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(p. 268) 15. Montesquieu 

(p. 268) 15. Montesquieu
Chapter:
(p. 268) 15. Montesquieu
Author(s):

Yoshie Kawade

DOI:
10.1093/hepl/9780198708926.003.0015
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date: 29 October 2020

This chapter examines Montesquieu's political theory. Montesquieu's political theory, and his Spirit of the Laws in particular, has been considered a complex mosaic of varied and sometimes disparate intellectual traditions. Despite the forbidding structure of his works, important and impressive discussions of issues such as the justification of universal justice, a scientific approach to the law, a new typology of governments, a materialistic theory of climate, and the idea of a free state based on separate and balanced powers can be found there. After providing a short biography of Montesquieu, the chapter analyses his critique of despotism as well as the key themes of his mature political theory: the separation of powers, the three forms of government, the lessons of history, and the conditions of political liberty.

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