Determining The Sovereignty On The Ground Of State-Citizen Relations In Cicero And Bodin’s Works

Çelik F., Şahin K.

Review of History and Political Science, vol.2, pp.43-67, 2014 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Determining the Sovereignty on the Ground of State-Citizen Relations in Cicero and Bodin’s Works Fikret Çelik, Kamil Sahin Abstract At the every period in historical evolutions of societies, the individual or public use of power in the name of public, the order in the society and its maintenance encounter every society as a highly controversial issue in the scope of political structure. In relation to the entire principles as the ground for right and limits of the use of power and to the presentation of the transformation of discussions on “sovereignty”, the comparison of Roman Republic thinker Cicero’s “understanding of sovereignty as based on the citizen”, with 17th century French thinker and lawmaker Bodin’s “understanding of sovereignty as based on the state”, is significant in the sense of understanding modern period discussions on sovereignty. Since, on one hand Cicero, in a period where individual honor and virtue is considered as very important, had grounded and legitimated the sovereignty relations between the state and the citizen on the awareness of citizenship and reciprocal responsibilities, in order for the maintenance of state’s stability and perpetuity. This kind of legitimization of sovereignty, after Cicero, is seen only in the Enlightenment and following periods. On the other hand, Bodin, after a period where sovereignty unconditionally depended on the divine obedience, had tried to legitimate the sovereignty under worldly conditions in a rational way. Bodin’s conceptualization of sovereignty as such is considered as an initiative for taking the mind and individuality to the stage again in terms of legitimacy of the sovereignty. From this point of view, this emergent situation; it should be noted that it is not a new kind of understanding; can be regarded as significant in the sense of providing the ground for modern period understanding of the politics in the scope of legitimizing the sovereignty.