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This word has various meanings. If we inquire into its origin, it will be found to come from the Latin status, which is derived from the verb stare, sto, whence has been made statio, which signifies the place where a person is located, stat, to fulfill the obligations which are imposed upon him. State is that quality which belongs to a person in society, and which secures to, and imposes upon him different rights and duties in consequence of the difference of that quality. Although all men come from the hands of nature upon an equality, yet there are among them marked differences. It is from nature that come the distinctions of the sexes, fathers and children, of age and youth, &c.


The civil or municipal laws of each people, have added to these natural qualities, distinctions which are purely civil and arbitrary, founded on the manners of the people, or in the will of the legislature. Such are the differences, which these laws have established between citizens and aliens, between magistrates and subjects, and between freemen and slaves; and those which exist in some countries between nobles and plebeians, which differences are either unknown or contrary to ...

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