The scope and meaning of the term “police” in the political literature of the late Republic of Nobles
- Issue date
Oficyna Wydawnicza AFM
Studia z Dziejów Państwa i Prawa Polskiego 2020, T. XXIII, s. 142-156.
- Historia; Politologia; Prawo
- administration; history of administration; police; police science; internal state administration; eighteenth-century political literaturę; administracja; historia administracji; policja; nauka policji; zarząd wewnętrzny państwa; literatura polityczna XVIII wieku
The term “police” (Polish: policja) derives from the Greek politeia, originally meaning the state system. Starting in the fifteenth century, and especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it became synonymous with the word “administration” sensu largo. In Poland, from the eighteenth century onwards, despite the lack of reception of the principles of the Western European police science, it also began to be used in this sense. Attempts to defi ne “police” were made by Polish political writers, from Stanisław Leszczyński to the authors of the political reform of the state at the Four-Year Sejm. The term was understood broadly, in the case of most writers as meaning the internal order of the state, but also in the sense of the so-called service administration, thus the fi re police, building police, medical police, road police, etc., i.e. everything that contributed to the welfare of society. The administration of justice was oft en included in the scope of police responsibilities. Both supporters and opponents of state reform, admirers of the republican form of government and proponents of the idea of a strong state modelled on absolute monarchies wrote about the police. Most Polish authors, however, understood the police not as a means to strengthen state power, but as a way to ensure “proper order”, i.e., security, peace and the comfort of the public.
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