Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(1,624 words)

1. Introduction

The German term Rechtsstaat (literally “state [constituted by] law”) denotes a state that is founded on the just rule of law. Although it is unique to German, having been coined in the doctrines of German government law, similar concepts are found in all democratic western constitutions concerned with liberty, which bind the exercise of state authority to the law. The guiding idea, from Plato’s nomocracy to the American “government of law and not of men,” (Supre…

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Pállinger, Zoltán Tibor, “Rechtsstaat”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 28 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_026252>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210107

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