The Present State of Germany
De statu imperii Germanici
Автор(и) : Samuel Pufendorf
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2007
ISBN : 978-0-86597-492-0
Брой страници : 273
Език : английски
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Although The Present State of Germany was first made available in English over three centuries ago, it has been virtually unavailable in English since the period of the American Founding.
By 1696, Pufendorf was well known in England as a staunch defender of the Protestant cause and as one of the renovators of natural law. His writings were familiar to such luminaries as Locke and figured prominently in James Tyrell’sPatriarcha non Monarcha (1681).
The editor of this volume, Michael J. Seidler, describes this work of Pufendorf as “an account of German constitutional law detailing the historical relations between the Emperor and the Estates as well as an examination of the legitimating foundations of Imperial authority, a general analysis of the nature and requirements of political sovereignty, and a reconceptualization of the different forms of political order. . . . Its central distinction between so-called regular and irregular states, resting on the question of the locus of sovereignty, demotes the traditional political categories into mere administrative possibilities and thereby creates a more general problematic of freedom and authority with which we are still wrestling today. That is, it raises, at a very early stage in the contractarian tradition which we have inherited, the basic question of how effective political unity is compatible with competing values of diversity and individual liberty.
"Of the Strength and Diseases of the German Empire.
1. The Forces of any State may be considered as they are in themselves, or [as by reason of the elegant Structure of its Form or Constitution they may be used]. Forces considered in themselves, consist in Men and Things.
As to the first of these, Men, Germany has no reason to complain that it wants numbers of them, or they Wit or Ingenuity. There is so great a multitude of the principal Nobility, and they too are in such splendid circumstances, that there is scarcely the like to be found elsewhere in all the World. The Gentry or Inferiour Nobility are neither for want of Ground, or by their over-great number compell’d to condescend [descend] to the exercise of mean and sordid Arts (Trades). Perhaps yet there are more of them employed in Learning [letters] than is convenient, though [amongst the many Graduates there are not many eminent Scholars]. Of Merchants, Tradesmen, and Mechanicks there is a great plenty: But then in many places there is now <156> a want of Husbandmen, considering the largeness of the Country. This is owing partly to the Thirty years War, by which Germany was most miserably desolated; and partly because the Countrymen [rustics] are of that Temper, that as soon as they arrive at any considerable Estate, they put out their Children [sons] to Trades, as thinking those that live in the Cities much more happy than themselves."
Samuel von Pufendorf (1632-694) was a German jurist, political philosopher, economist, statesman, and historian. Born in Saxony in 1632, the son of a Lutheran clergyman, he studied at Leipzig and Jena and held the first modern professorship in natural law, at the University of Heidelberg. Pufendorf was successively professor of natural law at Lund in Sweden and Swedish historiographer royal. He ended his career as Prussian court historian and died in Berlin in 1694. In addition to fundamental works in Protestant natural law, much admired by Locke, Pufendorf contributed importantly to German constitutional theory and wrote major historical works.
Samuel Pufendorf was one of the most important figures in early-modern political thought. An exact contemporary of Locke and Spinoza, he transformed the natural law theories of Grotius and Hobbes, developed striking ideas of toleration and of the relationship between church and state, and wrote extensive political histories and analyses of the constitution of the German empire.