Thus far we have discussed the general elements of politics. We turn now to types of association or of symbiotic life. Every association is either simple and private,[1] or mixed and public.[2]

The simple and private association is a society and symbiosis initiated by a special covenant (pactum) among the members for the purpose of bringing together and holding in common a particular interest (quid peculiare). This is done according to their agreement and way of life, that is, according to what is necessary and useful for organized private symbiotic life. Such an association can rightly be called primary, and all others derivative from it. For without this primary association others are able neither to arise nor to endure.

The efficient causes of this simple and private association and symbiosis are individual men covenanting among themselves to communicate whatever is necessary and useful for organizing and living in private life. Whence arises the particular and private union and society among the covenanters, whose bond (vinculum) is trust granted and accepted in their communication of mutual aid, counsel, and right (jus).[3] And such an association, because it is smaller than a public and universal one, also requires less extended communication, support, and assistance.

The members of the private association are individuals harmoniously united under one head and spirit, as members of the same body. For, as Peter Gregory says, 'just as there is one end for the sake of which nature made the thumb, another the hand or foot, still another the whole man; so there is one end to which nature directs the individual man, another the family, and another the city and realm. But that end is most to be esteemed for which nature made the whole man. Accordingly, it is not to be thought that since there is a definite end for each type of assemblage there is none for the whole, nor that since there is order in the parts of human life there is only confusion in the more inclusive kind of life, nor lastly that since the parts are united among themselves by reason of their intending one end the whole itself is disunited.'[4]

The particular interest that is communicated among the symbiotes by a special covenant of this kind, and through which they are united as by a certain bond, consists in symbiotic right (jus symbioticum),[5] together with structure and good order for communicating it with consensus, mutual service, and common advantage. Symbiotic right is what the private symbiote fulfills on behalf of his fellow symbiote in the private association, which varies according to the nature of the association.... Because of this symbiotic right, the private association often performs as one person, and is acknowledged to be one person....

There are two types of simple and private association. The first is natural, and the second is civil.[6] The private and natural symbiotic association is one in which married persons, blood relatives, and in-laws, in response to a natural affection and necessity, agree to a definite communication among themselves. Whence this individual, natural, necessary, economic, and domestic society is said to be contracted permanently among these symbiotic allies of life, with the same boundaries as life itself, Therefore it is rightly called the most intense society, friendship, relationship, and union, the seedbed of every other symbiotic association. Whence these symbiotic allies are called relatives, kinsmen, and friends.

This simple and private natural association is nourished, fostered, and conserved by private functions and occupations through which these associated symbiotes communicate each to the other every aid and assistance needed in this symbiosis. They do this according to the judgment of the chief and the laws (leges) of good order and proper discipline prescribed by him for inferior symbiotes. These functions are either agricultural, industrial, or commercial....[7]

Moreover, there are two kinds of private and natural domestic association. The first is conjugal (conjugalis), and the second is kinship (propinqua).[8] The conjugal association and symbiosis is one in which the husband and wife, who are bound each to the other communicate the advantages and responsibilities of married life....[9] The director and governor of the common affairs pertaining to this association is the husband. The wife and family are obedient, and do what is commanded.

The advantages and responsibilities are either proper to one of the spouses, or common to both. Proper advantages and responsibilities are either those the husband communicates to his wife, or those the wife communicates to her husband. The husband communicates to his wife his name, family, reputation, station in life, and economic condition....[10] He also provides her with guidance, legal protection, and defence against violence and injury.... Finally, he supplies her with all other necessities, such as management, solicitude, food, and clothing....

The wife extends to her husband obedience, subjection, trust, compliance, services, support, aid, honour, reverence, modesty, and respect. She brings forth children for him, and nurses and trains them. She joins and consoles him in misery and calamity. She accommodates herself to his customs, and without his counsel and consent she does nothing. And thus she renders to her husband an agreeable and peaceful life....

Instead, their functions of exporting agricultural and industrial surpluses, and importing what is not found locally, are presented merely in terms of the standards of conduct they ought to observe. Moreover, merchants are acknowledged to be 'the feet of the body politic' inasmuch as they provide contact with the outside world.]

There are also common advantages and responsibilities that are provided and communicated by both spouses, such as kindness, use of the body for avoiding harlotry and for procreating children, mutual habitation except when absence may be necessary, intimate and familiar companionship, mutual love, fidelity, patience, mutual service, communication of all goods and right (jus), ... management of the family, administration of household duties, education of children in the true religion, protection against and liberation from perils, and mourning of the dead....

The kinship association is one in which relatives and in-laws are united for the purpose of communicating advantages and responsibilities. This association arises from at least three persons, but it can be conserved by fewer. Frequently it consists of a much larger number.... He is called the leader (princeps) of the family, or of any tribe of people, who is placed over such a family or tribe, and who has the right to coerce (jus coercendi) the persons of his family individually and collectively....

The rights communicated among the persons who are united in this natural association are called rights of blood (jura sanguinis). They consist partly in advantages, partly in responsibilities, and in the bringing together and sustaining these advantages mutually among the kinsmen.... Such advantages are, first, the affection, love, and goodwill of the blood relative and kinsman. From this affection arises the solicitude by which the individual is concerned for the welfare and advantages of his kinsman, and labours for them no less than for his own.... Second among the advantages of the family and kinsmen I refer to the communion in all the rights and privileges belonging to the family and relationship. And to this point I refer the enjoyment of the clan or family name, and of its insignia.... Third among the common rights of the family and relationship I refer to the provision for support in case of necessity or want. Fourth, a privilege granted to one of the kinsmen is extended by right of relationship to his family, wife, children, and even brother....

The responsibilities of the family and relationship are services and works that the member owes to his kinsman, such as forethought, care, and defence of the family and of the members of the household.... The leadership in meeting these responsibilities rests upon the paterfamilias as master and head of his family.... Upon the older members of the family rests the duty of correcting and reprehending their younger kinsmen for mistakes of youthful indiscretion and hotheadedness....

These advantages and responsibilities are intensified as the degree of relationship among the kinsmen increases. Therefore they are greater between parents and children. For parents should educate their children, instruct them in the true knowledge of God, govern and defend them, even lay up treasures for them, make them participants in everything they themselves have, including their family and station in life, provide suitable marriage for them at the right time, and upon departing from life make them their heirs and provide optimally for them....[11]

Certain political writers eliminate, wrongly in my judgment, the doctrine of the conjugal and kinship private association from the field of politics and assign it to economics. Now these associations are the seedbed of all private and public associational life. The knowledge of other associations is therefore incomplete and defective without this doctrine of conjugal and kinship associations, and cannot be rightly understood without it. I concede that the skill of attending to household goods, of supplying, increasing, and conserving the goods of the family, is entirely economic, and as such is correctly eliminated from politics. But altogether different from this is association among spouses and kinsmen, which is entirely political and general, and which communicates things, services, rights, and aid for living the domestic and economic life piously, justly, and beneficially. Economic management, however, concerns merely household goods — how much and by what means they may be furnished, augmented, and conserved. By such management the skill is made available for cultivating fields, tending herds, ploughing, sowing, reaping, planting, pruning, and doing all kinds of agricultural work. But by politics alone arises the wisdom for governing and administering the family. It is politics that teaches what the spouses, paterfamilias, materfamilias, servants, and attendants may contribute and communicate among themselves — and what the kinsmen among themselves — in order that private and domestic social life may be piously and justly fulfilled.

So therefore economics and politics differ greatly as to subject and end. The subject of the former is the goods of the family; its end is the acquisition of whatever is necessary for food and clothing. The subject of the latter, namely politics, is pious and just symbiosis; its end is the governing and preserving of association and symbiotic life.

Furthermore, certain persons wrongly assert that every symbiotic association is public, and none private. Now this axiom stands firm and fixed: all symbiotic association and life is essentially, authentically, and generically political. But not every symbiotic association is public. There are certain associations that are private, such as conjugal and kinship families, and collegia. And these are the seedbeds of the public association. Whence it follows that the private association is rightly attributed to politics.

1. [family and collegium.]

2. [city, province, and commonwealth.]

3. [just structure or order.]

4. De republica, V, 5, 13.

5. [See page 14, footnote 3].

6. [the family and the collegium respectively.]

7. [Here follows a lengthy discussion of the functions of farmers, craftsmen, and merchants. Althusius considers farmers to be hardworking, temperate, and not given to faction, while craftsmen are argumentative, intemperate, and prone to faction. Merchants, on the other hand, are not discussed in these terms.

8. Concerning the former see Genesis 3 and 4; concerning the latter see Genesis 10.

9. [Here follows an extended quotation from Cicero that discusses the reproduction instinct between husband and wife as giving birth to children, who in turn go forth to establish new connections, and concludes that 'such propagation and offspring are the origin of commonwealths.' Duties, I, 17.]

10. [Althusius drew heavily upon Biblical materials in support of his discussion of the communication of advantages and responsibilities between husband and wife. These paragraphs refer to eighty-two passages in the Old Testament, and sixty-nine in the New Testament.]

11. [Here follows a discussion of members of the household. Servants, children, and others who dwell under one roof are expected to obey the imperium of the paterfamilias, and of his ally the materfamilias, in all things pertaining to this social life. In turn, he has clearly defined responsibilities to them, including the sharing with them of the rights of religion and the providing for their maintenance.]