Federalist: A Glossary
Source: In The Federalist (The Gideon Edition), Edited with an Introduction, Reader’s Guide, Constitutional Cross-reference, Index, and Glossary by George W. Carey and James McClellan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001).
Achaean League. The first Achaean League, which comprised the twelve cities in the Achaean region of ancient Greece, was a religious confederation. It came into existence sometime in the fifth century , in opposition to the other Greek city-states. In the fourth century , it fought with the Spartans against the Thebans and subsequently joined an alliance against Philip of Macedon. The league fell apart shortly after the death of Alexander the Great (323 ). The second league was a democratic political confederation instituted in the third century , owing to the efforts of Aratus, who united the remaining Achaean cities with cities outside Achaea. Its elaborate constitution provided for a powerful magistracy, an elected assembly, and a council of ten who shared military and administrative responsibilities. The Achaean League is regarded as one of the most fully developed federal republics of the ancient world. Members of the confederation worked closely together, every city having equal rights with the others. In foreign affairs the federal government was supreme; local affairs were regulated at general meetings held twice a year by the citizens of all the towns. At the beginning of the second century , Philopoemen was obliged to ally the league with Rome. With Roman help he managed to take control of the Peloponnesus, including Sparta. Friction soon arose between Rome and the league, as well as between factions within the league, some of which, led by Callicrates (at one time the Achaean ambassador to Rome), were avowedly sympathetic to Roman interests. While the league was almost completely under Roman control, it exercised its independence one last time by attacking Sparta (150 ) in defiance of Roman orders. In retribution, the Romans crushed the league’s army in 146 and dissolved the league, thereby ending the last stronghold of freedom in Greece.
Achaeus. Legendary son of Xuthus and Creusa who named the region Achaea and the people Achaeans for himself. See Achaean League; Achaia (Achaea)
Achaia (Achaea). A mountainous district in the Peloponnesus bordering on the Gulf of Corinth, thought to be the original home of the Achaean people. The cities of the Peloponnesus were members of the Achaean League (q.v.). The name Achaean was also applied to the people living in Thessaly in the region of Phthia, and sometimes to all the Greeks collectively.
Aetolians (Etolians). Residents of a region of ancient Greece located north of Achaea and the Gulf of Corinth. The Aetolian League was a confederation of Greek cities modeled after the Achaean League (q.v.). It waged war against Macedon in 323 , against the Gauls in 279 , and against the Achaean League in 220 Though an ally of Rome, it was dissolved by the Romans in 167
Alexander (“the Great”) (356 –323 ). Son of Philip II, king of Macedon (336–323 ), and conqueror of the civilized world. Philip greatly admired Greek culture and procured the great philosopher Aristotle to tutor Alexander. When Philip was murdered in 336 , Alexander succeeded his father, restored order in Macedonia, and subdued the rebellious Greek city-states his father had defeated. He reduced the great city of Thebes to rubble. In 334 Alexander then invaded Persia. Following his victory over the Persians at the Granicus River, he liberated the Greek cities of Asia Minor from Persian rule and in 332 went on to Egypt to free the Egyptians from the yoke of Persian tyranny. There he founded the city of Alexandria, the first of seventy communities he established that introduced Greek culture to the non-Hellenic world. Finally, in 330 he overthrew the Persian empire of Darius III. When he entered India in 326 , however, his faithful and fearless Macedonian troops refused to cross the Ganges River, and Alexander was forced to turn back. He never reached home and died at Babylon, not yet thirty-three years of age. Alexander changed the course of history by spreading Greek culture throughout the ancient world. Napoleon thought Alexander the greatest military leader in history.
Amphictyonic Council. The Amphictyonic League was a loose confederation of ancient Greek city-states dating back to early Greek history. There were several different confederations, the most famous being that of Delphi. Twelve tribes were represented on one council of the Amphictyons at Delphi, which met twice a year. The council has often been mistaken for a federal council of Greece (see, e.g., Madison’s essay in Federalist No. 18). The council, however, was a religious rather than a political body, and its primary responsibility was to regulate the concerns of the temple of Apollo at Delphi. Although the council never became a federal union, it was a representative body that approximated a representative form of government. According to some historians, anything like a federal union was utterly alien to the Greek mind.
Anne. The first queen of Great Britain. Anne reigned as queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702–1707), and, following the Act of Union with Scotland, was formally titled queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–1714). She was the last monarch in the Stuart line. Queen Anne was succeeded by George I, the first of the three Georges from the House of Hanover in Germany.
Aratus of Sicyon (271–213 ). Greek statesman and general who served as the leader of the second Achaean League (q.v.). Through his diplomacy and shrewd military alliances, he was able to strengthen the league and thwart its enemies. Defeated by the Spartans, he formed an alliance with Antigonus III of Macedonia, who triumphed over the Spartans at the Battle of Sellasia and brought the Achaean League under Macedonian domination.
Archon. The chief magistrate in a number of Greek city-states, including Athens. After the title of king of Attica was abolished, a single Archon was chosen, who exercised royal power for life. The term of office was afterward reduced to ten years and in 683 was made annual, with nine Archons sharing administrative, judicial, religious, and military powers. At the end of their year in office, Archons became members of the Council of the Areopagus. This court, originally called the Council of Elders, exercised supreme authority over all matters in ancient times, but later lost most of its power, except in cases involving homicide and religious matters. Solon was an Archon when he reformed the Athenian constitution in 594
Arragon (Aragon). A kingdom in northeast Spain founded in 1035 by Ramiro I. Through descent Aragon automatically merged with the Hapsburg dynasty upon Charles V’s ascension to emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1519.
Aspasia (440 –?). Greek courtesan and mistress of Pericles. Born at Miletus in Ionia and renowned for her wisdom and beauty. Pericles left his wife for Aspasia and would have married her but for Pericles’ own law that forbade Athenians from marrying foreigners. Her brilliance made her the center of literary and philosophical life in Athens, and she is thought by some to have served as an advisor and speech writer to Pericles in matters of state. Accused of impiety shortly before the Peloponnesian War (q.v.), she was saved from death by Pericles’ eloquence. Aspasia bore Pericles a son, who was legitimized under his father’s name by a special decree after the death of his two legitimate sons.
Athens. Ancient Greek city on the plain of the Attica region, north of the Gulf of Corinth. Much of its early history is shrouded in myth and legend. Solon’s reforms in the early part of the sixth century paved the way, later in that century, for Cleisthenes to establish a democratic form of government. Under this democracy Athens flourished for most of the fifth century It emerged from the Persian War (500– 449 ) as the dominant naval power and leader of a maritime empire called the Delian League. Under Pericles, Athens reached its Golden Age in architecture (Phidias), philosophy (Socrates), and drama (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides). Even in decline Athens produced the philosophers Plato and Aristotle, the dramatist Aristophanes, and the greatest orator of ancient times, Demosthenes. Athens’ defeat by Sparta in the protracted Peloponnesian War (431– 404 , q.v.) marked the downturn of her fortunes. The fourth century witnessed domination by the Macedonians, first by Philip II (q.v.) and later by Alexander the Great (q.v.). In the first century , the Romans made Athens one of their provincial capitals.
Aulic Council. Created by Maximilian I in 1498, the Aulic Council was intended primarily to be the chief administrative and executive arm of the Holy Roman Empire. By the middle of the sixteenth century, however, its concerns were largely confined to judicial matters. It later became the highest judicial body in the empire. Its members, eventually twenty, were appointed by the emperor. Their terms ended with his death.
Bashaws. Provincial governors in the Ottoman Empire who bore virtually sole responsibility for the collection of taxes. These governors were essentially feudal lords who usually inherited their positions.
Bavaria. A Germanic state whose history, first as a duchy and later as a kingdom and republic, dates from the sixth century Bavaria is now the largest state in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Bill of Attainder. A legislative act that pronounces a person guilty of a crime and prescribes punishment without trial. In effect, a bill of attainder constitutes “trial” and punishment by a simple legislative act without recourse to judicial processes. Because the Framers were aware of the practice whereby individuals were “attainted” of treason by a simple act of Parliament (without trial) during the political and social upheavals of the 1600s, they provided (Article 1, Sections 9 and 10) that neither the Federal nor State governments may pass any bill of attainder.
Bill of Credit. A promissory note issued by a government on its own credit. The States were forbidden to “emit bills of credit” under Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.
Bill of Rights (English). When James II fled England in 1688, members of the House of Lords and of the House of Commons who had held a seat during the reign of Charles II (before the House was packed by James) and the aldermen and councillors of London met in an informal assembly to decide what steps should be taken to create a lawful government. They requested William to take over the provisional government and issue writs authorizing the election of representatives to a convention. This Convention Parliament assembled on January 22, 1689, and offered the vacant throne to William and Mary, but under certain conditions deemed essential to protect liberty from usurpations by future sovereigns. These conditions were spelled out in a Declaration of Rights that embodied the fundamental principles of the English Constitution. The Declaration of Rights was turned into a legislative act and called the Bill of Rights when the convention became a Parliament. The enactment of this measure, on December 16, 1689, affirmed the principles of a limited monarchy and the supremacy of Parliament. The Bill of Rights, regarded as a foundation stone of the English Constitution and civil liberties, did not technically create any new rights and is considered to be a summing up or codification of the ancient law regulating the prerogatives of the crown, the privileges of Parliament, and the liberty of subjects. Besides determining the occupancy of the throne, the Bill of Rights guaranteed various individual liberties, including freedom of speech in Parliament, trial by jury, and an end to excessive bail and unreasonable fines. The Bill of Rights also added a number of clauses to the original Declaration, most notably one providing that no Roman Catholic, or anyone married to a Roman Catholic, should ever succeed to the throne of England.
Blackstone, Sir William (1723–1780). An English jurist and celebrated legal scholar who served on the Court of Common Pleas from 1770 to 1780. Blackstone was also a professor of law at Oxford, a member of the House of Commons (1761–1770), and solicitor general (1763). His highly acclaimed Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in four volumes between 1765 and 1769, were widely read by American lawyers as soon as copies were available, and well into the twentieth century. The first American edition, edited by St. George Tucker, a distinguished law professor at William & Mary College in Virginia, was published in 1803. Blackstone’s Commentaries are an authoritative treatise on English common law, that body of legal principles and case law which serves as the foundation of Anglo-American jurisprudence. His treatment covers a wide range of subjects, including natural law, municipal law, the law of property, and the rights of persons.
Bourbons, conflict with the House of Austria. In the seventeenth century the two dominant royal houses on the European continent, the Bourbons (French) and the Hapsburgs (Austrian), sought domination. In the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), the Bourbons endeavored to end the Hapsburg hegemony over the Germanic states that were part of the Holy Roman Empire. This objective was achieved with the Treaty of Westphalia (1648).
Brutus, Lucius Junius. The founder of the Roman Republic. Brutus headed the conspiracy that deposed Tarquinius II, Rome’s seventh and last king. The success of this conspiracy led to the establishment of the Roman Republic in 509 When Tarquin marched on Rome to try to regain power, Brutus and his fellow consul, Publius Valerius, successfully led the Roman troops against him. Brutus died on the battlefield, however, and Valerius became the sole ruler. Valerius was given the surname “Publicola” (the people’s respectful friend), becoming Publius Valerius Publicola; his forename was adopted as a pen name by the authors of The Federalist.
Caesar, Caius Julius (100–44 ). Roman statesman and general. Caesar is universally regarded as one of the greatest generals of all time for his military exploits, particularly his conduct of the Gallic Wars (58– 49 ) and his expedition into Britain. In 60 , Caesar instituted the triumvirate, a body of three consuls consisting of himself, the wealthy Crassus, and his military rival, Pompey. The death of Crassus eventually set Caesar and Pompey on a collision course. Caesar refused to obey the order of the Roman Senate to lay down his arms, and he crossed the Rubicon in 49 , an act that ignited a civil war. With the people on his side, Caesar marched triumphantly into Rome. He defeated Pompey at Pharsala, Greece (48 ). Caesar assumed dictatorial powers, in effect suspending the republican constitution, though he was careful to cultivate popular support. Determined to restore the republic and strengthen the Senate, about sixty conspirators, including Marcus Junius Brutus (a descendant of Lucius Junius Brutus, q.v.), Cassius Longinus Caius, and Publius Servilius Casca, arranged for the assassination of Caesar in the Senate. He was stabbed to death on the Ides of March (March 15), 44 , the first blow being struck by Casca. His assassination precipitated a civil war that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire.
Callicrates.See Achaean League.
Cambray (Cambrai), League of (1508–1510). An alliance between various Italian states, Louis XII of France, Emperor Maximilian I of Austria, Ferdinand V of Aragon, and Pope Julius II against Venice. After the French defeated Venice in 1509, Julius II allied with Venice and formed the Holy League against France.
Canon (pronounced “cannon”) law. The ecclesiastical law that governs Christian churches and their members.
Cantons. The states or political subdivisions of Switzerland.
Carthage. An ancient city of North Africa on the Bay of Tunis which engaged in three wars (the Punic Wars) with Rome during the second and third centuries for domination of the Mediterranean. The third Punic War (149–146 ) resulted in annihilation of the city by the Roman commander, Scipio the Younger. In honor of his victory, Scipio became Scipio Africanus (Minor).
Cato. The pseudonym of an unknown Anti-Federalist in New York who wrote passionately and extensively against the ratification of the proposed Constitution. Thought by some to be Governor George Clinton, he is not to be confused with another Anti-Federalist writing under the name of Cato in South Carolina.
Chancery courts. Courts in England with equity jurisdiction, the authority to interpret and apply the laws, in light of unusual circumstances, upon principles of fairness or equity rather than upon strict adherence to the letter of the law. See Equity.
Charlemagne (Charles I) (742–814). King of the Franks who unified and Christianized virtually all of central Europe. He expelled the Moors from northeastern Spain, subjugated and Christianized the Saxons, and ousted the barbarian kings of Italy. He was crowned emperor of the West by Pope Leo III, thereby setting the foundations for the Holy Roman Empire, whose end was the unity and order of the earlier Roman Empire. Charlemagne fostered commerce, established diplomatic relations with non-European rulers, and promoted education among the clergy. His conquests and policies affected the course of European politics and development for centuries to come.
Charles I (1600–1649). Stuart king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1635– 1649. Religious differences, financial difficulties, civil disorder, and struggles with Parliament marked his reign and resulted in civil war. Defeated in the civil war by the Parliamentary army, Charles I was convicted of treason and beheaded.
Charles II (1630–1685). Son of Charles I and Stuart king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1660–1685. When his father surrendered to Cromwell in 1646, Charles fled to France and joined his mother in Paris. He was crowned king of the Scots in 1651 and led a Scottish army against Cromwell, only to be defeated at Worcester. He again escaped to France, but was restored to the throne of England in 1660. He had many children but none legitimate, and upon his death the crown passed to his brother, James II.
Charles V (1500–1558). Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, 1519–1558, and king of Spain (as Charles I), 1516–1556; generally regarded as the greatest of the Hapsburg monarchs. He was able to control and consolidate his European realm, and expanded his Spanish empire in the New World with the conquests of Mexico and Peru. Towards the end of his life he delegated power and authority to his brother, Ferdinand I, and his son, Philip II. He retired in 1556 to the monastery of Yuste in western Spain, where he died two years later. His reign marked the beginning of an effort to halt the progress of Protestantism in Europe.
Charles VII (1403–1461). Crowned king of France in 1429. Though disinherited by his insane father (Charles VI), who designated Henry V of England as his successor, Charles VII proceeded to expel the English from France, thereby ending the Hundred Years’ War in 1453. His reign was marked by a consolidation of royal authority in France.
Chesterfield, earl of (Philip Dormer Stanhope, the fourth earl of Chesterfield, 1694–1773). English statesman, diplomat, and author of the famous work on moral instruction Letters to His Son (1774). Known for his wit and grace in speech and writing, Lord Chesterfield served at various times in Parliament and as the British ambassador to the Hague, the viceroyalty of Ireland, and secretary of state. In 1745 he secured Dutch support for England’s position in the War of Austrian Succession. That same year he was offered the viceroyalty of Ireland, where his work on economic and agricultural reform, and his encouragement of religious toleration, met with great success. His last great service to England was to help bring about reform of the calendar in a brilliant speech introducing the New Style calendar bill, which became law in 1752.
Civil law. The civil (or Roman) law, derived from statutes, that is based upon the system of laws first administered in the Roman Empire. The jurisprudence of continental Europe, Latin America, and many other parts of the world rests on the civil law. The ecclesiastical and administrative courts of England also apply the civil law. These courts do not try cases before juries.
Cleomenes (Cleomenes III; d. 219 ). Spartan king (235–222 ) who endeavored to conquer the Achaean League (q.v.). The Macedonians, responding to a request for help from the League, defeated Cleomenes III at the Battle of Sellasia in 222
Comitia. Assemblies of the people in ancient Rome. There were three kinds: (1) Comitia Curiata, the most ancient, representing the old patrician families. This assembly acted on matters of family, religion, and state; (2) Comitia Centuriata, the assembly of the whole people divided by five fiscal classes based on the property census and dominated by the patricians; (3) ComitiaTributa, the assembly of the people by tribes or regions, and the last to be established (ca. 450 ). Though patricians could serve on the Comitia Tributa, its membership was predominantly plebeian. This body shared political power with the Comitia Centuriata. Based on the principle of dual representation—of the people and of the regions—the Comitia Centuriata and Comitia Tributa may be viewed as a political institution that was roughly analogous to the American bicameral structure.
Common law. Rules and principles, often unwritten in origin, arising from English customs and practices that have been recognized and refined by judges and adapted to specific controversies or circumstances. Anglo-American common law is embodied in judicial rulings and opinions, and much nowadays is also codified in statutes.
Consul. One of the two chief magistrates of the ancient Roman republic. They exercised most of the powers associated with the monarchy. Consuls were initially elected from the patrician families, but after 367 the plebeians gained the right of electing one of the Consuls from among themselves. The office was retained under the empire but was there limited primarily to judicial and ceremonial duties. It was abolished in the sixth century
Cosmi (Cosmoi). One body of the legislative branch of ancient Crete in the fourth and fifth centuries Its members served for life and were drawn from select families. The members of the Council of Elders, the second body, were drawn from those who had served in the Cosmoi.
Crete. The largest island of Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, approximately sixty miles southeast of the mainland. It was the home of the ancient Minoan civilization (3000–1000 ), one of the oldest known to man, named after the mythical king Minos. The Minoan civilization reached its peak about 1600 It came to an abrupt and mysterious end about 1400
Cromwell, Oliver (1599–1658). Lord Protector of England (1653–1658). He served in the House of Commons without distinction (1628–1629), and returned to represent Cambridge (1640–1653). His leadership of the Parliamentary army during the English civil wars, which led to the dethronement and execution of Charles I, rendered him a virtual dictator. With extreme cruelty he crushed royalist uprisings in Scotland and Ireland. At his order, Colonel Pride posted men at the doors of Parliament to block the entrance of those unsympathetic to Cromwell or the army. “Pride’s Purge” resulted in what is known as the Rump Parliament, with only about one-fifth the original membership. In 1653 Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament. Unable subsequently to get along with a Parliament that he had personally appointed (the “Barebones Parliament”), he proclaimed a new constitution (“The Instrument of Government”) in 1653 that declared him Lord Protector for life. Although it was never operative, the Instrument of Government was important as an early attempt to draw up a written constitution for England. In order to secure domestic peace toward the end of his protectorate, he divided England into districts, over each of which he appointed a major general with full administrative discretion. His harsh rule paved the way for the return of Charles II and the restoration of the Stuarts. Cromwell died before the monarchy was restored. But ten of those who had taken part in the trial and execution of Charles I were executed. Cromwell’s body was later exhumed, hung from gibbets, and beheaded.
Decemvirs. The ten members of a commission (decemvirate) organized in 451 at the insistence of the plebeians to codify the unwritten Roman laws. Presided over by Appius Claudius, the commission was sent to Greece in 450 to study Greek law and codify Roman law. It produced the famous Law of Twelve Tables, which became the basis of Roman jurisprudence. During its brief existence, the commission temporarily displaced the regular machinery of government, becoming tyrannical. It was overthrown in 449 by a popular insurrection after Appius Claudius was charged with scandalous behavior.
Delphos (Delphi), temple of. The temple of Apollo in the city of Delphi, built in the sixth century , housed the oracle of Apollo. The oracle was called upon to give advice on a variety of matters—moral, political, personal, and public. While sometimes the advice was rendered in cryptic terms, the words of the oracle were taken quite seriously by the Greeks. Delphi was a great religious center and a member of the Amphictyonic Council (q.v.).
Demesne. Land, within the feudal system, that has not been parceled out to serfs or freeholders, remaining in the sole possession of the lords. Serfs had a feudal obligation to the lord to cultivate a portion of the demesne in order to make it productive.
Demosthenes (ca. 384–322 ). Demosthenes, an Athenian, was the greatest Greek orator of the ancient world. He practiced speaking with pebbles in his mouth to overcome a stammer and improve his diction. His most noteworthy orations were his “Phillipics” directed against Philip of Macedon.
Diet. The legislative arm of the Holy Roman Empire formally established by Charles IV in 1356. Originally, it consisted of three divisions: electors (seven lay and ecclesiastical princes), the college of princes, and representatives of imperial cities. Though possessed of legislative authority, the Diet met at irregular intervals. After 1648, the Diet was transformed into an assembly of sovereign princes.
Doge. The chief magistrate of the Genoan Republic. After 1339 the Genoan Republic was ruled by Doges elected for life. From the late seventh century to the early fourteenth, Venice was also ruled by an elective Doge.
Donawerth (Donauworth). A city in the circle of Swabia, now in the Swabian region of western Bavaria. During the Thirty Years’ War, friction developed between the Lutheran majority in Donauworth and the Catholic minority headed by Abbe de St. Croix. The duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I (1573–1651), who founded the Catholic League in 1609, intervened on the side of the Catholic minority.
Draco (Dracon) (?–?). Appointed extraordinary legislator by the Athenian government with the authority to codify and rectify existing Athenian laws. What emerged in 621 is called Draco’s Code. The term Draconian laws, signifying laws mandating harsh or severe penalties, derives from this code. Draco’s Code was supplanted for the most part by that of Solon in 594
Duke of Bavaria.See Donawerth (Donauworth).
Encyclopedie. French encyclopedia (28 volumes) of the Enlightenment edited by the philosopher Denis Diderot (1713–1784) and, until 1758, the mathematician Jean le Rond d’Alembert (1717–1783). It was published in 1751–1772 in France. Seven supplementary volumes were added by Charles Joseph Panckoucke (1736–1798) between 1776 and 1780, bringing the total number of volumes of the first edition of the Encyclopedie to thirty-five. Some of France’s leading thinkers, including Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire, contributed essays to the work. The Encyclopedie, ou Dictionaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, was an important literary and philosophical enterprise that had a far-reaching impact on the political and intellectual life of Europe.
Ephori (Ephors). In ancient Greece, the ephor was a magistrate in one of the Dorian cities, the most important being Sparta. Dating from the eighth century , the five ephors of Sparta were magistrates annually elected by lot from among the people. As representative of the people, their function was to ensure that the king remained loyal to his oath and obligations. The ephors eventually constituted the highest civil court in Sparta.
Equity. In its broadest sense, the spirit of fairness and justice that should govern human affairs. Equity is also a system of rules and procedures administered by courts of equity, as distinguished from courts of law. The purpose of equity courts is to render the administration of justice more thorough by affording relief where the courts of law are unable to act. Equity jurisprudence originated in the civil law of Rome and evolved in England as a way of circumventing the often rigid and inflexible rules of the common law—by allowing the losing party in a dispute to appeal a ruling to the Lord Chancellor (“keeper of the king’s conscience”). In the early seventeenth century, the common law and equity courts were bitter rivals contending for jurisdictional power. Sir Edward Coke, ChiefJustice of the King’s Court, is said to have saved the common law from extinction by his sweeping decisions expanding the jurisdiction of the common law courts. After the American Revolution, law and equity were combined in most state judicial systems— and later in the new Federal courts by virtue of Article III of the Constitution, which provides that “the judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity” arising under the Constitution, Federal laws, and treaties. See Chancery courts; Common law.
Ex post facto law. A retroactive criminal law that operates to the detriment of the accused by making an act criminal which, when committed, was legal. Both the national and State governments are prohibited by the Constitution, under Sections 9 and 10 of Article 1, from passing ex post facto laws.
Feudalism. The political, economic, and social order of Europe in the Middle Ages. The feudal system was hierarchical, centered on the fief, or an estate in land resting on reciprocal duties between lord and vassal. Below the vassal was the serf, who tilled the land. In return for military or other services to the lord, the vassal or feudal tenant received protection and the use and security of his property from the lord. Lesser lords assumed the status of a vassal toward higher lords, and higher lords served as vassals to the king. The crown stood at the top of this pyramidal structure. Feudalism prevailed throughout Europe primarily in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, and was introduced into England in its mature form by William I in 1085. Many of the principles of real property law in England and America affecting land grants, land tenure, and property rights may be traced back to the feudal system. It tied men to the land and created a close-knit hierarchy of persons and an aggregate of social and political institutions.
Fief. A feudal estate in land. See Feudalism.
Flanders. Originally an independent state along the North Sea (west of what is now Germany and north of France), but by the thirteenth century an object of domination by stronger powers. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, French kings fought with the courts of Flanders for control—a struggle the French finally won in 1382. In 1482, Flanders came under the control of the Austrian Hapsburgs. This control passed to the Spanish Hapsburgs in 1555 and back to the Austrian wing in 1714. The period of Hapsburg domination (1662–1678) was marked by constant struggles between the Dutch and the Hapsburgs for control of the Lower Countries (now the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg). During this period, the French annexed a portion of Flanders. After the remainder of Flanders passed under the control of France (1794) and the Netherlands (1815), it was recognized as part of the new state of Belgium in 1830.
Fox, Charles James (1749–1806). English statesman and orator who became a parliamentary leader, principally through opposition to the various governments in power during his lifetime. Though well educated, Fox gambled away the family fortune and was financially destitute much of his life. He broke from the Tories and the political influences of his youth, sided with Edmund Burke and the Rockingham Whigs in support of the American colonies, and opposed Lord North’s administration during the American Revolution. Becoming an ardent champion of liberal causes and radical reform, he broke with Burke when he came out in favor of the French Revolution. In 1792, most of his party left him, and in 1797 he withdrew from the House of Commons. Returning to Parliament in 1800, he reversed his stand on the French, advocated vigorous military action against Napoleon, and was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Lord Grenville in 1806— only to die that same year as a result of obesity and poor health, just a few months after the death of his great rival William Pitt.
Franks. Germanic tribes that were united in 481 under the leadership of Clovis I. By 815 their king, Charlemagne (q.v.), had conquered virtually all of central and western Europe. By the treaty of Merson (870), the kingdom of the West Franks became France; that of the East Franks, Germany.
Gaul. In ancient times, most of Gaul encompassed what is now France. It was bounded by the Alps, the Rhine River, and the Pyrenees. Julius Caesar (q.v.) conquered Gaul in the Gallic Wars (58–51 ).
Genoa. A city in northwest Italy on the Mediterranean that grew to be a very prosperous commercial republic in the fourteenth century, with colonies of its own. From this time on its powers ebbed, save for a brief period in the sixteenth century. Internal disorders rendered Genoa helpless to prevent intervention and control by such foreign powers as France, Spain, and Austria during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
George II (George Augustus) (1683–1760). King of Great Britain and Ireland (1727–1760). Born in the German principality of Hanover, he was the second English king of the House of Hanover.
Glorious Revolution (1688–1689). The bloodless English revolution that involved the forced abdication of James II and the enthronement of William and Mary as joint sovereigns. The revolution also brought to a close the historic struggle for supremacy between crown and parliament by ending divine right rule and laying the foundation for the principle of parliamentary supremacy. The English Bill of Rights (1689) was also a product of this constitutional change. See William III; Bill of Rights (English).
Grand Signior. The sultan of Turkey; the head of the Ottoman Empire.
Grotius, Hugo (1583–1645). Dutch jurist and political theorist who wrote the first systematic and comprehensive work on international law based on the philosophy of natural law, Concerning the Law of War and Peace (De juri belli ac pacis) . See also Rutherford’s (Rutherforth’s) Institutes.
Habeas corpus (Latin, “you have the body”). An English common law (q.v.) right that dates back to the fourteenth century and was codified during the reign of Charles II (q.v.) in 1679. A writ of habeas corpus requires a judicial hearing to determine whether an individual is being imprisoned or detained lawfully. It thus limits the executive power of arresting authorities. The U.S. Constitution guarantees the writ of habeas corpus (Article 1, Section 9), save “in cases of Rebellion or Invasion.” Deliverance from illegal confinement is regarded as one of the great guarantees of personal liberty.
Hannibal (247–182 ). Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War. Led some 100,000 troops, with elephants and full equipment, across the Alps in an invasion of Italy. He conducted a brilliant campaign against the Romans, but the failure of Carthage to reinforce his army prevented him from taking Rome. Carthaginian defeats elsewhere prompted his return to Carthage to protect it against the Roman army headed by Scipio the Elder (subsequently titled Scipio Africanus in honor of his achievement). Scipio defeated Hannibal at the battle of Zama (202 ). After peace was restored, Hannibal ruled Carthage for a time and then joined forces with Rome’s enemies. He ended his life by taking poison in order to avoid imprisonment by the Romans.
Hanover, Treaty of (1725). A treaty between England, Prussia, and France, establishing the League of Hanover, to counter the Austrian-Spanish alliance formed by the Treaty of Vienna.
Henry VIII (1491–1547). King of England, 1509–1547. Repudiating an alliance between England and France fashioned by his chief advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, Henry joined forces with Charles V (q.v.), Holy Roman Emperor and king of Spain, in his war against France. Cardinal Wolsey lost all influence in Henry’s court when Pope Clement VII refused to grant Henry a divorce from Katherine of Aragon, his first of six wives. Upon his second marriage, to Anne Boleyn, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Subsequently, he assumed all papal powers in England and established the Church of England. His reign saw a movement toward Protestantism in England and centralization of power in the crown.
Homer. First Greek poet, who lived sometime before 700 According to legend he was blind. His narrative poems the Iliad and the Odyssey rank among the great masterpieces of Western literature. Alexander the Great (q.v.) kept a copy of the Iliad under his pillow at night, along with his dagger.
Hume, David (1711–1776). Scottish philosopher, historian, and essayist. His major works include a multivolume History of England, A Treatise of Human Nature, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, and Essays Moral and Political. Many ideas and principles set forth in his philosophical, historical, and political writings were well received by some of the most influential delegates to the Philadelphia Convention. Among these were his belief that experience, not abstract reasoning, provides the soundest basis for political institutions; that a republican form of government is possible over an extensive territory; that man often pursues his immediate interests or passions to the detriment of his long-term well-being; that tradition plays a critical role in the orderly operations of a complex, organic society; and that it is prefer able to restrain human nature through clearly marked institutions rather than rely upon the development or identification of virtuous men.
Imperial Chamber. The judicial arm of the Holy Roman Empire established by Maximilian I, with the sanction of the Diet of Worms, in 1495. The original Chamber consisted of sixteen members, a number that increased over the decades. The emperor appointed the chief justice and shared in the appointment of other justices with the constituent elements of the empire. The Chamber handled civil disputes between different provinces of the empire, suits against rulers in the empire, and suits between subjects of different rulers, as well as violations of the emperor’s decrees. The Chamber never operated according to design, many of its functions being handled by the Aulic Council (q.v.).
India bill. Sponsored by Charles Fox and Lord North, this measure would have completely reorganized the British East India Company, which had been guilty of incompetence and mismanagement in handling the affairs of India. The bill provided for a seven-member governing board responsible to Parliament. In late 1783 it passed the House of Commons 208 to 102, but was rejected by the House of Lords 95–76 after King George III made it clear that he would regard as enemies those who voted for the bill. In 1857 the British government took control of India from the East India Company in the aftermath of a mutiny against British westernization practices.
James II (1633–1701). King of Great Britain and Ireland, 1685–1688, and second son of Charles I (q.v.). James was unpopular before his succession because of his marriage in 1673 to a Catholic, Mary of Modena, which also linked him with the imperial policies of Louis XIV of France. As king, his appointments of Catholics to key posts and his Declaration of Indulgence for dissenters caused considerable domestic friction. The birth of his son, James Edward Stuart, which ensured a Catholic succession, led to the Glorious, or Bloodless, Revolution of 1688 (q.v.) and the ascension of the Protestants William and Mary. James fled to France and returned hoping to raise Ireland in revolt and use it as a base to invade England but was thwarted at the Battle of the Boyne (1690). He returned to France, where he died in exile.
Janizaries (Janissaries). A militia unit constituting for many years the principal standing army of the Ottoman Empire. Janissaries were an elite corps of fierce warriors who prided themselves on abstinence from luxury, obedience to their officers, and loyalty to the state. They did not let their beards grow, did not marry, and devoted all their energies to practicing the arts of war. The corps, first organized in the fourteenth century, consisted of Christian youths, preferably from the Balkans, who were forcibly taken from their parents and given instruction in both military combat and the Muslim religion. In the seventeenth century, however, the Janissaries became increasingly embroiled in politics and grew unruly. By the end of the next century they were a public menace. In 1826, Janissaries led a revolt against the government in Constantinople. They were slaughtered to the last man and the unit went out of existence, never to be revived.
Jenkinson, Charles (1727–1808). First earl of Liverpool and baron Hawkesbury of Hawkesbury. Member of the House of Commons (1761–1796), where he eventually served as leader of the “king’s friends.” He also held a variety of important administrative posts in the British government, including that of secretary at war (1778–1782) during the American Revolution.
John (1167–1216). King of England, 1199–1216. Succeeded his older brother, Richard the Lion Hearted. Expensive and unsuccessful military campaigns forced him to tax at higher rates than ever before. This further fueled the discontent of the barons, who united and forced John to sign the Magna Charta (q.v.) at Runnymede, a meadow on the Thames River, in June 1215.
Julius II (1443–1513). Played a major rule in restoring the papal states to the church. As Pope (1503–1513), he was a patron of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Bramante. He laid the cornerstone for St. Peter’s in Rome.
Junius. Pseudonym used by the author of a series of letters that appeared between January 21, 1769, and January 21, 1772, in the Public Advertiser, a London newspaper. The letters were biting attacks on the ministries of the duke of Grafton, Lord North, and the political dealings of King George III. The collected letters were published as Letters of Junius by Henry Sampson Woodfall in 1772. The identity of Junius is still unknown. In 1872, an anonymous writer published an intriguing work in Washington, D.C., entitled Junius Unmasked, claiming that the Letters of Junius were written by Thomas Paine before he emigrated to America in 1774.
Khan of Tartary. Autocratic ruler of Siberia, original home of the Tartars.
Lacedaemon (Laconia). Both the city and the territory of Sparta on the Peloponnesus, south of the Gulf of Corinth. Lacedaemonians were the people of the city and territory of Sparta. Lacedaemonia also embraced the regions of Laconia and Messenia.
Leuctra, Battle of (371 ). Leuctra was a village of ancient Greece where the Thebans decisively defeated the Spartans. This victory ended the brief period of Spartan domination of Greece after the Peloponnesian War (q.v.).
Locrians. An ancient people of the city of Locri, a Greek colony on the coast of what is now Calabria, located on the toe of Italy. The severe law code prepared by the famous lawgiver Zaleucus, about 650 , appears to have been the first written legal code in Europe and was widely copied in Greece itself. Locri was allied against Rome in the third century but was later incorporated into the Roman Empire.
Long Parliament. The Parliament that followed upon the “Short Parliament” which was dissolved by Charles I (q.v.) in 1640 after sitting for only three weeks. The “Long Parliament” convened later in 1640, continuing through the English civil wars to 1653. Between 1648 and 1653 it was known as the “Rump Parliament” because Cromwell purged it of Presbyterians and the remaining royalists. After disbanding the “Rump Parliament” in 1653, Cromwell ruled for a few months with a “Barebones Parliament” consist ing of appointed individuals. The surviving members of the “Long Parliament” met again in 1659–1660 to settle upon terms for the restoration of the monarchy.
Louis XIV (1638–1715). Known as the Sun King, Louis reigned in France from 1643 to 1715, with his mother, Anne of Austria, serving as regent until 1661. The first portion of his reign was marked by centralization of authority through administrative reform, the key element of which involved the development of a loyal civil service. He also sought supremacy in Europe, but with only limited success, because of alliances that formed against him.
Lycian Confederacy. A confederacy of states located in Lycia, an ancient region of southwestern Asia Minor, bordering on the Mediterranean, that existed as early as the sixth century and lasted until the Romans suppressed its federal structure in the first century Estimates of the number of cities in this confederacy range from twenty-three to seventy.
Lycurgus (?–?). The traditional lawgiver of Sparta who reformed the Spartan constitution. Certain sources describe him as living as early as the ninth century , but others say as late as the seventh century Still others contend that he is only a legendary figure—possibly a demigod—who, having extracted a promise from the Spartans to observe his laws until his return, left the city and subsequently starved himself to death in a foreign land.
Lysander (d. 395 ). Spartan naval commander who captured the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami in 405 His blockade of Piraeus, the Athenian port city, in 404 led to the surrender of Athens, which marked the end of the Peloponnesian War (q.v.).
Mably, L’Abbé Gabriel Bono de (1709–1785). French historian and friend of the philosophes, whose writings were known to both Hamilton and Madison. His chief work, dealing with the law of nations, was entitled Des Princeps des Negociations. Mably also wrote on Greece and Rome and in 1783 published four letters to John Adams that were critical of the early State constitutions and Articles of Confederation. These were translated into English and later published under the title Remarks Concerning the Government and Laws of the United States (1785).
Macedon (Kingdom of Macedonia). An ancient kingdom in the northeastern corner of the Greek Peninsula. Under Philip II (q.v.) and Alexander (q.v.), it became a dominant force in the Greece of the fourth century Today it is divided among the nations of Greece, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Macedonia.
Magna Charta (Great Charter). The foundation of Anglo-American liberties, establishing the principle that all Englishmen, not just the lords, are entitled to liberty, and that no man, including the king himself, is above the law. The “law of the land” clause in Magna Charta, which later became known as “due process of law,” is found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the American Constitution. Many other guarantees can be traced to this historic document — signed by King John (q.v.) in 1215 and reaffirmed over the centuries by his successors as a limitation on royal authority. The idea of a constitutional or limited monarchy dates from the Magna Charta.
Maintenon, Madame de (François d’Aubigne, Marquise de). The second wife of Louis XIV (q.v.) by secret marriage sometime between 1683 and 1697. A devout Catholic, she is thought to have persuaded Louis to persecute the French Protestants (Huguenots), thereby bringing about his renunciation of the Edict of Nantes (1598).
Man of the Seven Mountains. A Roman citizen was sometimes called “a man of the seven mountains” (de septem montibus virum), but the term could also apply to the Roman emperor.
Marlborough, duchess of (Sarah Churchill, née Jennings, 1660–1744). A close friend of and advisor to Queen Anne until friction developed between them in 1710. She participated in court intrigue and used her position to advance the career of her husband, John Churchill, first duke of Marlborough (q.v.).
Marlborough, duke of (John Churchill, 1650–1722). English statesman and general who supported William III (q.v.) against James II (q.v.). As commander of English forces, he enjoyed remarkable success in the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714), inflicting enormous losses on the French and preventing the hegemony of France on the European continent. He ignored the French pleas for peace, much to the displeasure of the English Tories.
Marque and Reprisal, letter of. A letter or document issued by a sovereign nation that authorizes private citizens to seize the citizens and goods of another country. Such letters were often issued to ship captains. Letters of Marque Reprisal were permitted under the law of nations whenever the subjects of one state were oppressed and injured by those of another and justice was denied. The power to grant “letters of Marque and Reprisal” is delegated to Congress in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution and denied to the States under Article I, Section 10.
Martin, Luther (1748–1826). A distinguished lawyer who served as a delegate from Maryland to the Constitutional Convention. As a strong advocate of States’ Rights, he left the Convention in disgust on September 4 and returned to Maryland to lead the fight against ratification. In a lengthy speech to the Maryland legislature that was subsequently printed and widely distributed, Martin presented one of the most persuasive arguments against the Constitution of any Anti-Federalist. He later became Attorney General of Maryland. Martin frequently argued the cause of States’ Rights before the Supreme Court in the early republic, serving as counsel in many landmark cases, including McCulloch v. Maryland (1823), which established a broad interpretation of the implied powers of Congress.
Maximilian (Maximilian I) (1459–1519). German king, 1486–1519, and selfproclaimed emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, 1493–1519. His reign witnessed the growth of the merchant classes, the flourishing of German art, and constitutional reform of the Holy Roman Empire.
Megarensians (Megarians). The inhabitants of Megara, an ancient Greek city situated west of Athens on the important route leading from central Greece to the Peloponnesus. Relations between Athens and Megara were often hostile, owing in part to the fact that Athenians frequently exploited the land around Megara for their own purposes. In retaliation for Megara’s expulsion of an Athenian garrison, Pericles (q.v.) issued a decree in 432 that excluded Megara from Athenian markets and ruined the Megarian economy. Megara appealed to Sparta for support, and Pericles’ action is thought to be one of the causes of the Peloponnesian War (q.v.). The city of Megara later fell into the hands of the Macedonians, and ultimately the Romans. Megara was the birthplace of the philosopher Euclid.
Messene (Messenia). A region of ancient Greece in the southern portion of the Peloponnesus which, with Laconia, comprises Lacedaemon (q.v.). It was intermittently subjected to Spartan control from the seventh century until the Battle of Leuctra (q.v.) in the fourth century
Milot (Millot), Abbé Claude François Xavier (1726 –1785). A French historian and Jesuit whose works include Elements of the History of France and History of England. Milot sought to popularize history and his collected works comprise fifteen volumes.
Montesquieu, Charles de Secondat, baron de la Brede et de (1689–1775). The “oracle of separation of powers” and highly influential French jurist and political philosopher whose most celebrated work, The Spirit of the Laws, first appeared in an English translation in 1750. This widely read treatise emphasized the influence of economic, social, political, geographic, and even climatic influences on the behavior, laws, customs, and habits of different peoples. Montesquieu admired the British system because it produced ordered liberty, but he misinterpreted the English Constitution in developing his theory of separation of powers. One of the great classics in the history of political philosophy, Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws greatly influenced the thinking of the Framers and the development of the American separation of powers doctrine. His other writings include the Persian Letters (1721) and Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline (1734).
Montgomery County. The largest and westernmost county in New York State at the time of the ratification contest.
Neckar (Necker), Jacques (1732–1804). French financial expert who served as director of the treasury (1776) and director general of finances (1777) for Louis XVI. His major work, A Treatise on the Administration of France, was published in England in 1785.
Norman Conquest. The conquest of England in 1066 by William, duke of Normandy, who defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings. William became King William I, the first of the Norman monarchs to rule England.
Numa, Pompilius (715–673 ). The second king of Rome, elected after the disappearance of Romulus in the seventh century A pious and peaceloving monarch, Numa is credited with establishing the basic ceremonial and religious institutions of Rome.
Ottoman Empire. The empire of the Ottoman Turks founded by Osman (1288–1320) in the fourteenth century. In 1453, the Ottomans captured Constantinople and destroyed the Byzantine Empire. Operated somewhat along feudal lines, the Ottoman Empire reached its zenith in the sixteenth century under Selim I when it embraced most of Greece and Hungary, as well as large portions of Persia and Arabia. After the Turkish failure to capture Vienna in 1683, the empire experienced a rapid decline in size and power. Defeated by British and Allied forces in World War I, the empire collapsed and Turkey came under the influence of a democratic movement begun at Angora in 1919 by Kemal Ataturk (1881–1938).
Patricians and plebeians. Two classes in the early Roman republic, the distinction between them based originally on clan affiliation. Later the terms took on a different meaning with patricians regarded as aristocratic or noble and plebeians as the mass of ordinary citizens.
Peloponnesian War (431–404 ). The protracted struggle for supremacy between Athens and Sparta. At the outset, Athens was more than able to hold its own, but with the Spartan victory at Amphipolis in 424 and the defection of the Athenian general Alcibiades to Sparta, Athenian fortunes began to wane. Though Athens did subsequently win some battles, the emergence of Lysander and the defeat of the Athenian navy at Aegospotami led to a Spartan victory. The Peloponnesian War brought an end to the golden age of Athens.
Peloponnesus. The southernmost portion of continental Greece, practically an island, being linked to the mainland by the narrow Isthmus of Corinth. Its principal regions in ancient times included Achaia (q.v.), Corinth, Archadia, Argolis, Elis, and Lacedaemonia (which embraced Laconia and Messenia, q.v.). Its main cities were Sparta, Corinth, Argos, and Megalopolis.
Pericles (ca. 495–429 ). Athenian statesman, general, and great orator who led a democratic Athens to the peak of its power. His attempt to increase the power of Athens on the Greek mainland was unsuccessful and the last years of his leadership witnessed increasing internal dissension, a great plague, and the start of the Peloponnesian War (q.v.).
Persia. An ancient empire whose center is known today as Iran. It reached its peak in the middle of the sixth century In the Persian Wars (500– 449 ), the Greek city-states successfully resisted Persian conquest. Key victories in these wars were those of the vastly outnumbered Spartans over Xerxes I at Thermopylae and the Athenian navy at Salamis, both in 480 After this, the Persian threat gradually disappeared.
Petition of Right (1628). A legislative document signed by Charles I (q.v.) that guaranteed freedom from arbitrary arrest and taxation, the unwarranted extension of martial law, and the billeting of troops in private homes by royal order. The Petition is regarded as one of the cornerstones of the English Constitution, and some of its provisions were incorporated into the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution.
Pfeffel, Christian Friedrich (1726 –1807). Legal advisor in the Department of Foreign Affairs to the king of Prussia. In 1777 his work New Abridged Chronology of the History and the Public Law of Germany was published in Paris.
Phidias (ca. 500–432 ). The greatest of the Greek sculptors whose works include the statue of Zeus at Olympia, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the gold and ivory statue of Athena in the Parthenon. He was commissioned by Pericles (q.v.) to do work on the Acropolis. The enormous expense of these works brought them both into disrepute. He was accused of misappropriating gold dedicated for use on statuary to his own use, but was acquitted when the gold was removed, weighed, and found to be complete. He was then accused of sacrilege. Some sources report that he was then condemned, imprisoned, and poisoned.
Philip of Macedon (Philip II) (382–336 ). King of Macedon, 359–336 Through military prowess and shrewd diplomacy, Philip led Macedonia to a position of supremacy in ancient Greece. With his victory over Phocis (346 ) he clearly established Macedon as the dominant force in central Greece. Complete domination followed with his victory over the combined forces of Athens and Thebes in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 Having established control over Greece, he was about to embark on an invasion of Persia when he was murdered by one of his attendants. It remained for his son, Alexander the Great (q.v.), to undertake this expedition.
Philip of Macedon (Philip V) (238–179 ). King of Macedon, 229–179 Philip was eventually defeated by the Romans in 197, after attempts to repel their advances into Greece. Upon his defeat, he provided the Romans with assistance in the campaigns to subdue the Greek city-states. In the last decade of his reign, he sought to consolidate what was left of his kingdom. His final military ventures were directed against the Balkans.
Philopoemen (ca. 252–182 ). Greek general who commanded the Achaean League (q.v.) at various times between 222 and 182 He brought Sparta into the League in 192 and under his leadership, with Roman backing, he was able to expand and dominate the league.
Phocians. Citizens of Phocis, an ancient state in central Greece north of the GulfofCorinth, which was involved in two sacred wars over control of the Temple at Delphi. The second war (356–346 ) ended with Philip of Macedon conquering Phocis and breaking up its federated cities into a number of small villages to prevent any further encroachments on the sacred grounds at Delphi.
Plato (ca. 421–341 ). Greek philosopher and student of Socrates whose works have had an enormous influence on Western thought. His philosophy is expressed in numerous dialogues, the most celebrated being The Republic, where he pictures the ideal state in which Guardians, or philosopher-kings, rule justly without the need for written laws.
Plebeian.See Patricians and plebeians.
Plutarch (ca. 46 –120). Greek author whose most famous work is Parallel Lives—commonly known as Plutarch’s Lives—containing forty-six paired biographies of Romans and Greeks, as well as four single biographies. These biographies have great literary merit, though not all are entirely accurate.
Polybius (ca. 203–120 ). Greek historian and political theorist whose surviving works deal with Greek and Roman institutions and practices. In 166 , Polybius was taken to Rome as a hostage with one thousand prominent Achaeans and kept there for seventeen years. He became a tutor and friend of important Romans, including Scipio the Younger. He accompanied Scipio on his military campaigns and was with him when Carthage (q.v.) fell in 145 When Greece became a Roman province, he used his good reputation with the Romans to gain concessions for his defeated countrymen. Later, Polybius wrote his History, which covered the period from 220 to 145 It filled forty books, only five of which have survived intact. An early proponent of a rudimentary form of the separation of powers, he is best noted for his belief that a “mixed” constitution—a combination of royal, aristocratic, and democratic elements—is superior to other forms of government.
Pompadour, Madame de (Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de) (1721–1764). Mistress of Louis XV of France whose beauty, ambition, cunning, and intelligence rendered her the virtual sovereign of France. She was responsible for the French-Austrian alliance that involved France in the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763).
Potosi. A city in the Andes of southern Bolivia resting at an elevation of nearly 14,000 feet. Near Potosi are silver deposits that the Spanish began mining in 1545. They rank among the richest in the world.
Praetor (of the Achaean League). The primary magistrate of the Achaean League (q.v.). Not to be confused with the praetors of Rome, the title given to the two consuls elected by the Comitia Centuriata. In his references to the “praetors of the Achaeans” in essays no. 18 and 70 of The Federalist, Publius is apparently referring to the strategia, the chief magistracy of the Achaean League, which commanded a large measure of civil authority and had virtually the sole power of introducing measures before the assembly. In this respect, the role of the strategia was similar to that of the Roman praetor (a term probably more familiar to the readers of The Federalist).
Prince of Orange.See William III.
Privy Council. An outgrowth of the Curia Regis of the Normans, the Privy Council consisted of the king’s closest officers and advisors. In the American colonial period, the Privy Council exercised a form of judicial review, disallowing acts of the colonial assemblies and reviewing final appeals from the colonial courts. Once a powerful administrative body in Great Britain, the Privy Council has been eclipsed by the modern cabinet system that evolved from it. Today the Privy Council is a purely formal body with little power.
Prussia. Originally a territory in what is now Germany, east of the Holy Roman Empire, stretching along the Baltic Sea for about 220 miles. The eastern part, conquered by the Teutonic Knights, formed the duchy of Prussia. It was acquired by the elector of Brandenburg in 1618. Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg was crowned Frederick I of Prussia in 1701. The western part, severed from the eastern half and assigned to Poland in 1466, was finally annexed to Prussia in 1772. With its highly trained and well-disciplined stand ing army, Prussia emerged as a major European power in the eighteenth century under Frederick I’s successors—Frederick William I (1688–1740) and Frederick II (“the Great”) (1712–1786).
Punic Wars. The three wars between Carthage (q.v.) and Rome (q.v.) fought over commercial control of the Mediterranean region. The first war (264 – 241 ) resulted in Roman expansion through the acquisition of Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia; the second (218–201 ) in the defeat of Carthage and the great Hannibal; and the third (149–146 ) in Carthage’s annihilation.
Rome. The capital city and center of both the Roman republic and the Roman Empire in the ancient world. The legendary date of its founding is April 21, 753 , when Romulus, the first king of Rome, built his settlement on the Palatine Hill. Rome grew in size and power, becoming the ruler of the Italian peninsula by 265 and the dominant nation in the western Mediterranean by the end of the Second Punic War (201 ). From the eighth century to 509 Rome was a monarchy. The Roman republic that succeeded it, wracked by turbulence and constant warfare, lasted until 46 , when Caius Julius Caesar (q.v.) was crowned dictator. After the assassination of Caesar and the defeat of Antony at Actium (31 ), Au gustus formally established the Roman Empire, which reached its zenith in the second century The empire was split into East and West during the rule of Diocletian ( 283–305) and, in 330, Constantinople became the official capital of the empire, replacing Rome. Rome fell to the Vandals in 455, and the empire in the West came to an official end in 476 when the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed.
Romulus. According to legend, Romulus and his twin brother, Remus— nursed by a she wolfand raised by a shepherd—founded Rome about 753 After a bitter quarrel, Romulus slew Remus and eventually ruled as Rome’s first king. The new city of Rome expanded and prospered under the wise rule of Romulus. At the end of his life he was said to have been carried off in his chariot to the heavens by Mars and thereafter was worshiped as a god by the Romans.
Rutherford’s (Rutherforth’s) Institutes. A treatise entitled Institutes of Natural Law (1754) written by Thomas Rutherforth. Delivered at Cambridge University as a series of lectures on the writings of Hugo Grotius, Rutherforth’s Institutes were widely read by American lawyers and reprinted in Baltimore as late as 1832. Of particular interest to Americans were his principles of legal interpretation. See Grotius, Hugo.
St. Croix, Abbé de.See Donawerth (Donauwerth).
Samnians (Samians). The Ionian inhabitants of the Greek island of Samos, located near Turkey (Asia Minor) in the Aegean Sea. Samos was the first Greek city to fall sway to Darius I, king of Persia. Pericles besieged Samos in 439 , however, and founded a democratic government there. In the last years of the Peloponnesian War (q.v.), Samos became an ally of Athens, but it was eventually taken by the Spartan leader Lysander, who in 404 established an oligarchy. It was retaken and colonized by Athens in 366 After the death of Alexander the Great (q.v.), Samos came under the domination of the Romans in 133 Marc Antony captured and sacked it in 39 , and its freedom was finally restored by Augustus. Among the famous sons of Samos were the philosopher Pythagoras and the sculptors Rhoecus and Theodorus, who invented the art of casting statues in bronze.
Saxony, electors of. The upper house of the Diet (q.v.) of the Holy Roman Empire originally (1356) consisted of seven, and later eight, prince-electors charged with the responsibility of electing the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The duke of Saxony was one of these seven.
Scipio the Elder [Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (Major)] ( 236 –183). The Roman general who defeated Hannibal, the leader of the Carthaginian army, at the Battle of Zarma (202 ), in the Second Punic War. Honoring him for his victory, Rome (q.v.) gave him the surname Africanus. Scipio later joined his brother to defeat Antiochus III of Syria in 190 Accused with his brother of accepting a bribe from Antiochus in 187, Scipio proclaimed his innocence and retired a bitter man to his country estate, where he remained until his death. His grandson (by adoption), Scipio the Younger [Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus (Minor)] (185–129 ) defeated Carthage (q.v.) in the Third Punic War (146 ). A brave soldier and a cultivated man of honor and virtue, Scipio the Younger is said to have represented the best in Roman character in the waning days of the republic. Cicero, who made him the main speaker in his political treatise De Republica, regarded Scipio’s era as the golden age of aristocratic government, before Rome became an empire.
Servius Tullius (578–534 ). The sixth king of Rome, who came to be honored by the Roman people and Senate. He is noted for his reform of the Roman constitution by reclassifying the elements of the population, thereby laying the foundation for the gradual political enfranchisement of the plebeians. Servius was the last legitimate king of Rome. He was murdered by his son-in-law, Tarquinius (Tarquinius Superbus Lucius), who seized the throne by force. Tarquinius became the seventh and last king.
Shays’s Rebellion. A rebellion of farmers led by Daniel Shays (1747–1825) in central and western Massachusetts, 1786–1787. The insurrection arose from the economic hardships facing the farmers, who found it increasingly difficult to discharge their debts. Although their immediate objective was to close down the local courts to prevent judgments against them, their long-term goal was to pressure the State into pursuing inflationary policies. The rebellion was easily quelled by State militia, but it was viewed with great alarm elsewhere and hastened the movement toward a stronger national government. Shays, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was later pardoned.
Socrates (469–399 ). Greek philosopher and Athenian citizen who is regarded as the founder of political philosophy and as one of the wisest men who ever lived. He was known as a great teacher whose technique of critical questioning, the Socratic method, bears his name. Powerful Athenians fearful that his teachings would undermine the Athenian state brought him to trial before an Athenian jury on charges of religious heresy and corrupting the minds of the young. Convicted and sentenced to death, he did not seize the opportunity to flee the city. Instead, emphasizing his debt to Athens and believing that his escape would be injurious to the state, he drank poisonous hemlock. Socrates wrote nothing. We know about him and his teachings largely through the writings of Plato and Xenophon.
Solon (ca. 638–559 ). Athenian statesman, lawgiver, and poet, celebrated in ancient history as one of the seven sages of Greece. In 594 he became Archon (a chief magistrate), q.v., and was given broad powers to correct the imbalance between the rich and the poor that was causing great social unrest. One of his major economic reforms was the annulment of a law that had placed debtors in slavery. He also softened the harsh Draconian Code, gave the peasants new political rights, expanded the number of elective offices, and reconstituted the courts to give all classes of citizens a share in the administration of justice. Because of these and other political reforms, Solon is often called the father of Athenian democracy. His name has passed into the English language as a synonym for a legislator or wise man. See also Draco (Dracon).
Spanish Main. During the period of the Spanish Conquest, the northern mainland of South America (the portion from the Isthmus of Panama to the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela) was known as the Spanish Main. The name was also applied to the Caribbean route that Spanish ships used in transporting the riches of the New World to Spain.
Sparta. City of ancient Greece and principal city in Lacedaemon (Laconia) (q.v.). By the seventh century Sparta was the center of literary activity, but shortly thereafter the cultivation of the military arts came to dominate. The society was divided into warriors, artisans, and slaves (helots). Only the warriors (Spartiates) were full citizens and freed from the necessity of earning their livelihood. They were thus free to devote their lives to the service of the state. The city was governed by a constitution presumably decreed by the semilegendary Lycurgus (q.v.) that provided for two kings and five ephors. Sparta played a major role in repelling the Persians and rose to dominance for a short time after defeating the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War (404 , q.v.). It was defeated by the Thebans at the Battle of Leuctra (371 , q.v.) and subsequently conquered by Philip of Macedon. It disappeared almost entirely soon after the Roman incursions.
Suabia (Swabia), circle of. The Swabian circle or league, fully established in 1559, was one of the zones into which Germany was divided for purposes of administration. The Swabian circle consisted of more than twenty cities.
Tamony. The pseudonym of an anonymous Anti-Federalist from Virginia, who wrote a letter on the dangers of the presidency, contending that the great prerogatives of the office would inspire “reverential awe.” The letter first appeared in the Virginia Independent Chronicle in January 1788 and was reprinted the following month in Philadelphia and New York newspapers.
Temple, Sir William (1628–1699). English statesman, diplomat, and writer. Temple was one of the great diplomats of his time. His most brilliant achievement was the negotiation of the Triple Alliance between England, the United Netherlands, and Sweden in 1668. As ambassador to the Hague, he arranged the 1677 marriage between William III, prince of Orange, and Princess Mary, the daughter of King James II (q.v.), who assumed the throne after the Glorious, or Bloodless, Revolution (1688–1689, q.v.) in England. In 1679 he be came a member of the Privy Council (q.v.) which gave him considerable influence in domestic affairs, but he lost interest in the Council after seeing that it was being used by the king to rubber stamp policies he opposed. He was removed from the Council in 1681 and went into retirement, though only fifty-three years of age. He devoted the remainder of his life to writing essays and his memoirs, while maintaining an extensive correspondence. Edited by his secretary, Jonathan Swift, The Works of William Temple (4 volumes) went through many editions, the first appearing posthumously in 1720.
Thebans. Residents of thebes, an ancient city of Boeotia, Greece; a region northwest of Attica between the Gulf of Corinth and the north Gulf of Eubia. OriginallyembitteredagainstAthens,ThebesfavoredPersiainthePersianWar and Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (q.v.). Later it joined the confederacy against Sparta, its guarantee of independence from Sparta coming with its victory at the Battle of Leuctra (371 , q.v.). Shortly thereafter, Thebes joined Athens against Philip of Macedon (q.v.), which led to their defeat at Chaeronea (338 ), the second of the Sacred Wars. Thebes was reduced to rubble by Alexander the Great (q.v.) in 336 when it revolted against his authority.
Theseus. Athenian hero and father of Attica in Greek legend. He was the son of Aegeus, king of Athens. Upon his father’s death, Theseus became king and established an orderly government that prepared the way for Greek democracy. He later surrendered the throne and gave Athens a constitution. In his absence, the people became corrupt and did not welcome his return. In sadness, he went to the island of Scyrus, where he owned estates. Lycomedes, the king, welcomed Theseus and pretended friendship, but pushed him off a cliff to his death. According to tradition, an image of theseus in full armor rose up after his death to lead the Athenians against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon (490 ). The Athenians worshiped Theseus as the founder of their city and as a hero, but they never declared him a god.
Thuanus (Thou, Jacques Auguste de) (1553–1617). French statesman and historian who sought to bring objectivity to the study of history. His principal work was A History of His Own Time, published posthumously in its completed form in 1620. Thuanus also played an important role in drafting the exalted Edict of Nantes, a declaration of religious toleration.
Tribune. An officer or magistrate in ancient Rome chosen by the people or plebeians to protect them from the oppression of the patricians or nobles and defend their liberties from abridgment by the Senate and consuls. The office was created in 494 by the Senate to pacify the common people, who had seceded from Rome in protest against patrician abuses. At first there were two Tribunes, then their number was increased to five, and ultimately to ten. Tribunes could bring an off ending patrician before the Comitia Centuriata, take a seat in the Senate, halt proceedings instituted before a magistrate, propose public measures, issue edicts, and even suspend decrees of the Senate. Their powers were extensive in the period of the republic but were substantially reduced by the Roman emperors.
Tullius Hostilius (Tullus) (672–640 ). The third king of Rome. Tullus, who succeeded the pious and peace-loving Numa, was noted for his warlike manner and military prowess. Not the least of his victories was the defeat of the Sabines. One of his lasting achievements was building a Senate chamber, named (for him) the Curia Hostilia, which was used until its destruction by fire in 52
Union, Act of (1707). Legislation that established the union between England and Scotland under one parliament. Under its terms Scotland was given representation in the Parliament of Great Britain. This union was opposed by the Jacobites.
United Provinces (Netherlands). The Netherlands, consisting of seventeen provinces, were dominions of Spain in the early sixteenth century. When Charles V abdicated in 1555, his son, Philip II, succeeded him to the throne. The Netherlands thereafter erupted in religious conflict and political revolt, weakening Spanish rule. Led by Holland, the seven northern provinces broke away in 1579 to form the United Provinces under the Union (treaty) of Utrecht. The United Provinces, also known as the United Netherlands or Dutch Republic, declared their independence in 1581. A powerful confederacy in the seventeenth century, the United Provinces entered into a period of decline after 1715. They lasted until 1795, when they fell victim to the French Revolution and were displaced by the Batavian republic, a client state of France.
Utrecht, Union of (1579).See United Provinces (Netherlands).
Vassal. One who held land (fief) in the feudal order on condition that he swear allegiance and fidelity to his lord and perform certain duties, including military service. See Feudalism.
Venice. A city, capital of the Venetia region, in northeast Italy, built on islets in the Gulf of Venice. It was settled in the fifth century by refugees from the Lombard invasion of northern Italy. From the late seventh century to the beginning of the fourteenth, Venice was a republic ruled by an elected Doge. The government assumed an oligarchic character in 1310 when the effective sovereign authority was transferred to the Council of Ten. From the tenth through the fifteenth centuries, with the conquests of Venetia, Cyprus, and Crete, Venice grew to become a leading maritime power. Its commercial decline, which began in the late fifteenth century, was virtually complete by the early 1700s, after the loss of all its overseas possessions. After French and Austrian rule, Venice became part of Italy in 1866.
Victor Amadeus II (1666 –1732). Duke of Savoy, then king of Sicily, and later king of Sardinia. Victor Amadeus is famous for his diplomatic skill in forging alliances that made the House of Savoy a European power in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Noteworthy is the Treaty of Turin (1696), which gave Savoy many favorable terms, including more territory. In 1730 he abdicated his crown in favor of his son, Charles Emmanuel III, and retired to Chambery.
Westphalia, Treaty of (Peace of Westphalia) (1648). The settlement that ended the Thirty Years’ War. Under the terms of two treaties which constituted the settlement, the Hapsburg control over central Europe was considerably weakened, with the recognition that the Holy Roman Empire constituted little more than a confederacy of independent sovereign states. The French gained Alsace and some border territory, while the independence of the United Provinces was officially recognized. The terms of the peace opened the door for French ascendancy on the continent.
William III (1650–1702). King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1689–1702. As prince of Orange of Holland, William married the eldest daughter of James II (q.v.) in 1677. With Mary he accepted the English throne after the Glorious Revolution in 1688. Upon assuming power he was obliged to sign the Bill of Rights (q.v.), which greatly limited royal power and granted numerous individual rights. He also signed the Act of Settlement (1701), a statute that established the line of succession for the crown for all time and thereby acknowledged the supremacy of Parliament under the English Constitution.
Wolsey (Thomas Cardinal Wolsey).See Henry VIII.
Wyoming (Wyoming Valley). An area of colonial northeastern Pennsylvania to which both Pennsylvania and Connecticut laid claim. The competing claims led to considerable friction among the settlers, producing the Pennamite wars (1754) and a massacre of settlers (1778). The conflict was resolved in 1799 largely in favor of Pennsylvania.
Yates, Abraham (1724–1796). A prominent New York politician and Anti-Federalist pamphleteer from Albany. Yates headed the committee that drafted New York State’s first constitution and served in the Continental Congress, 1787–1788. As a follower of Governor George Clinton, he strongly opposed a more powerful central government. He is not to be confused with Robert Yates, the Anti-Federalist who served as a delegate from New York in the Federal Convention.
Xerxes I (ca. 519–465 ). The Great King of Persia (486– 465 ) who, with a large combined land and naval force, tried to conquer Greece. His army captured and burned Athens, but his naval forces were decisively defeated at the Battle of Salamis (480 ) by the Athenian navy. The subsequent defeat of his army at Plataea (479 ) effectively ended the Persian threat. Persia was so weakened that it never fully recovered. Xerxes was later assassinated in a palace conspiracy.
Zeland (Zealand). One of the northern provinces of the Netherlands, Zeland was a charter member of the Union of Utrecht (1579).