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Bodin, Jean (1530–1596)

Jean Bodin, perhaps born in 1529, in Angers, France, died in Laon, France. Scholars principally remember him for his theory of sovereignty, which provided a central organizing principle for the development of the modern legal theory of the state.

Bodin was born into a successful bourgeois family. He studied and taught civil law at the University of Toulouse during the 1550s and then moved to Paris to practice law in 1560 or 1561. In 1571, he was appointed master of requests and counselor to the Duke of Alençon, one of France's royal princes. In 1576, chosen as a deputy for the Third Estate for Vermandois at the Estates-General of Blois, he opposed royal policies on religion and taxation that caused him to lose favor with the ...

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