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Jean Bodin is best known for his theory of unified sovereignty. He argued that the power in the state could only be vested in a powerful sovereign, or monarch, that was accountable to no other power than natural law. As such, he is often cited as an early theorist of absolutism, the theory of monarchy that would reach its fullest realization with the reign of Louis XIV of France in the seventeenth century. To understand his emphasis on the unified power of the monarchy, one can look to his own life, which witnessed the violent civil wars in sixteenth century France. Bodin understandably valued order, and believed that a powerful, unified sovereign was best suited to provide order. The fact that the wars in France were rooted in religious struggle between Protestant Huguenots and Catholics helps explain why he valued religious tolerance, another important contribution of his. Bodin also developed a "quantitative" theory of money that helped explain another important development during his own time, the rampant inflation that most agree resulted from, among other things, a massive influx of silver from the New World. Bodin raised questions about the proper relationship between sovereign and subject that still resonate in political science and philosophy today.
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