Droit d'aubaine


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DROIT D'AUBAINE, jus albinatus. This was a rule by which all the property of a deceased foreigner, whether movable or immovable, was confiscated to the use of the state, to the exclusion of his heirs, whether claiming ab intestato, or under a will of the deceased. The word aubain signifies hospes loci, peregrinus advena, a stranger. It is derived, according to some, from alibi, elsewhere, natus, born, from which the word albinus is said to be formed. Others, as Cujas, derive the word directly from advena, by which word, aubains, or strangers, are designated in the capitularies of Charlemagne. See Du Cange and Dictionaire de Trevoux.
     2. As the darkness of the middle ages wore away, and the light of civilization appeared, thing barbarous and inhospitable usage was by degrees discontinued, and is now nearly abolished in the civilized world. It subsisted in France, however, in full force until 1791, and afterwards, in a modified form, until 1819, when it was formally abolished by law. For the gross abuses of this feudal exaction, see Dictionaire de l'Ancien Regime et des abus feodaux. Aubain. See Albinatus jus.

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Under the droit d'aubaine anyone could legally become a French citizen so long as they could pay for the naturalization procedure.
Indeed, Sahlins has weaved aspects of legal, social, and political history into what is a fascinating analysis of the unintended consequences that resulted from the changing application of the droit d'aubaine in the late eighteenth century.

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