A polity is a state or one of its subordinate civil authorities, such as a province, prefecture, county, municipality, city, or district. It is generally understood to mean a geographic area with a corresponding government. Thomas Hobbes considered bodies politic in this sense in Leviathan. In previous centuries, body politic was also understood to mean "the physical person of the sovereign:" emperor, king or dictator in monarchies and despotisms, and the electorate in republics. In present times, it may also refer to representation of a group, such as ones drawn along ethnic or the gender lines. Cabinets in liberal democracies are chosen to represent the body politic.
- See: Black's Law Dictionary, 4th ed., West Publishing Co., (1968), and Uricich v. Kolesar, 54 Ohio App. 309, 7 N.E. 2d 413.
- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, (1651); http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/hobblev2.pdf; accessed 28 November 2008.
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- Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Analogy of the Body Politic (elaboration of correspondences between society or the state and the individual human body)
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