Front Page Titles (by Subject) VI - Politica
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VI - Johannes Althusius, Politica 
Politica. An Abridged Translation of Politics Methodically Set Forth and Illustrated with Sacred and Profane Examples, ed. and Trans. Frederick S. Carney. Foreword by Daniel J. Elazar (Indianapolis: 1995 Liberty Fund).
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§ 1A city may be either free, municipal, mixed, or metropolitan. § 2A free city is so called because it recognizes as its immediate superior the supreme magistrate,16 and is free from the rule of other princes, dukes, and counts. It is called an imperial city in the German polity, where it has been assessed contributions or special services for the realm because of the right of participation and suffrage it enjoys in the councils of the empire and its listing as a member of the empire. And no one doubts that these cities have the rights of princes within their boundaries.
§ 3The municipal or provincial city is one that is subject to a territorial lord. It recognizes a superior other than the supreme magistrate.
§ 4A mixed city is so called because it recognizes partly the emperor and partly a duke or count as its superior, and enjoys both imperial and provincial privileges. § 5There are some cities in which dukes or counts have usurped rights, even though the territory does not actually belong to them. These cities recognize them in certain respects through fixed pacts and conditions, and evidence their liberties in others. Such are Goslar, Magdeburg, Cologne, Aachen, Erfurt, and several others.
§ 6A metropolis is so called because it is the mother of other cities that it brings forth as colonies, or because it is pre-eminent among them and is recognized by them as a mother by whom they are ruled and defended as children. The metropolis is therefore a large and populous city. Other cities and towns of the realm follow its example because of its size, population, rank, houses of religion and justice, and temples of piety and law (jus), by means of which it displays the light of religion and justice to the other cities of the realm and presents itself in an elevated place to be seen by all. It also cultivates men distinguished in piety, doctrine, and life that others are able to consult in cases of doubt and perplexity. … 17
§ 15Communication among citizens of the same community for the purpose of self-sufficiency and symbiosis pertains to things, services, right, and mutual concord. Whence arises this political order, or the symbiotic right (jus symbioticum) of the city, which is called the legal order of the city (jus civitatis). § 16And as man is said to be a microcosm, so also is a city or small commonwealth, for the common business of a city is conducted and managed in almost the same manner as that of a realm or province.18
We will speak first about this communication, and then about the administration of it. § 17The communication of things among the members and citizens of the same community, town, or village is so carried out that the things communicated by the common consent and covenant of each and all are set aside for the various uses of the community. This is done according to the manner, order, and procedure that was agreed upon and established among the members and citizens. And such communication of things is rightly called the sinews of the city. … 19
§ 28The communication of services among the citizens of the same community is the performing of functions necessary and useful to symbiosis and mutual intercourse. These are performed by one citizen for another who needs and desires them in order that love may become effectual through the observance of charity. … § 29The communication of such services is especially accomplished in the execution and administration of (1) public duties and (2) private occupations necessary and useful to social life and symbiosis, the direction of which belongs to the senatorial collegium.
The administrators of public duties are those who expedite the public functions of the commonwealth or city, both political and ecclesiastical. § 30The political functions of the city concern the use of this life, its self-sufficiency, and, in brief, whatever is contained in the second table of the Decalogue. These functions are administered by judges, senators, counselors, syndics, censors, treasurers, directors of public works, curators of public roads, ports, buildings, and other such things of the community, as well as superintendents of granaries, prefects of the city, the security guard, and so forth. Ecclesiastical functions, which oversee the communion of the saints, the building of the church, holy worship, and the knowledge of God, are the responsibility of ministers of the church, school teachers and headmasters, deacons, and so forth. § 31There are, however, certain common services and functions of the church that are incumbent as much upon inferiors as upon superiors, such as concern and solicitude for the worship of God and promotion of the welfare of the church. …
§ 32Occupations are private functions inclining principally to the utility of those who perform them, and consequently to the public utility of the city or of all the citizens collectively. Such are the various industrial, agricultural, and commercial occupations that I have discussed above.20 In order that these occupations may offer mutual services to each other for their common advantage, it is necessary that they be brought together. For thus the farmer needs the carpenter, builder, miller, shoemaker, tailor, and others. And they need the aid and communication of the farmer.
§ 33Mutual services are also offered by the citizens in the construction, extension, and repair of the public works, such as walls, ramparts, ditches, and gates to the city or urban community, as well as temples, theaters, courts, courtyards, roads, bridges, public water systems, water mills, and other public works. § 34Citizens likewise contribute their services in guarding and defending the city or urban community, in paying expenses undertaken in the name of the community, and in sustaining its public ministers.
§ 35There are other services that are devoted more to private benefit than to the public utility and advantage of the community. These are performed more because of the charity and benevolence of the citizen than because the covenant of the community requires them. Examples occur when a citizen gives material help or counsel according to his ability to his fellow citizen, or promotes the advantage of his fellow citizen while removing, whenever he is able, disadvantages and perils. …
§ 39The rights (jura)21 of the city, its privileges, statutes, and benefits, which make a city great and celebrated, are also communicated by the citizens. They are shared with the people in the suburbs, outposts, and surrounding villages, but not with travellers and foreigners. § 40For citizens enjoy the same laws (leges), the same religion, and the same language, speech, judgment under the law, discipline, customs, money, measures, weights, and so forth. § 41They enjoy these not in such manner that each is like himself alone, but that all are like each other. I also include the autonomy of the city, its privileges, right of territory, and other public rights that accompany jurisdiction and imperium. Even a city recognizing a superior can have these rights by its own authority (jus), and in other things be subject to its superior magistrate by fixed covenants. And even more certainly these rights pertain to a free city recognizing none except the emperor as its superior. § 42These cities, however, cannot have the personal rights of princes, nor exercise jurisdiction beyond their territories.22§ 43But municipal tribunals of justice, similar to those the Jewish polity had, belong to this communication.23 I also include the right and power (jus et potestas) of dwelling in the city, of setting up residences and households, or transferring one’s family and possessions thereto, of having a workshop in the same place, of being received into the collegium or sodality of one’s vocation and profession, and of engaging in commercial activity. I ascribe to this communication the power of using and enjoying all rights, advantages, and benefits that the whole city has established for all citizens, and approved by common consent.
Every city is able to establish statutes concerning those things that pertain to the administration of its own matters, that belong to its trade and profession, and that relate to the private functions of the community. … § 44Also pertaining to this communication are the right of the vote (jus suffragii) in the common business and actions of managing and administering the community, and the form and manner by which the city is ruled and governed according to laws it approves and a magistrate that it constitutes with the consent of the citizens. § 45When, on the contrary, these common rights of the community are alienated, the community ceases to exist. …
§ 46Enthusiasm for concord is the means of conserving friendship, equity, justice, peace, and honor among the citizens, and of overcoming strife, if it arises among the citizens, as soon as possible. In brief, whatever cultivates love among the citizens and conserves the common good is to be nurtured, and the causes of discord among citizens and neighbors are to be guarded against, following the examples of Abraham and Isaac.24 “Behold how good and delightful it is for brothers to dwell in unity.” 25 And thus we see that the Lord in this manner has enjoined blessing and life continuously in the world.
§ 47Concord is fostered and protected by fairness (aequabilitas) when right, liberty, and honor are extended to each citizen according to the order and distinction of his worth and status. For it behooves the citizen to live by fair and suitable right with his neighbor, displaying neither arrogance nor servility, and thus to will whatever is tranquil and honest in the city. Contrary to this fairness is equality (aequalitas), by which individual citizens are levelled among themselves in all those things I have discussed. From this arises the most certain disorder and disturbance of matters.
§ 48The administration and direction of the communication of these rights in the community is entrusted, with the consent of the citizens, to the senatorial collegium. In the municipal cities the head or superior of the province, or his substitute serving in his name, presides over the senatorial collegium. … § 49In free cities, however, the leader of the senate or the consul, who has royal privileges in connection with the territory, presides.
§ 50Things done by the senatorial collegium are considered done by the whole community that the collegium represents. § 51Under the control of this senatorial collegium is, therefore, the power of managing and executing the business of the community and so of knowing and judging all that pertains to the community. This includes the right of holding investigations, the administration of public matters both civil and ecclesiastical, the responsibility for and assignment of public duties and offices, the planning, collection, care, and expenditure of public revenues, the right of publishing laws pertaining to good order and self-sufficiency, the care of public properties, the punishment of law breakers, the censorship of customs, the management of the urban community, and other such things.
§ 52Therefore, what the count is in the province, the prince or duke in the duchy, or the king in the kingdom, so this senatorial collegium is, for the most part, in the city. …
[16 ] [the emperor.]
[17 ] Examples of the metropolis cited by Althusius are Nineveh, Babylon, Rome, Paris, Ghent, Prague, and London.]
[18 ] Plato says that since no one of us is self-sufficient, but instead needs many things, the city came into being. So we take partners, fellow communicators, and helpers for our benefit, and thereby make a gathering that is called a city. For since men need many things that no isolated person is able to provide for himself, a number of them come together in one place that they may bring mutual support in life to each other. The Republic, II, 369.
[19 ] [Here follows a discussion of the types of things communicated in the community. They may be things held in common for the use of individuals, such as fields and forests for pasture and firewood, fishing places, rivers, roads, baths, temples, schools, market places, and courts of justice. Or they maybe private things owned and operated by the community, such as granaries, armories, metal mines, breweries, civic archives, and tax collections.
A distinction is also made, following Roman law, between sacred and holy things. Those things are sacred that are dedicated to divine worship, such as temples, tithes, and ecclesiastical revenues. Holy things, on the other hand, are the walls, gates, fortifications, and so forth, of the city. See the Institutes II, 1, 7–10.]
[20 ] [ See ]
[21 ] [laws.]
[22 ] Matthew Stephani, De jurisdictione, II, pt. 1, chap. 7; II, pt. 1, chap. 1, In former times, however, in the Jewish and other polities, cities were understood to have had their own autonomy, polity, and king. Genesis 14; 19.
[23 ] II Chronicles 19; Ruth 4; Deuteronomy 10; 16:18.
[24 ] Genesis 13; 26.
[25 ] Psalm 133:1.