part particular to each individual association.
Communication requires imperium, or strong rule, to be effective. Althusius has no interest at all in theories about the rights of men. What does interest him is the extent to which any association fulfills the purposes for which it exists. In this sense, an association has a holy vocation even as a person does. Consequently, Althusius is opposed to tyrannical rule not because it is undemocratic, but because it becomes ineffective in supporting the ends for which men enter and remain in association with each other. He is opposed, for the same reason, to weak and vacillating rule. His interest in constitutional limitations upon the abuse of power arises from his concern that power be truly and lawfully strong. It is therefore characteristic of his thought that he advocates institutionalized restraints upon rulers in order to maintain effective symbiosis. Such restraints are intended to conserve lawful rule in an association, and when necessary to correct or remove an erring ruler, but not to weaken the exercise of rule itself.
Men enter and remain in association with each other because outside of the mutual communication of things, services, and right they cannot live comfortably and well; indeed, they cannot live at all. Necessity therefore induces association. But the existence of each individual association, as well as the special form it takes, also depends upon the continuing consent of the symbiotes, or members. Althusius is thus led to say that an association is initiated and maintained by a covenant among the symbiotes setting forth their common agreement about the necessary and useful purposes to be served by the association, and the means appropriate to fulfill these purposes. If there is no explicit covenant, then an implicit one is assumed in the continuing consent of those who live together. Symbiotic association thus requires a balance between social necessity and social volition.
When Althusius distinguishes the two types of private association as the natural and the civil, he is setting forth the two poles in this balance. The family, as the natural private association, is considered to be a permanent union of the members 'with the same boundaries as life itself. The collegium, as the civil private association, is a more voluntary society 'that need not last as long as the lifetime of man', even though 'a certain necessity can be said to have brought it into existence'. Even within each of these two associations there is some balance between necessity and volition. For the family, however natural, is based upon a tacit or expressed agreement among its members as to the manner of its communication of things, services, and right. The continued existence of the family tends to confirm this agreement. On the other hand, the collegium is not completely voluntary. It arises from a natural need, and presumably is not to be disbanded unless alternative means are available to meet this need. This integral relationship between necessity and volition that first finds expression in private associations carries over into public associations, and becomes one of the distinctive characteristics of the entire associational theory of Althusius.
Althusius divides the family into two kinds conjugal and kinship and discusses the nature of communication and imperium in each. Although the husband is clearly the ruler of the conjugal family, and the paterfamilias the ruler of the kinship family, Althusius is careful to set forth the conjugal obligations that the husband owes his wife, as well as those the wife owes her husband, and the kinship obligations that both husband and wife as paterfamilias and materfamilias owe their children and domestics.
The collegium (guild or corporation) is an association in which 'three or more men of the same trade, training, or profession are united for the purpose of holding in common such things they jointly profess as duty, way of life, or craft'. It is most often an association organized around occupational interests. If it is composed of magistrates and judges, or of persons engaged in agricultural, industrial, or commercial pursuits, it is called a secular collegium. If it is composed of clergymen, philosophers, or teachers, it is called an ecclesiastical collegium. These two kinds of collegium are parallel to the two forms of administration secular and ecclesiastical that are to be found in the province and commonwealth. The manner of rule in the collegium follows the general principles that Althusius has set forth for all social authority, except that in the collegium participation by individual colleagues, or members, can be direct rather than, as in public associations, indirect. There is a leader elected by the colleagues to administer the affairs of the collegium. 'He exercises coercive power over the colleagues individually, but not over the group itself.' For he is bound by the purposes for which the collegium exists, and by the laws defined through its corporate processes.
The public association is derivative from the private association in that families and collegia, not individual persons, are directly constitutive of the city, and indirectly or directly of the province and commonwealth. For without the private association 'others would be able neither to arise nor to endure'. Furthermore, the public association has jurisdiction over a prescribed territory, which the private association does not. The same general principles of communication and rule, however, apply equally to both private and public associations. Thus Althusius departs from a distinction common in medieval Roman law between public and private. According to this distinction, 'private' pertains largely to contractual relations among individuals, or to the internal procedures of groups whether collegia or cities that operate by concession but not direct domination of public authority. 'Public', on the other hand, refers to administrative agencies and divisions of the empire or, more realistically, of commonwealth. Althusius affirms, to the contrary, that the foundation of all associations, whether private or public, is symbiotic life. By appealing to symbiosis in this manner, he denies that private and public associations should have essentially different sources of legitimacy and modes of operation from each other. He also seeks by the same stroke to release politics from the hegemony of juridical conceptions of association. Nevertheless, the derivative and territorial characteristics of the public association still remain to distinguish it from the private.
Continuing the Ramist method of dichotomizing, Althusius divides the public association into particular and universal. The particular, in turn, is divided into the city and the province, and the universal is identified as the commonwealth (respublica), or realm (regnum). The particular association does not possess sovereignty, while the universal does. It should be noted, however, that the city of Venice, because it possesses sovereignty, has the status of a commonwealth. Furthermore, while a city is composed of families and collegia, the province is formed of various kinds of local community ranging from the rural hamlet to the metropolis, and the commonwealth is constituted of provinces and such cities as have the rights and responsibilities of provinces in the assemblies of the realm.
The city, unlike the private association, does not provide the opportunity for direct participation of individuals as such in the processes of rule. Here an organized community arises out of smaller associations and finds expression in a senate. At the same time, there is a ruler who exercises authority over individuals and particular associations, but not over the organized community itself. Althusius carefully spells out the relations that ought to prevail between ruler and senate in order that symbiotic needs on the municipal level can be provided for effectively. In brief, the ruler is the chief executive, and presides over the communication of things, services, and right. The senate, on the other hand, determines and defends the fundamental laws of the city, even to the extent if necessary of correcting or removing a ruler who misuses his authority to the detriment of this symbiotic association.
Althusius' discussion of the province contains one of the few basic inconsistencies in the elaboration of his political system. For the ruler of the province is responsible not to the organized community over which he presides, as is the case in all other associations, but to the supreme magistrate of the commonwealth. He is a prince, duke, count, or other noble who receives his office, whether through heredity or appointment, as a function of the commonwealth, and cannot be removed from this office except in rare instances, and then only by the commonwealth. Thus the symbiotic foundations of rule generally characteristic of Althusius' thought are partly compromised on the provincial level, possibly as a concession by him to the actual practices that prevailed in his time in his native Germany and in most neighbouring nations. But, if so, he did not concede very much. For it will be remembered that Althusius is not as interested in the precise arrangements for designating a ruler as he is in the effectiveness of the ruler's administration in conserving and enhancing the communication of things, services, and right. Althusius could accommodate himself without undue difficulty to the notion that a ruler might be designated and maintained in office from outside the provincial community, provided he rules the province well. This is to say that if a province actually meets the purposes for which it exists if it fulfills its high calling Althusius can wink at procedural irregularities, even though he may prefer that they do not prevail.
Furthermore, the provincial orders, which collectively compose the organized community of the province, constitute a restraining influence on the misuse of executive power. These orders are both ecclesiastical and secular, and provide for the observance of both tables of the Decalogue in political life. The reason for this is that both revelation and practical experience demonstrate that symbiotic association cannot long endure without public provision for the souls as well as the bodies of men. The ecclesiastical order, which is especially concerned with the cultivation of piety, is conceived by Althusius essentially according to contemporary Calvinist practice. The secular order, which addresses itself primarily to the maintenance of justice, is preferably composed of three estates, namely, the nobility, the burghers, and the agrarians. Sometimes, however, the last two are combined in one estate known as the commons. It is to be noted that these orders and estates are essentially the occupational collegia organized on a provincial level. Representatives of these estates, and in some realms of the ecclesiastical order as well, will meet in convocation where they perform much the same function in the province that the senate does in the city. Their consent is required by the ruler in all major matters confronting the province, such as decisions on war, peace, taxes, and new laws.
The commonwealth, as previously noted, differs from the city and province in that it alone possesses sovereignty. This is to say, only the commonwealth recognizes no human person or association as superior to itself. But where in the commonwealth does this sovereignty reside? Jean Bodin, to whom Althusius was highly indebted for so many of the characteristics of his political system, attributed it to the ruler. Althusius disagrees. His position, which follows consistently upon the principles he has already elaborated in smaller associations, is that sovereignty is the symbiotic life of the commonwealth taking form in the jus regni, or in the fundamental right or law of the realm. Since the commonwealth is composed not of individual persons but of cities and provinces, it is to them when joined together in communicating things, services, and right that sovereignty belongs. Therefore, it resides in the organized body of the commonwealth, which is to say in the symbiotic processes thereof. This organized body is also known to Althusius as the people.
The communication, or communion, that occurs in the commonwealth is, of course, both ecclesiastical and secular. Ecclesiastical communication has to do with the public expression of true religion, with the provision for public schools in which both religion and the liberal arts are taught and handed down to posterity, and with the defence of church and state from religious corruption. In this last matter, however, Althusius pleads for moderation, provided that the essential articles of faith are preserved. He observes that Christ suffered disciples who erred and were weak, and that 'no mode of thought has ever come forth as so perfect that the judgment of all learned men would subscribe to it'. Secular communication aims at rendering to each his due, which requires public provision for commerce, a monetary system, a common language, the performance of duties on behalf of the realm, the granting of special privileges and titles, the defence of the realm and its goods, and the holding of general councils to make decisions on major matters confronting the commonwealth.
The administrators of the commonwealth, who are the overseers of this communication, are of two kinds: the ephors and the supreme magistrate. The ephors do not ordinarily rule over the commonwealth itself, as does the supreme magistrate, but are held in reserve for emergency situations. They bear the fundamental right and power of the people in these situations. There are five duties expected of them, which they perform as a group rather than as individuals. They constitute, or establish, a supreme magistrate when a vacancy arises in the highest office of the realm. They restrain him within the limits of his office. They remove him if he becomes tyrannical. They defend him from detractors when he is performing his office properly. And they serve as a trustee for the realm in time of interregnum. Fundamental to this doctrine of the ephors is Althusius' judgment that 'great power cannot contain itself within boundaries without some coercion and constraint entrusted to others'.
The model that Althusius employs most frequently in his advocacy of ephors is the seven electors of Germany. He also manages to find somewhat comparable officials in other nations. They are usually distinguished rulers of provinces who possess at the same time this general function in the commonwealth. What happens when there are no properly designated ephors to act in the name of the people? Althusius would respond that symbiotic association so greatly requires persons to perform these duties when the need arises in the realm that each body politic should provide them by some process appropriate to its own traditions. We may assume that such persons will be leading citizens of the commonwealth, each with his roots deep in some corporate part thereof.
The constituting of the supreme magistrate involves first his election and then, if he agrees to the provisions of the election, his inauguration. The election occurs according to the established practice of the land, and may in some instances be little more than the confirmation of an heir determined by customary arrangement. At the inauguration there is a double oath in which the ruler-designate first promises to uphold the fundamental laws of the realm, as well as any special conditions established at the time of his election, and the people through its ephors then promises obedience to the magistrate so long as he rules according to the prescribed laws and conditions.
The actual administration of the commonwealth by the supreme magistrate should be guided, according to Althusius, by political prudence. This part of Althusian political doctrine involves knowledge both of law and of the changing and contingent circumstances to which law is to be applied. The discussion of law at this point is an extended treatment of the relation of the Decalogue to natural law, and of the role of these two together as common law in the formulation of proper law for particular societies. It is important to note that Althusius, a man who was much travelled and well received in orthodox Calvinist circles, maintained a rather warm appreciation for man's natural knowledge of his duty to both God and neighbour. The discussion that follows of such contingent factors in political life as the character and customs of rulers and peoples gives Althusius considerable methodological difficulty, largely because he is of the opinion, as I mentioned earlier, that this material does not lend itself to general precepts that can properly claim the name of science. Perhaps this is the reason why this discussion impresses the reader as the weakest and least convincing in the entire volume.
On the other hand some of the most striking features in the volume are found in the chapters on ecclesiastical and secular administration. Here Althusius amplifies the basic structure of his thought that has already taken shape. The analysis of ecclesiastical administration contains the arguments for a religious covenant between the commonwealth and God that Althusius adapts from Junius Brutus. It discusses the respective roles of the supreme magistrate and the clergy in the conduct of the church. And it suggests limits arising both from the nature of faith and from the requirements of symbiosis beyond which the effort to compel observance even of the true religion ought not to go. Of especial interest in the chapters on secular administration is Althusius' discussion of the importance of general councils, or parliaments, to the welfare of the realm, and of the procedures appropriate for calling the orders and estates into council and for conducting the business of the realm therein. The difference in function should be noted between these councils and the body of ephors, even though some overlapping of personnel could ordinarily be expected.
Tyranny, which is the opposite of just and upright administration, must be realistically assessed and its remedies identified if the systematic character of Althusius' political doctrine is to be maintained to the end. He proceeds to this task by acknowledging the distinction, widely employed since Bartolus, between a tyrant by practice (tyrannus exercitio) and a tyrant without title (tyrannus absque titulo). But he claims that only the former is a true tyrant because the latter, who never rightfully received the office of the supreme magistrate, is only a usurper. The tyrant without title, therefore, deserves none of the respect usually attributed to political superiors, and as a private person who is an enemy of the people may be resisted and even killed by private citizens. But a tyrant who becomes such after having gained legitimate title to the supreme office can only be resisted by public authorities to whom this responsibility has been entrusted, namely, by the ephors. The means, timing, and other relevant matters for effecting a remedy for such tyranny are thereupon discussed by Althusius. It is altogether characteristic of his basically conservative thought that he recommends caution against coming too quickly to the conclusion that a supreme magistrate who fails or errs in some part of his office is necessarily a tyrant, and insists that a public acknowledgment should be made by a properly constituted body before anyone takes action, except in self-defence, against him.
The final chapter presents the thesis that the best polity is one 'that combines qualities of kingship, aristocracy, and democracy'. Although the customary distinction between these three types of polity has some validity in that it identifies the most characteristic element in any given case, it is more important, he believes, to focus attention on the processes most likely to achieve both effective rule in the commonwealth and restraint upon the misuse of rule. Thus the controlling principle of these processes remains in the final chapter, as it was in the first, the enhancement of symbiotic association, without which men cannot live comfortably and well.
His Major Literary Sources
Mention has already been made of the very wide scope of Althusius' erudition. He drew upon an extraordinary number of books from many fields in the composition of his Politics, over 150 of which are referred to in this abridged translation. (See Appendix II.) It may be helpful at this point to identify briefly the major categories of writers the reader will encounter in making his way through the Politics, as well as to suggest the manner in which Althusius employs some of the writers most important to him.
The first category pertains to those writers who devote considerable attention to the observation of political processes and possibilities in the light of a few general considerations. Aristotle, of course, comes immediately to mind in this regard. Althusius adopts Aristotle's understanding of politics as a practical art or science that is addressed to the problem of ascertaining how the good for man can be achieved in community. The empirically oriented approach Althusius follows in the Politics makes this indebtedness clear, and it is also to be noted that he, like Aristotle, begins with an analysis of the family and moves onward to the commonwealth. The Calvinism of Althusius, however, causes him to differ somewhat from Aristotle on the nature of the good for man, as well as on the degree of man's corruption and the extent to which political institutions may consequently have to make provision for this factor. Another writer in this category is Jean Bodin, the sixteenth-century political, legal, and historical theorist. Of interest to Althusius was Bodin's procedure of surveying history, as well as contemporary experience, for insight into the nature and processes of political community. Even more important, however, was Bodin's doctrine of sovereignty that Althusius took over and systematically developed in the Politics, but with the difference already noted concerning the place where it properly resides in the commonwealth. The most frequently cited writer in the Politics is Peter Gregory, a professor of law at the Jesuit school at Pont-?-Mousson. Althusius was indebted to Gregory for a myriad of observations about the nature of social organization in just about every area except the ecclesiastical.
The second category includes those writers both Catholic and Calvinist who had an interest in constitutional government, and in the ideological and institutional foundations capable of supporting it. The three main Catholic authors in this group were all Spanish, namely, Fernando Vasquez (an ecclesiastical writer on natural law), Diego Covarruvias (a canonist and bishop whose style of legal writings caused him to be sometimes known as 'the Spanish Bartolus'), and Juan Mariana (a theologian and accomplished humanist who unintentionally got his Jesuit order into serious trouble by the inclusion of a chapter on tyrannicide in his major political text). Equally important to Althusius' constitutionalism were certain Calvinists. The chief ones were the author of the anonymous Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants (which was perhaps the best written and most widely read of the political tracts that came out of the French Wars of Religion), George Buchanan (a Scot and one of the great humanists of the sixteenth century), and Lambert Daneau (a French Calvinist pastor, theological professor, and political writer). Althusius may be considered the culminating theorist of this group, for he provided their ideas on limiting the power of a ruler with a politically systematic basis they had previously lacked. He did this, of course, by making symbiotic association and its needs the foundation of political doctrine, and by showing what kind of constitutional considerations can be understood to arise therefrom.
A third group upon whom Althusius draws is characterized by a common interest in political prudence, or in what at times finds expression under the topic of practical politics. I have reference here principally to Giovanni Botero (the Italian publicist who made famous the concept 'reason of state'), Justus Lipsius (a philologist and professor of history at Leyden and Louvain), Innocent Gentillet (whose Against Nicholas Machiavell was written to combat the Medici, or Italian, influence in the French royal court), and Scipio Ammirato (an Italian courtier). The teachings of these authors are frequently reproduced in the section on political prudence, which is not a very satisfactory treatment by Althusius of contingent factors in politics. Botero and Lipsius, however, are also employed by Althusius in other chapters of the volume in keeping with the approach of the first category of writers mentioned above. It is interesting to note that Althusius' occasional references to Niccolo Machiavelli are not to be found in the section on political prudence, as we might expect, but in discussions of the general principles of administration and of the defence of the commonwealth against tyrants. Furthermore, the work of Machiavelli most frequently mentioned by Althusius is not The Prince, but the Discourses.
The fourth category is that of legal writers. Among the civilians most in evidence are Bartolus (fourteenth century), Paul Castro (fifteenth century), and Andreas Gaii (sixteenth century). The Corpus juris civilis plays a major role in the Politics, not so much as a book of law from which one might deduce political arguments but, together with its better known commentaries, as a seedbed of ideas and concepts that can be built integrally into a political system or used analogically to indicate and illustrate essentially political principles. The Digest and the commentators thereupon are most frequently called forth by Althusius for these purposes, but numerous references may also be found to the Code, Institutes, and Novels. On the other hand, the Corpus juris canonici is not directly cited in the Politics, although there are important references to a number of canonists, especially to Nicholaus Tudeschi (fifteenth century) and Diego Covarruvias (sixteenth century). In addition, various customary systems of law are mentioned from time to time, often to provide illustrations for Althusius' teaching on the fundamental laws of the realm. In this connection Henry Rosenthal and Peter Heige of contemporary Germany, and Francis Hotman and Charles DuMoulin of contemporary France, are perhaps the most important. Finally, there is the Italian Nicolaus Losaeus, upon whose De jure universitatum Althusius draws heavily in the third edition of the Politics to describe the internal processes of government appropriate to both collegium and city.
The Calvinist theological writers constitute a fifth category. They serve a number of functions. The Biblical commentaries of Peter Martyr, Francis Junius, and John Piscator are called upon to give meaning to the concepts of piety and justice as interpretative of true symbiosis, and to describe the ancient Jewish polity that Althusius considers to have been the most wisely and perfectly constructed one since the beginning of time. The churchly writings of John Calvin, Jerome Zanchius, Benedict Aretius, and Zachary Ursinus are the major sources for Althusius' exposition of the ecclesiastical order in both the province and the commonwealth. Zanchius' extensive discussion of law in his De redemptione contributes more than anything else to Althusius' understanding of the relation of the Decalogue to natural law, and of both to the proper laws of various nations. Then there are special topics on which Althusius finds his theological colleagues to be helpful, such as Peter Martyr's discussion of war.
The sixth category is composed of historians and their writings, especially Carl Sigon on ancient Israel and Rome, Emmanuel Meteren on the Netherlands, Jean Sleiden on Germany, Francis Hotman (who was also a legal historian) on France, and Theodore Zwinger on universal history. Their significance to the Politics arises especially from the materials they provided for one of the most debatable aspects of Althusius' doctrine, namely, whenever and wherever societies live well they do so by essentially the same political principles, even though identification of these principles may vary and local adaptions of them may occur in practice.
Classical writers are a seventh category. Two of them he employed, I think, in a rather fundamental way in his system. I have already spoken of his use of Aristotle. The other is Cicero, from whom he learned much about the nature of social life and the vocabulary of politics. (Would that Althusius had also permitted his often dull and sometimes barbarous Latin style to be influenced by Cicero!) On the other hand he often uses classical writers, especially Augustine and Seneca, for quotations that may fit his own point but are taken out of context from the original work. And his frequent references to Augustine nowhere reveal that he actually had very little sympathy with Augustine's conception of the state. It is also worth noting that while he occasionally calls upon Plato to support his thesis that harmony is an imperative in social life, he also compares him with Thomas More and criticizes both for the unrealism of their Utopian views of society.
The eighth category of writers that plays a major role in the Politics is Althusius' select list of opponents in political theory. Included therein is the Catholic layman William Barclay, whose defence of a high monarchical view got him into such trouble with Rome that none less than Bellarmine was required to respond in written disputation to him, and furthermore led him to coin the misleading word 'monarchomach' to describe such persons as George Buchanan, Jean Boucher, and the anonymous author of the Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants. In addition, there was Jean Bodin himself, and Henning Arnisaeus, the latter a physician who wrote in support of Bodin's argument that sovereignty resides in the ruler. Both of these men were correctly seen by Althusius as setting forth positions that his own system would have to be able to answer. The same must also be said for one of the works of Albert Gentili, the Italian Protestant professor of civil law at Oxford. Some of the most lively parts of the Politics occur when Althusius enters the lists against these writers.
It may be of some use to the reader to add another category of a different kind, namely, one composed of writers that Althusius for one reason or another tended to overlook. For example, medieval publicists, as distinguished from legists both civil and canon, find little place in the expression of his political doctrine. There is an occasional mention of Thomas Aquinas' On Princely Government and Marsilius of Padua's Defender of the Peace, but none of John of Salisbury, Giles of Rome, John of Paris, Augustinus Triumphus, Dante Alighieri, or William of Occam. The one major exception is the German Lupold of Bebenberg, who recurs with some frequency throughout the volume. Another generally disregarded group is English writers, in this instance even extending to legal authors. It is true that Sir Thomas Smith's study of English government is mentioned occasionally, that Sir Thomas More appears on the pages of the Politics a couple of times only to be rebuffed for his utopianism, and that the Puritan theologians William Perkins and William Whitaker are included (but not in this abridgement). This is not, however, an adequate sampling of English thought within Althusius' range of interests. The lawyers Henry Bracton and Sir John Fortescue could have spoken quite relevantly and sympathetically to Althusius on a number of points. So could have the theologians John Wyclif and Richard Hooker, although the former for largely differing reasons from the latter. Finally, one must call attention to the fact that prominent Lutherans and Arminians are scarce in the Politics. Althusius' opposition to their religious views may have been the reason. But, if so, how does one explain his extensive and generally appreciative use of a number of Catholic writers? Perhaps the answer is better to be attributed to the absence of much interest in systematic political theory in those religious circles prior to 1614. There is some evidence that during this period serious political writing among continental Protestants was largely the work of orthodox and near orthodox Calvinists.
I should observe in closing this section that further material on the relation of Althusius to some of these writers is to be found in the introduction that Friedrich provided in his 1932 republication of the Politics in its original language.
Some Notes on This Translation
The original Latin text presents a number of problems to the translator. Perhaps the most imposing of them is that a large accumulation of references to other books, of identified and unidentified quotations from them, and even of lengthy condensations of borrowed material has been superimposed upon an otherwise well-ordered and clear general structure. This has been done by inserting everything into the text itself without the use of any footnotes and in a manner that gives the impression of great clutter. The result is a volume of a thousand octavo pages resembling nothing that the reader is likely to encounter in today's literary world unless it be the revival of one of the thousands of legal, historical, or theological texts of the late medieval and early modern period that share this common barbarity. Were it not that Althusius' volume, like some of these others, has some very important things to say and, unlike most of them, is essentially systematic in doing so, we would probably be wise to let it rest in peace. Even so, the volume is too long and too cluttered to translate and publish in its entirety today. An abridgement is therefore appropriate. And it is fortunate that the Politics lends itself readily to this solution.
I have attempted in this translation to retain in Althusius' own words the complete basic structure of his political thought as it finds expression in the Politics, and furthermore to include the chief arguments by which he clarified his position in relation to those of his contemporaries. The omitted material, except for mere references to other writers, is indicated by elision marks, and Appendix I presents a complete collation of the translated material with the chapters and numbers of the 1614 edition for those who may want to check certain points further.
The elimination of all reference material from this translation would have been very unwise because it contains sources that are important for understanding Althusius' thought. Furthermore, he at times permitted his own argument to be carried by means of it. Consequently, I have retained references when they either are important to the basic structure of his thought and to his chief arguments with contemporaries, or enable me to fulfill the duty of a responsible translator to present a reasonably accurate reflection of the general types of sources upon which an author draws. When references have been retained, however, they have been reduced as far as possible to footnotes. I have also brought paragraph divisions more into keeping with present usage, indicated major transitions in his thought by the device of leaving blank lines, and in several instances grouped chapters together under an appropriate title. These revisions have been made in the interest of readability. In all instances, however, Althusius' precise order has been followed.
Another problem is that of style. Althusius wrote in a pedantic manner with little grace and much redundancy. Indeed, one of the ways of detecting unacknowledged quotations (still a common practice in his day) is to pay careful attention to occasional improvements in his style. Not all borrowings can be detected in this way, however, because some of his most frequently used sources, especially legal ones, were equally insensitive in such matters. One of Althusius' difficulties is his tendency to employ far more nouns, adjectives, or verbs in sequence than most men find necessary in similar circumstances to convey their thoughts. I have decided to retain these redundancies for several reasons, but chiefly because often each word in the sequence bears a slightly different meaning from the others, and a translator should avoid condensation, however tempting, as a means of achieving stylistic improvement. Again, Althusius frequently joins clauses that are not of parallel construction, and amalgamates a number of them into a confusing sentence that, if diagrammed, would look like a crab-apple tree. In these instances I have usually broken up the sentences, and changed infinitives to gerunds and gerunds to infinitives to achieve somewhat parallel construction. Still again, I must call attention to his transitions. Some are false and some are missing. But mostly they so abundantly flourish that they are often meaningless.
The next problem confronting the translator is that of rendering key words. In the Latin original of the Politics there are combinations of words whose relation to each other is implied in Althusius' thought. I have decided in most instances to render them in such a manner as to retain for the English reader the opportunity of seeing these words in their relationships. For example, 'communicatio' would ordinarily be translated as 'sharing'. But if this were done in the Politics its relation with 'communio' would not be evident. Likewise, if 'collega' is rendered as 'member' and 'collegium' as 'corporation', would the reader be likely to see the inherent relation between them? Although the result of such a conservative approach to translation as I have employed may produce moments for the reader when, upon first turning to the Politics in English, he feels a slight discomfort with some words he encounters, it is nevertheless hoped that he finally will be aided in his capacity to understand some of the unexplained but fundamental connections in Althusius' thought.
The final problem is one of determining the best means for presenting in this translation the various references Althusius makes to other writings. After considerable thought and experimentation I have decided upon the following procedures. First, quotations from the Bible are translated anew except in a very few instances when the Revised Standard Version is used (and so indicated by the letters R.S.V.). The purpose is to show as clearly as possible the connotations Althusius probably had in mind in using the quotations. For the most part Althusius read the Bible not only as a Calvinist but also as an Aristotelian, and the social connotations he finds in many passages are not often present in modern translations. It is to be noted that his biblical quotations are taken usually from the late sixteenth-century Latin translation by Emmanuel Tremellius and Francis Junius, but occasionally from the Vulgate. Second, quotations from the Corpus juris civilis are also newly translated. At the same time, I have changed the method of referring to material in the Corpus juris civilis from the old one employed by Althusius and all other scholars of his time to the one in general use today. Thus, for example, the citation 1. sicut. #si quid. quod cujusque univers. nom. is rendered as Digest III, 4, 7, 1. And 1. 2. #hoc etiam. C. de jurejur. propt. calum. is rendered as Code II, 58, 2, 5. Third, the Decretals of canon law, which are employed by Althusius only occasionally in citing passages from the canonists, are also referred to in this translation by the modern method of citation. Thus c. cum in cuntis. de his quae fiunt a maj. part. is listed simply as Decretals III, 11, 1. Fourth, all other references are identified in the footnotes by author, short title, and location of material within the work (when information about the location is available), and in Appendix II by author, fuller title, and publishing data (except for classical works, which according to customary practice are listed merely by author and title). Fifth, whenever an English translation of a work cited by Althusius has been known to me, I have listed it rather than the Latin title. The reason is simply one of convenience for the English reader. In Appendix II, however, I have placed the Latin title and (except for classical works) publishing data in parentheses after the English listing. Sixth, authors' names in most instances are changed from Latin into an appropriate vernacular. In making such changes, I have attempted to follow contemporary use in political, legal, and theological literature. Unfortunately, however, contemporary use is not always consistent. Nor does there seem to be any other unfailing guide. Therefore I must acknowledge a degree of arbitrariness in this endeavour. Seventh, the location of material within works by particular authors is abbreviated as follows. Aristotle's works are cited according to the Bekker notation in order to avoid the confusion inherent in their varying book and chapter arrangement in different editions. A very large group of works is divided first into books (or volumes, tomes, or parts), and then into chapters. For these works a Roman numeral is used to indicate the former, and an Arabic numeral to indicate the latter. Whence II, 3. If there is a further division of the chapter, then another Arabic numeral is used. Whence II, 3, 4. If the work is divided only into chapters, or only into chapters and divisions thereof, then Arabic numerals alone are used. Whence 3, or 3, 4. But if the divisions of a work do not lend themselves to this system of citation, then the following abbreviations are used: ann. (year), apos. (apotelesma or response), art. (article), cent. (a hundredth division), chap. (chapter), cons. (consilium or counsel), dec. (decision), dial. (dialogue), disc. (discourse), disp. (disputation), exer. (exercise), glos. (gloss), lib. (book), loc. (locus or place), num. (number), obs. (observation), p. (page), par. (paragraph), pt. (part), pref. (preface), quest. (question), rub. (rubric), sec. (section), thes. (thesis), theor. (theorem), tit. (title), ult. (the final chapter or other division), vol. (volume).
During the course of my labours on Althusius, which produced first a dissertation and now this translation, the following libraries have been indeed generous in the books and services they have made available: the University of Chicago Library, Bridwell and Fondren Libraries of Southern Methodist University, the Newberry Library of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania Library, the Princeton University Library, and above all the Harvard Law Library (where George A. Strait has been exceptionally helpful). My study of Althusius has been encouraged by many persons, but I especially want to express appreciation to James Luther Adams of the Harvard Divinity School, who originally stimulated me to make this study and even now continues to abet it; to Gerhardt E. O. Meyer of the University of Chicago, who critically assisted it along the way; to Father Stanley Parry of Notre Dame University, who, by making his unpublished translation of the Politics available to me at an earlier stage in my labours, kindly aided it; to Decherd H. Turner, Jr., of Southern Methodist University, who bibliographically nourishes it; and to Marna Jean Carney, who perceptively and graciously endures it.
Frederick S. Carney
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University