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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
PRAGMATIC SANCTION (Lat. pragmatica sanctio, from the Gr. irpay,ua, business), originally a term of the later Roman law. It is found in the Theodosian and Justinian codes, together with such variants as a pragmaticum, pragmatica jussio, command; annotatio, an imperial rescript; constitutio, a regulation; 1 German Schultz or Schultze (Schultheiss), meaning the head-man of a township, latinized into praetor or praetorius. Many other members of the family of Praetorius were eminent as musicians.
and pragmaticum rescriptum. It was a decision of the state dealing with some interest greater than a question in dispute between private persons, and was given for some community ( universitas hominum ) and for a public cause. In more recent times it was adopted by those countries which followed the Roman law, and in particular by despotically governed countries where the rulers had a natural tendency to approve of the maxims and to adopt the language of the imperial Roman lawyers. A pragmatic sanction, as the term was used by them, was an expression of the will of the sovereign or "the prince," defining the limits of his own power, or regulating the succession. Justinian regulated the government of Italy after it had been reconquered from the Ostrogoths by pragmatic sanctions. In after ages the king of France, Charles VII., imposed limits. on the claims of the popes to exercise jurisdiction in his dominions
by the pragmatic sanction of Bourges in 1438. The emperor Charles VI. settled the law of succession for the dominions of the house of Habsburg by pragmatic sanction first published on the 19th of April 1713, and thereby prepared the way for the great war which ensued upon his death. Philip V., the first of the Bourbon kings of Spain, introduced the Salic law by a. pragmatic sanction, and his descendant, Ferdinand VII., revoked it by another. The term was not used in England even for such things as the will by which Henry VIII. regulated the succession to the throne, which would have been a pragmatic sanction in a country of the Roman law. The term and the thing signified by it have become obsolete owing to the spread of constitutional government in modern Europe.
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Pragmatic Sanction'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/p/pragmatic-sanction.html. 1910.