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Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de
Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and po ...
(; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
,
man of letters An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking, research, and Human self-reflection, reflection about the reality of society, and who proposes solutions for the normative problems of society. Coming from the world of culture, eit ...
,
historian A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the stu ...
, and
political philosopher Political philosophy is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someo ...

political philosopher
. He is the principal source of the theory of
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
, which is implemented in many
constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

constitution
s throughout the world. He is also known for doing more than any other author to secure the place of the word "
despotism Despotism ( el, Δεσποτισμός, ''despotismós'') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, go ...
" in the political lexicon.. His anonymously published ''
The Spirit of the Laws ''The Spirit of Laws'' (French: ''De l'esprit des lois'', originally spelled ''De l'esprit des loix'') is a treatise on political theory, as well as a pioneering work in comparative law, published in 1748 by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquie ...
'' (1748), which was received well in both Great Britain and the American colonies, influenced the
Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also known as Revolutionaries, Continentals, Rebels, or American Whigs) were those colonists of the Thi ...
in drafting the
U.S. Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...
.


Biography

Montesquieu was born at the
Château de la Brède The Château de La Brède is a feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history ...
in southwest France, south of
Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon language, Gascon oc, Bordèu ) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department in Southwestern France. The municipality (Communes of France, commune) of Bordeaux proper has a popula ...

Bordeaux
. His father, Jacques de Secondat (1654-1713), was a soldier with a long noble ancestry, including descent from
Richard de la Pole Richard de la Pole (148024 February 1525) was a pretender to the English crown. Commonly nicknamed "White Rose", he was the last Yorkist claimant to actively and openly seek the crown of England. He lived in exile after many of his relatives we ...

Richard de la Pole
,
Yorkist The House of York was a cadet branch #REDIRECT Cadet branch In history and heraldry Heraldry () is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillo ...
claimant to the
English crown This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, unti ...
. His mother, Marie Françoise de Pesnel (1665-1696), who died when Charles was seven, was an heiress who brought the title of Barony of La Brède to the Secondat family. After the death of his mother he was sent to the
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Catholic
College of Juilly The College of Juilly (French language, French: ''Collège de Juilly'') is a Catholic Education in France, private teaching establishment located in the commune of Juilly, Seine-et-Marne, Juilly, in Seine-et-Marne (France). Directed by the Orator ...
, a prominent school for the children of French nobility, where he remained from 1700 to 1711. His father died in 1713 and he became a ward of his uncle, the Baron de Montesquieu. He became a counselor of the Bordeaux Parlement in 1714. The next year, he married the
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
Jeanne de Lartigue, who eventually bore him three children. The Baron died in 1716, leaving him his fortune as well as his title, and the office of
président à mortier The ''président à mortier'' () was one of the most important legal posts of the French ''Ancien Régime File:Prise de la Bastille.jpg, The ''Storming of the Bastille'' on 14 July 1789, later taken to mark the end of the ''Ancien Régime''; w ...
in the Bordeaux Parlement. Montesquieu's early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
in the wake of its
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
(1688–89), and had joined with Scotland in the
Union of 1707 The Acts of Union ( gd, Achd an Aonaidh) were two Acts of Parliament Acts of parliament, sometimes referred to as primary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legisla ...
to form the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
. In France, the long-reigning
Louis XIV , house = House of Bourbon, Bourbon , father = Louis XIII, Louis XIII of France , mother = Anne of Austria , birth_date = , birth_place = Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Kingdom of France, F ...

Louis XIV
died in 1715 and was succeeded by the five-year-old
Louis XV Louis XV (15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774), known as Louis the Beloved (french: le Bien-Aimé), was King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached ...
. These national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu; he would refer to them repeatedly in his work. Montesquieu withdrew from the
practice of law In its most general sense, the practice of law involves giving legal adviceLegal advice is the giving of a professional or formal opinion regarding the substance or procedure of the law in relation to a particular factual situation. The provisi ...

practice of law
to devote himself to study and writing. He achieved literary success with the publication of his 1721 ''
Persian Letters ''Persian Letters'' (french: Lettres persanes) is a literary work, published in 1721, by Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, recounting the experiences of two fictional Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and of ...
'', a satire representing society as seen through the eyes of two imaginary
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...

Persian
visitors to
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
and Europe, cleverly criticizing the absurdities of contemporary French society. In 1722, he went to Paris and entered court circles with the help of
Duke of Berwick Duke of Berwick () ''()'' is a title that was created in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerage A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary title Hereditary titles, in a general sen ...
whom he had known when Berwick was military governor at Bordeaux. He also acquainted himself with the English politician
Viscount Bolingbroke Viscount Bolingbroke is a current title in the Peerage of Great Britain created in 1712 for Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, Henry St John. He was simultaneously made Baron St John, of Lydiard Tregoze in the Wiltshire, County of Wilts. Sinc ...

Viscount Bolingbroke
, whose political views were later incorporated into Montesquieu's analysis of English constitution. In 1726, he sold his office due to his resentment that his intellectual inferiors rose higher than him in court and received a fortune, thus reestablishing his dwindled asset. In April 1728, with Lord Waldegrave, Berwick's nephew, as his traveling companion, Montesquieu embarked on a grand tour of Europe, especially Italy and England, during which he kept a journal. He went to England at the end of October 1729, in the company of
Lord Chesterfield Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, (22 September 169424 March 1773) was a British statesman, diplomat, and man of letters, and an acclaimed wit of his time. Early life He was born in London to Philip Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Chest ...

Lord Chesterfield
. He remained in England until the spring of 1731. His reflections on geography, laws and customs during his travels became the primary sources for his major works on political philosophy upon his return to France. He next published ''
Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline ''Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline'' (French: ''Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence'') is an 18th-century book written by French political philosopher Pol ...
'' (1734), among his three best known books. It is considered by some scholars as a transition from ''The Persian Letters'' to his master work ''The Spirit of the Laws'', which was originally published anonymously in 1748 and translated into English in 1750. It quickly rose to influence
political thought Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between them. Its topics include politics, li ...
profoundly in Europe and America. In France, the book met with an unfriendly reception from both supporters and opponents of the regime. The Catholic Church banned ''The Spirit'' – along with many of Montesquieu's other works – in 1751 and included it on the
Index of Prohibited Books The ''Index Librorum Prohibitorum'' ("List of Prohibited Books") was a list of publications deemed heresy, heretical or contrary to morality by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Sacred Congregation of the Index (a former Dicastery ...
. It received the highest praise from the rest of Europe, especially Britain. Montesquieu was also highly regarded in the British colonies in
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...
as a champion of liberty (though not of American independence). According to one
political scientist Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power r ...
, he was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
. Following the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
, Montesquieu's work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
of
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
, the "Father of the
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
". Montesquieu's philosophy that "government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another" reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers. Besides composing additional works on society and politics, Montesquieu traveled through Europe including Austria and
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, spending a year in Italy and 18 months in England, where he became a freemason, admitted to the ''Horn Tavern'' Lodge in Westminster, before resettling in France. He was troubled by poor eyesight, and was completely
blind Blind may refer to: * The state of Visual impairment, blindness, being unable to see * A window blind, a covering for a window Blind may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * Blind (2007 film), ''Blind'' (2007 film), a 2007 Dut ...
by the time he died from a high fever in 1755. He was buried in the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.


Philosophy of history

Montesquieu's
philosophy of history Philosophy of history is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality ...
minimized the role of individual persons and events. He expounded the view in ''Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline'' that each historical event was driven by a principal movement: In discussing the transition from the
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
to the
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...

Empire
, he suggested that if
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...

Caesar
and
Pompey Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...
had not worked to usurp the government of the Republic, other men would have risen in their place. The cause was not the ambition of Caesar or Pompey, but the ambition of man.


Political views

Montesquieu is credited as being among the progenitors, which include
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
and
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
, of
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
– as being among the first to extend comparative methods of classification to the political forms in human societies. Indeed, the French political anthropologist
Georges Balandier Georges Balandier (21 December 1920 – 5 October 2016) was a French sociologist, anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans within past and present Society, s ...
considered Montesquieu to be "the initiator of a scientific enterprise that for a time performed the role of cultural and social anthropology". According to social anthropologist D. F. Pocock, Montesquieu's ''The Spirit of the Laws'' was "the first consistent attempt to survey the varieties of human society, to classify and compare them and, within society, to study the inter-functioning of institutions." Montesquieu's political anthropology gave rise to his theories on government. When
Catherine the Great russian: Екатерина Алексеевна Романова, translit=Yekaterina Alekseyevna Romanova en, Catherine Alexeievna Romanova, link=yes , house = , father = Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst , mother ...
wrote her ''
Nakaz ''Nakaz'', or Instruction, of Catherine the Great (russian: Наказ Екатерины II Комиссии о составлении проекта нового Уложения, transliteration: ''Nakaz Jekateriny II Komissiji o sostavleniji ...

Nakaz
'' (Instruction) for the Legislative Assembly she had created to clarify the existing Russian law code, she avowed borrowing heavily from Montesquieu's ''Spirit of Law'', although she discarded or altered portions that did not support Russia's absolutist bureaucratic monarchy. Montesquieu's most influential work divided French society into three classes (or '' trias politica'', a term he coined): the
monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
, the
aristocracy Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
, and the
commons The commons is the culture, cultural and nature, natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons c ...

commons
. Montesquieu saw two types of governmental power existing: the
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...
and the
administrative Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes th ...
. The administrative powers were the
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
, the
legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure ...
, and the
judicial The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
. These should be separate from and dependent upon each other so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other two, either singly or in combination. This was a radical idea because it completely eliminated the three
Estates Estate or The Estate may refer to: Law * Estate (law), a term in common law for a person's property, entitlements and obligations * Estates of the realm, a broad social category in the histories of certain countries. ** The Estates, representative ...
structure of the French Monarchy: the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
, the aristocracy, and the people at large represented by the Estates-General, thereby erasing the last vestige of a feudalistic structure. The theory of the
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ( ...
largely derives from ''The Spirit of the Laws'': Montesquieu argues that each Power should only exercise its own functions; it was quite explicit here: If the legislative branch appoints the executive and judicial powers, as Montesquieu indicated, there will be no separation or division of its powers, since the power to appoint carries with it the power to revoke. Likewise, there were three main forms of government, each supported by a social "principle":
monarchies A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a ...
(free governments headed by a hereditary figure, e.g. king, queen, emperor), which rely on the principle of honor;
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
s (free governments headed by popularly elected leaders), which rely on the principle of virtue; and despotisms (enslaved governments headed by
dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the ...
s), which rely on fear. The free governments are dependent on fragile constitutional arrangements. Montesquieu devotes four chapters of ''The Spirit of the Laws'' to a discussion of England, a contemporary free government, where liberty was sustained by a balance of powers. Montesquieu worried that in France the intermediate powers (i.e., the nobility) which moderated the power of the prince were being eroded. These ideas of the control of power were often used in the thinking of
Maximilien Robespierre Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (; 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) was a French lawyer and statesman who was one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the National Constitu ...

Maximilien Robespierre
. Montesquieu advocated reform of slavery in ''The Spirit of the Laws'', specifically arguing that slavery was inherently wrong because all humans are born equal,Mander, Jenny. 2019. "Colonialism and Slavery". Pg 273 in ''The Cambridge History of French Thought'', edited by M. Moriarty and J. Jennings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. but that it could perhaps be justified within the context of climates with intense heat, wherein laborers would feel less inclined to work voluntarily. As part of his advocacy he presented a satirica
hypothetical list of arguments for slavery
In the hypothetical list, he'd ironically list pro-slavery arguments without further comment, including an argument stating that sugar would become too expensive without the free labor of slaves. While addressing French readers of his ''General Theory'',
John Maynard Keynes John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, ( ; 5 June 1883 – 21 April 1946) was an English economist An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a ...

John Maynard Keynes
described Montesquieu as "the real French equivalent of
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
, the greatest of your economists, head and shoulders above the physiocrats in penetration, clear-headedness and good sense (which are the qualities an economist should have)."


Meteorological climate theory

Another example of Montesquieu's anthropological thinking, outlined in ''The Spirit of the Laws'' and hinted at in ''
Persian Letters ''Persian Letters'' (french: Lettres persanes) is a literary work, published in 1721, by Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, recounting the experiences of two fictional Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and of ...
'', is his
meteorological Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the ...
climate theory, which holds that
climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a la ...

climate
may substantially influence the nature of man and his society. By placing an emphasis on environmental influences as a material condition of life, Montesquieu prefigured modern anthropology's concern with the impact of material conditions, such as available energy sources, organized production systems, and technologies, on the growth of complex socio-cultural systems. He goes so far as to assert that certain climates are superior to others, the temperate climate of France being ideal. His view is that people living in very warm countries are "too hot-tempered", while those in northern countries are "icy" or "stiff". The climate of middle Europe is therefore optimal. On this point, Montesquieu may well have been influenced by a similar pronouncement in ''The Histories'' of Herodotus, where he makes a distinction between the "ideal" temperate climate of Greece as opposed to the overly cold climate of Scythia and the overly warm climate of Egypt. This was a common belief at the time, and can also be found within the medical writings of Herodotus' times, including the "On Airs, Waters, Places" of the Hippocratic corpus. One can find a similar statement in ''
Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "barbarian") is a geographical name used by ...
'' by Tacitus, one of Montesquieu's favorite authors. Philip M. Parker, in his book '' Physioeconomics'', endorses Montesquieu's theory and argues that much of the economic variation between countries is explained by the physiological effect of different climates. From a sociological perspective,
Louis Althusser Louis Pierre Althusser (, ; ; 16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical ...
, in his analysis of Montesquieu's revolution in method, alluded to the seminal character of anthropology's inclusion of material factors, such as climate, in the explanation of social dynamics and political forms. Examples of certain climatic and geographical factors giving rise to increasingly complex social systems include those that were conducive to the rise of agriculture and the domestication of wild plants and animals.


List of principal works

* Memoirs and discourses at the Academy of Bordeaux (1718–1721): including discourses on echoes, on the renal glands, on weight of bodies, on transparency of bodies and on natural history. * ''Spicilège'' (''Gleanings'', 1715 onward) * ''Système des idées'' (''System of Ideas'', 1716) * '' Lettres persanes'' (''Persian Letters'', 1721) * ''Le Temple de Gnide'' (''The Temple of Gnidos'', a prose poem; 1725) * '' Histoire véritable'' (''True History'', a reverie; c. 1723–c. 1738) * '' Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence'' (''Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline'', 1734) a
Gallica
* ''Arsace et Isménie'' (''Arsace and Isménie'', a novel; 1742) * ''De l'esprit des lois'' ('' (On) The Spirit of Law'', 1748) ( volume 1 and volume 2 fro
Gallica
* ''La défense de "L'Esprit des lois"'' (''In Defense of "The Spirit of Law"'', 1750) * ''Essai sur le goût'' (''Essay on Taste'', pub. 1757) * ''Mes Pensées'' (''My Thoughts'', 1720–1755) A definitive edition of Montesquieu's works is being published by the Société Montesquieu. It is planned to total 22 volumes, of which (at February 2018) half have appeared.


See also

*
Environmental determinism Environmental determinism (also known as climatic determinism or geographical determinism) is the study of how the physical environment predisposes societies and states towards particular development trajectories. Jared Diamond, Jeffrey Herbst, I ...
*
Liberalism Liberalism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals ...

Liberalism
* List of abolitionist forerunners *
List of liberal theorists Individual contributors to classical liberalism Classical liberalism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the ...
*
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
*
Politics of France The politics of France take place with the framework of a semi-presidential system determined by the Constitution of France, French Constitution of the French Fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, laïcité, secular, ...
* Jean-Baptiste de Secondat (1716–1796), his son *
U.S. Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...
, influences


References


Notes


Sources

Articles and chapters * * * * * Books * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* ''A Montesquieu Dictionary'', on line:

* * * *
Free full-text works online

''The Spirit of Laws (Volume 1)''
1748 English audio

''The Spirit of Law'', trans. Philip Stewart, open access.
Complete ebooks collection of Montesquieu
in French.


Montesquieu, "Notes on England"


in The Catholic Encyclopedia.
Montesquieu
in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.


"Montesquieu", Institut d'histoire des représentations et des idées dans les modernités


– Historic estate once owned by Charles de Montesquieu {{Authority control Montesquieu, 1689 births 1755 deaths 18th-century French novelists
18th-century French male writers {{CatAutoTOC 18th-century male writers, French 18th-century French writers, +Male French male writers ...
18th-century French philosophers Barons of France Contributors to the Encyclopédie (1751–1772) Enlightenment philosophers
Fellows of the Royal Society {{CatAutoTOC People associated with the Royal Society United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as ...
French Freemasons French male novelists French monarchists French political writers French Roman Catholics Liberalism in France Members of the Académie Française Members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences People from Gironde Philosophers of history Philosophers of law Political philosophers