NEUTRALITY AND PARTISANSHIP IN CIVIL WAR: BODIN, GRÉGOIRE, LIPSIUS AND MONTAIGNE

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Abstract

One of Solon’s laws punished citizens who fail to take sides in the event of a civil war. Among the very few sixteenth-century political writers who defended Solon’s law we find Jean Bodin, Justus Lipsius and Michel de Montaigne (the latter two possibly reacting to Pierre Grégoire’s criticism of Bodin). This article retrieves the justifications offered by these writers for taking sides in a civil war in the context of what should be seen as an exercise in humanist casuistry. According to Bodin, citizens may strategically join a party in order to restrain fellow partisans. Lipsius and Montaigne seem to agree with Grégoire that Bodin is too optimistic about the strategic partisan’s capacity to restrain his fellows. In response, Lipsius de-emphasizes restraint of others as a justification for partisanship. Montaigne, by contrast, rejects Bodin’s assumption of partisan unreasonability and emphasizes the partisan’s capacity of self-moderation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)48-62
Number of pages15
JournalHistory of Political Thought
Volume44
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Civil War
  • Jean Bodin
  • Justus Lipsius
  • Michel de Montaigne
  • Neutrality
  • Partisanship
  • Pierre Grégoire
  • Solon

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy

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