Fernando Vázquez de Menchaca

Fernando Vázquez de Menchaca (1512–1569) was a Spanish jurist.

Fernando Vázquez de Menchaca was probably born in 1512 in Valladolid.[1] His family members included judges and administrators. He studied law at the universities of Vallodolid and Salamanca, graduating from the latter about 1548.[2][1] Menchaca held various positions as a judge and bureaucrat, including at the court of Philip II of Spain.[3] Menchaca was a member of the Council of the Indies and the Order of Santiago. He died in 1569 in Seville.[4] He was a hidalgo.[2]

In his treatise Controversiarum illustrium aliarumque usu frequentium libri tres (Three books of famous and other controversies frequently occurring in practice),[1] likely first published in Venice in 1564,[1] Menchaca argued that political authority derives from the consent of the governed. Because people form societies by "natural inclination", according to Menchaca, political authority is an aspect of natural law.[5] Menchaca held that persons have natural rights including liberty and equality and endorsed a version of the social contract theory.[6] In this respect, Menchaca thought that domestic society and international society were on a par: both were based on "pacts and treaties".[7] Further, since people create society "for their own utility", Menchaca argued that the people had an inalienable power to control their rulers.[8]

Mencha is considered a member of the School of Salamanca.[1] He published six treatises between 1559 and 1564.[9] His thought influenced Hugo Grotius and Samuel von Pufendorf.[5][10] Scholar Salvador Rus Rufino identifies Menchaca as part of the tradition of Catholic humanism.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e van Nifterik, Gustaaf (2 December 2016). "Controversiarum illustrium aliarumque usu frequentium libri tres". The Formation and Transmission of Western Legal Culture. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45567-9_3. ISBN 978-3-319-45564-8.
  2. ^ a b Rufino 2018, p. 158.
  3. ^ Rufino 2018, pp. 158–159.
  4. ^ Rufino 2018, p. 157.
  5. ^ a b Quijada, Mónica (August 2008). "From Spain to New Spain: Revisiting the Potestas Populi in Hispanic Political Thought". Mexican Studies. 24 (2): 198–200. doi:10.1525/msem.2008.24.2.185. ISSN 0742-9797.
  6. ^ Rufino 2018, pp. 165–166.
  7. ^ Sanahuja, Lorena Cebolla (8 September 2017). "The Rise and Fall of Cosmopolitan Law". Toward Kantian Cosmopolitanism. Springer. pp. 83–126. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-63988-8_3. ISBN 978-3-319-63987-1.
  8. ^ Koskenniemi, Martti (31 August 2021). "The Political Theology of Ius gentium". To the Uttermost Parts of the Earth: Legal Imagination and International Power 1300–1870. Cambridge University Press. pp. 117–211. doi:10.1017/9781139019774.004. ISBN 978-1-139-01977-4. S2CID 241999226.
  9. ^ Rufino 2018, pp. 159–160.
  10. ^ Rufino 2018, p. 160.
  11. ^ Rufino 2018, pp. 161, 163.