By Henry Sumner, Sir Maine
Creation by way of J. H. MORGAN
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Extra resources for Ancient Law: Its Connection to the History of Early Society
These singularities of view were not altered on the partition of the inheritance of Charlemagne among his three grandsons. Charles the Bald, Lewis, and Lothair were still theoretically -- if it be proper to use the word -- Emperors of Rome. Just as the Caesars of the Eastern and Western Empires had each been de jure emperor of the whole world, with defacto control over half of it, so the three Carlovingians appear to have considered their power as limited, but their title as unqualified. The same speculative universality of sovereignty continued to be associated with the Imperial throne after the second division on the death of Charles the Fat, and, indeed, was never thoroughly dissociated from it so long as the empire of Germany lasted.
Accordingly they came forward as aspirants to universal empire. Their motive has been greatly misapprehended. It has been taken for granted by recent French writers that Charlemagne was far before his age, quite as much in the character of his designs as in the energy with which he prosecuted them. Whether it be true or not that anybody is at any time before his age, it is certainly true that Charlemagne, in aiming at an unlimited dominion, was emphatically taking the only course which the characteristic ideas of his age permitted him to follow.
Rousseau's belief was that a perfect social order could be evolved from the unassisted consideration of the natural state, a social order wholly irrespective of the actual condition of the world and wholly unlike it. The great difference between the views is that one bitterly and broadly condemns the present for its unlikeness to the ideal past; while the other, assuming the present to be as necessary as the past, does not affect to disregard or censure it. It is not worth our while to analyse with any particularity that philosophy of politics, art, education, ethics, and social relation which was constructed on the basis of a state of nature.