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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 69, 2018

Political Philosophy

Silvio Gabriel Serrano Nunes
Pages 351-355

The Origin and Meaning of the Term “Fundamental Laws” In Theodore Beza’s Political Thought of Resistance and Constitutionalism

This paper aims to analyse the political thought of Theodore Beza (Latin ‘Theodorus Beza’, French ‘Théodore de Bèze’ or ‘de Besze’), focusing on his construction of a right of resistance to be exercised by the Huguenot party, that had him as one of the most prominent leaders of its cause. This right of resistance was based on an empowerment of the “lesser magistrates” and the “Estates-General” of France (and even in others political communities) to offer resistance against a tyrannical government. In his most important political written published in 1574 (the French version) “On the Right of Magistrates over their Subjects” (French “Du Droit des Magistrats sur leurs Sujets”), it is noticed an important fact to the history of the political thought that is the creation of the expression “fundamental laws” (French ‘lois fondamentales’), that in our current days in many countries is used as synonym of “Constitution”. Although the resemblances of the use of the expression, in Beza’s times it had a loose sense when compared with nowadays usage.

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