Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de secondat

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)
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Montesquieu was one of the great political philosophers of the Enlightenment. Insatiably curious and mordantly funny, he constructed a naturalistic account of the various forms of government, and of the causes that made them what they were and that advanced or constrained their development. He used this account to explain how governments might be preserved from corruption. He saw despotism, in particular, as a standing danger for any government not already despotic, and argued that it could best be prevented by a system in which different bodies exercised legislative, executive, and judicial power, and in which all those bodies were bound by the rule of law. This theory of the separation of powers had an enormous impact on liberal political theory, and on the framers of the constitution of the United States of America.



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Hilary Bok
Johns Hopkins University

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References found in this work

Montesquieu and Rousseau: forerunners of sociology.Emile Durkheim - 1960 - Ann Arbor,: University of Michigan Press.
Montesquieu.Judith N. Shklar - 1987 - Oxford University Press USA.
Montesquieu and the Old Regime.Mark Hulliung - 1976 - Univ of California Press.
Montesquieu: A Critical Biography.Robert Shackleton - 1963 - Oxford University Press.
Montesquieu's philosophy of liberalism.Thomas L. Pangle - 1973 - Chicago,: University of Chicago Press.

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