Who is charles louis montesquieu

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who is charles louis montesquieu

Montesquieu Quotes (Author of Persian Letters)

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Why Was Montesquieu Important?

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu: The Division of Powers

As a young man, he studied Latin, French, history, and the law before graduating from the University of Bordeaux in In he married Jeanne Lartigue, whose family brought him substantial wealth, and a year later his uncle died and left him his title and his property, making Montesquieu extremely rich. In Montesquieu left Paris for a three-year trip through Europe. Montesquieu closely examined. He remained in England for eighteen months. During this time he was introduced into the most prestigious intellectual and social circles, was admitted to court, was made a fellow of the Royal Society , and attended several sessions of Parliament.

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. For the next eleven years he presided over the Tournelle, the Parlement's criminal division, in which capacity he heard legal proceedings, supervised prisons, and administered various punishments including torture. During this time he was also active in the Academy of Bordeaux, where he kept abreast of scientific developments, and gave papers on topics ranging from the causes of echoes to the motives that should lead us to pursue the sciences.

See biography by R. Shackleton ; studies by J. Loy , M. Hulliung , and T. Pangle The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. All rights reserved.

Quick Facts

Charles Louis Montesquieu

Through his education and travels he became a sharp social commentator and political thinker who gained the respect of his fellow philosophers with his masterwork The Spirit of Laws , which went on to have a major influence on English and American government. His soldier father also had noble lineage. Even so, Charles-Louis was placed in the care of a poor family during his childhood. He went on to take up law at the University of Bordeaux and began working in Paris after graduation. As such, he became deputy president of the Bordeaux Parliament. Now socially and financially secure, he devoted himself to his passions, including Roman law, history, biology, geography and physics.

He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers , which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He is also known for doing more than any other author to secure the place of the word " despotism " in the political lexicon. The next year, he married the Protestant Jeanne de Lartigue, who eventually bore him three children. Montesquieu's early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a constitutional monarchy in the wake of its Glorious Revolution —89 , and had joined with Scotland in the Union of to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. These national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu; he would refer to them repeatedly in his work.

He was a French political thinker who lived during the Age Of Enlightenment. He is famous for his theory of the separation of powers in government. Many constitutions all over the world use it. He helped make the terms " feudalism " and " Byzantine Empire " popular. Montesquieu's radical work divided French people into three classes, or groups: three classes or trias politica, a term he coined :. These should be balanced, so that no one power would be able to overcome the other two, either singly or in combination.

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