by: alivia brodbeck

about montesquieu

Charles Louis de Secondat was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1689 to a wealthy family. Despite his family's wealth, de Decondat was placed in the care of a poor family during his childhood. He later went to college and studied science and history, eventually becoming a lawyer in the local government. De Secondat's father died in 1713 and he was placed under the care of his uncle, Baron de Montesquieu. The Baron died in 1716 and left de Secondat his fortune, his office as president of the Bordeaux Parliament, and his title of Baron de Montesquieu. Later he was a member of the Bordeaux and French Academies of Science and studied the laws and customs and governments of the countries of Europe. He gained fame in 1721 with his Persian Letters, which criticized the lifestyle and liberties of the wealthy French as well as the church. However, Montesquieu's book On the Spirit of Laws, published in 1748, was his most famous work. It outlined his ideas on how government would best work.

beliefs in government

Montesquieu believed that all things were made up of rules or laws that never changed. He set out to study these laws scientifically with the hope that knowledge of the laws of government would reduce the problems of society and improve human life. According to Montesquieu, there were three types of government: a monarchy (ruled by a king or queen), a republic (ruled by an elected leader), and a despotism (ruled by a dictator). Montesquieu believed that a government that was elected by the people was the best form of government. He did, however, believe that the success of a democracy - a government in which the people have the power - depended upon maintaining the right balance of power.

montesquieu school years

4 years later he is sent with two cousins start college 8 years later he studied law in bordeaux where he is from and Paris for the rest of his studies he went to England for two years to study law.

montesquieu quotes

There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.

Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.

Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.

montesquieu opponent

There is a tension with Montesquieu’s adherence to ancient political thought, which tended to refer to the virtue of poverty and the corrupting effects of wealth on the political system. At least some of the time, Montesquieu offers an ideal of a republic based on equality in poverty, where individuals obey law through voluntary custom rather than through coercion. However, we can extract important stimulants to liberal thought from this aspect of Montesquieu.
O.A.R. Ep. 24: Montesquieu