The Constitution of the Holy Roman Empire after 1648: Samuel Pufendorf's Assessment in his 'Monzambano'

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Schröder, P. (1999)
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

The examination of Pufendorf's Monzambano shows that he was strongly interested in the question of sovereignty, and that the complex reality of the Holy Roman Empire demanded a completely new approach to the question of where sovereignty within the Empire lay. Pufendorf developed his account of the Empire as an irregular political system by using essential aspects of Hobbes's theory and thus departed from all previous writers on the forma imperii. But Pufendorf's writing on the Empire has not only to be linked with political and philosophical discussion about sovereignty within the Empire but also with his own main writings where he developed a more detailed theory regarding the issue of sovereignty in general. The peace of Westphalia was not only an international settlement but it also shaped the constitution of the Empire to a considerable degree, and this is of crucial significance for the history of political thought during the seventeenth century.
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