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The family of man

“Every citizen must be free, and not undergo another’s despotism, that is, slavish dominion. But this would not be the case if one or a few of the citizens by their own authority made the law over the whole body of citizens. For those who thus made the law would be despots over the others, and hence such a law, however good it was, would be endured only with reluctance, or not at all, by the rest of the citizens, the more ample part. Having suffered contempt, they would protest against it, and not having been called upon to make it, they would not observe it. On the other hand, a law made by the hearing or consent of the whole multitude, even though it were less useful, would be readily observed and endured by every one of the citizens, because each then would seem to have set the law upon himself, and hence would have no protest against it, but would rather tolerate it with equanimity.” – Marsilius dei Mainardi, The Defender of Peace (trans. Gewirth)

Published inLit & CritMedieval PhilosophyPolitics & Law

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