The New International Encyclopædia/Civilian

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CIVILIAN. This term has three meanings, which are distinct, though intimately related. (1) In a popular sense, it signifies a person whose pursuits are civil, i.e. neither military nor clerical. As a law term, it means, either (2) a person who is versed in the principles and rules in accordance with which civil rights may be vindicated in society generally, or in the particular State in which he belongs; or (3) one who has made a special study of these rules and principles as exhibited in the laws and government of Rome (the Roman civil law). The civil law of Rome exercised such an influence upon the formation of the municipal systems of almost all the States of modern Europe, that those who devoted themselves to its study were regarded as ‘civil’ or municipal lawyers par excellence. From the more learned training which this study demanded, civilian came often to be used as synonymous with professor or doctor, as opposed to practitioner of law, the former being generally more deeply versed in the Roman law than the latter; and this in its turn led to its being loosely applied to the international lawyers of the seventeenth century (Grotius, Pufendorf, etc.), who generally belonged to the class of civilians in the sense of Romanists, and who, though their subject was altogether different, quoted largely and derived many analogies from the Roman jurisprudence. At present, in the United States, from having no class of persons who prosecute law as a science as opposed to an art, the term ‘civilian’ has reverted to its narrower mediæval sense of student or teacher of the Roman civil law; and thus we speak of Savigny as a civilian, but not of Story.