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REGIMEN MEDIUM: EXECUTIVE POWER IN EARLY-MODERN POLITICAL THOUGHT

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Abstract:

The notion of a distinct 'executive power' was famously employed by Locke and Montesquieu; but the term potestas executiva, coined by medieval canonists, had been adopted by the early sixteenth-century theologian Cajetan, who located it as regimen medium in his defence of papal power against a revived 'conciliarist' challenge. The distinction between legislative sovereignty and a power effectively executive (though not always so designated) was used in post- Reformation political controversy and in Bodin's République. From those beginnings it was developed by mid-seventeenth-century writers, from whom it passed to Locke; and the concept of the executive as a 'mediating' power was notably echoed by Rousseau.

Keywords: Bodin; Buchanan; Cajetan; Hunton; Lawson; Mair; Nedham; Rutherford; architectonic power; counsel; discretionary/decision-making power; executive as including judicial power; executive as subordinate; executive power; inchoate contitutive power; legislation vs administration; majestas realis/personalis; prerogative power/arcana imperii; separation of powers; soevereignty vs government

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 6 Chiltern House, Hillcrest Road, London W5 1HL

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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