Thinker: Montesquieu

Baron de Montesquieu

Baron de Montesquieu

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu

Montesquieu is famous for the idea of the separation of powers.

Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu, was a French political thinker during the Enlightenment. His ideas influenced the constitutions of many governments worldwide.

Main Ideas
  • He advocated an end to the class system that existed in France (nobility, clergy, and the "common man").
  • Classification of systems of government [such as monarchies, in which power comes from honour; republics, in which power comes from virtue; and dictatorships (which he called "despotisms"), in which power comes from fear]
  • The separation of political power (executive, legislative, judiciary)
  • He recommended the end of slavery.

Famous Statements
"Government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another."

Famous Works
The Spirit of the Laws (banned in France, popular in Great Britain)

Interesting Trivia
Montesquieu believed in meteorological climate theory, which states that the climate of a country influences the nature of the people who live there. People in hot countries are hot-headed while those in the north are icy or stiff; the people of France, with its more moderate climate, have the perfect disposition.

Last modified: Monday, 10 February 2020, 10:51 AM