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Political ThinkersFrom Socrates to the Present

Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present (3rd edn)

David Boucher and Paul Kelly
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date: 29 June 2022

p. 26815. Montesquieulocked

p. 26815. Montesquieulocked

  • Yoshie Kawade

Abstract

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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