chapter  5
23 Pages

The Bounds of Coercive Authority

Sovereignty and Rebellion

Grotius' de Imperio outlines his concepts of governing authority, rebellion, and civil disobedience, and shows that the right of sovereignty is only a beginning one that points to a responsibility of action. He begins the work by defining the term "supreme power" as that which has governing authority, and is subject to no other authority except God. Grotius thus provides an important conceptual separation between the speculative function of theologians and the unifying function of governors, which are discussed in this chapter. The chapter examines the holder of the jus, showing that one may have jus alone, or one may have jus along with the knowledge, wisdom, moderation, and prudence to exercise it well. Grotius' conception of sovereignty appears to be that of modern political science: unitary and systematic. A Grotian political science looks to the interpenetration of indicative and imperative rule and examines the interrelationship between the beliefs of the official politeuma and the unofficial politeia.