Popular Sovereignty and the Consent of the Governed
As nations emerged, their rulers needed more than an ability to punish people to hold their countries together. They needed their citizens to feel a loyalty to the nation, and they also needed people to accept their rule as legitimate. In Europe, some philosophers and kings asserted the idea of “divine right,” claiming that just as God had given priests and preachers authority over churches, he gave kings and other royalty—as well as their descendants—control over nations. It’s not surprising that people of royal descent latched on to this idea. If people believed rulers were appointed by God, they would be less likely to revolt, and more likely to obey.