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Burlamaqui: The Principles of Natural Law and of Politic Law (1748)


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“Burlamaqui formulated the principles of popular sovereignty, of delegated power, of a constitution as a fundamental law, of a personal and functional separation of powers into three independent departments… and finally, he provided for an institutional guardian of the fundamental law.” Burlamaqui’s other great achievement was to put Pufendorf’s theories into systematic form. Marvin stated a general opinion when he observed that “his works are deservedly held in high esteem.” Blackstone was one of many jurists influenced by Burlamaqui’s work. J.G. Marvin, Legal Bibliography (1847) 162. Harvey, Jean Jacques Burlamaqui: A Liberal Tradition in American Constitutionalism 178-179.

Translated into English by Thomas Nugent, 1748 & 1752. Volumes 1 & 2, 324 pages, 60 chapters, with handy bookmarks. Available in .pdf and .prc file formats for reading on your PC, e-reader, tablet or smart phone. This is a fully digital edition of this work – it is not a hard copy publication or facsimile edition. All footnotes are included, and spelling has been modernized. This electronic edition © Copyright 2003, 2005 Lonang Institute.  Click here to view this book in its entirety.

“My design is to inquire into those rules, which nature alone prescribes to man, in order to conduct him safely to the end, which every one has, and indeed ought to have, in view, namely, true and solid happiness. The system or assemblage of these rules, considered as so many laws, imposed by God on man, is generally distinguished by the name of Natural Law. This science includes the most important principles of morality, jurisprudence, and politics; that is, whatever is most interesting in respect as well to man, as to society. There can be nothing therefore more deserving of the application of a rational being, of a being, that has its perfection and felicity seriously at heart. A just knowledge of the maxims, we ought to follow in the course of life, is the principal object of wisdom.”    J.J. Burlamaqui, from The Principles of Natural Law.

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