On the downfall of the Roman empire the Germanic invaders brought back for a season the primitive ideas of buying off vengeance and keeping the peace through arbitrary peaceful solution of disputes by mechanical modes of trial and hard and fast rules. But during the Middle Ages these conceptions gradually yielded to the classical idea of the legal order as a means of preserving the social status quo, the more since the latter was fortified by the unassailable authority of texts of scripture and of the Roman law. Moreover, from the thirteenth century on, philosophers more and more sought to sustain authority by reason, and in this way they prepared the way for a new conception which developed in the seventeenth century. For by that time two events of capital importance had compelled a complete revolution in legal and political philosophy. In the first place the Reformation had divorced the philosophy of law and of politics from theology and had set them free from the authority of the church. This was the work of the Protestant jurist theologians of the sixteenth century.〖See Harvard Classics, xxxvi, 336.〗 Secondly, following the nationalist movement which resulted from the breakdown of the unifying and universal authorities of the Middle Ages, the church and the empire,〖For this nationalist idea see H. C., xxxvi, 7.〗 the Germanists overthrew the idea of the binding authority of the Roman law in modern Europe. Accordingly it became necessary to find new bases for legal and political authority, and those bases were found in reason and in contract, or the consent and agreement of the individual.〖H. C., xxxiv, 309.〗

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