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Samuel Pufendorf, The Constitution of the German Empire (1667)

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Thus, we can best define the state of Germany as a close approximation of a federation of several states, in which one prince, as the leader of the federation, occupies the foremost position and is shrouded in the outer appearance of royal power. In the next chapter, we will deal with the serious diseases afflicting this body. [ . . . ]

If the German Empire had a monarchical constitution, then the Empire’s greatness and strength could be a threat to all of Europe, but it is so weakened by internal diseases and upheavals that it can barely defend itself. The main cause of the evil is the disharmonious and disordered makeup of the state. A multitude of people, no matter how great, is not stronger than a single person as long as everyone follows his own course; all power derives from union. Even if the multitudes do not grow together into a natural body, the powers of the multitudes can still unite, insofar as they allow themselves to be guided by a uniform decision as if by one soul. The firmer and more organized the union, the stronger the society; a loose and flawed fusion of the parts necessarily leads to weakness and disease. The most perfect union and the one best suited to endurance is a well-established monarchy. For aristocracies, apart from the fact that they can survive only in places where the essential powers of a state are concentrated in one city, are by nature frailer than monarchies. The illustrious Republic of Venice is an exception that numbers among the miracles. Confederations of states joined together by alliances among several states are connected much more loosely and fall prey to internal unrest or even dissolution far more easily. If confederations of states are to attain a certain stability nonetheless, the allied states must have the same system of government, the balance of power between them must be nearly equal, the union should provide the same benefit to all, and, finally, the association should have been formed only after careful consideration and according to well-refined principles. For states that slither into a league carelessly, spontaneously, and without having thoroughly contemplated and organized its future constitution in advance have just as little chance of forming a harmonious body as a tailor has of making a fashionable piece of clothing if he cuts the cloth to size before deciding whether it is for a man or a woman. It has long been observed that monarchies and free states rarely enter into leagues with one another in good faith even briefly, let alone for a long time; for the princes detest popular liberty and the people fear the princes’ pride. Indeed, human nature is so corrupted that hardly any stronger party can calmly consider the weaker an equal. And whoever is left with no part, or very little part, of the common profit will refuse to shoulder the common burden.

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