green numbers give full details.     |    back to list of philosophers     |     expand these ideas

Ideas of Baron de Montesquieu, by Text

[French, 1689 - 1755, Wealthy freelance writer.]

1748 The Spirit of the Laws (rev. 1757)
Intro p.106 True goodness is political, and consists of love of and submission to the laws
Preface p.108 Teaching is the best practice of the general virtue that leads us to love everyone
01.01 p.109 Laws are the necessary relations that derive from the nature of things
01.01 p.110 Prior to positive laws there is natural equity, of obedience, gratitude, dependence and merit
01.02 p.111 Sensation gives animals natural laws, but knowledge can make them break them
01.02 p.112 Men do not desire to subjugate one another; domination is a complex and advanced idea
01.02 p.112 Primitive people would be too vulnerable and timid to attack anyone, so peace would reign
01.02 p.112 People are drawn into society by needs, shared fears, pleasure, and knowledge
01.03 p.113 The natural power of a father suggests rule by one person, but that authority can be spread
02.02 p.115 The fundamental laws of a democracy decide who can vote
02.02 p.116 It is basic to a democracy that the people themselves must name their ministers
02.02 p.116 In a democracy the people should manage themselves, and only delegate what they can't do
02.02 p.116 A democratic assembly must have a fixed number, to see whether everyone has spoken
02.02 p.118 Voting should be public, so the lower classes can be influenced by the example of notable people
02.03 p.119 If the nobility is numerous, the senate is the artistocracy, and the nobles are a democracy
02.03 p.121 Aristocracy is democratic if they resemble the people, but not if they resemble the monarch
02.04 p.122 The nobility are an indispensable part of a monarchy
02.04 p.122 The clergy are essential to a monarchy, but dangerous in a republic
02.04 p.123 Monarchs must not just have links to the people; they need a body which maintains the laws
02.05 p.124 Despots are always lazy and ignorant, so they always delegate their power to a vizier
03.07 p.130 Ambition is good in a monarchy, because the monarch can always restrain it
03.08 p.131 Despotism and honour are incompatible, because honour scorns his power, and lives by rules
04.02 p.134 In monarchies, men's actions are judged by their grand appearance, not their virtues
04.03 p.137 In monarchies education ennobles people, and in despotisms it debases them
04.05 p.139 If a government is to be preserved, it must first be loved
05.04 p.141 No one even thinks of equality in monarchies and despotism; they all want superiority
05.05 p.142 Some equality can be achieved by social categories, combined with taxes and poor relief
05.05 p.142 Democracies may sometimes need to restrict equality
05.08 p.146 Great inequality between aristocrats and the rest is bad - and also among aristocrats themselves
05.09 p.148 In a monarchy, the nobility must be hereditary, to bind them together
05.10 p.149 Monarchies can act more quickly, because one person is in charge
05.14 p.153 Religion has the most influence in despotic states, and reinforces veneration for the ruler
05.15 p.156 A despot's agents must be given power, so they inevitably become corrupt
05.16 p.158 The will of a despot is an enigma, so magistrates can only follow their own will
08.02 p.161 Democracy is corrupted by lack of equality, or by extreme equality (between rulers and ruled)
08.03 p.163 Equality is not command by everyone or no one, but command and obedience among equals
08.16 p.170 In small republics citizens identify with the public good, and abuses are fewer
08.16 p.170 In a large republic there is too much wealth for individuals to manage it
11.03 p.180 Freedom in society is ability to do what is right, and not having to do what is wrong
11.05 p.181 All states aim at preservation, and then have distinctive individual purposes
11.06 p.182 A government has a legislature, an international executive, and a domestic executive
11.06 p.182 The judiciary must be separate from the legislature, to avoid arbitrary power
11.06 p.185 All citizens (apart from the very humble poor) should choose their representatives
11.06 p.185 If deputies represent people, they are accountable, but less so if they represent places
15.01 p.200 Slavery is entirely bad; the master abandons the virtues, and they are pointless in the slave
15.02 p.201 The only right victors have over captives is the protection of the former
15.02 p.202 The death penalty is permissible, because its victims enjoyed the protection of that law
15.02 p.202 Slaves are not members of the society, so no law can forbid them to run away
15.04 p.203 French slavery was accepted because it was the best method of religious conversion
15.09 p.206 The demand for slavery is just the masters' demand for luxury
15.09 p.206 The rich would never submit to a lottery deciding which part of their society should be slaves
19.03 p.207 Tyranny is either real violence, or the imposition of unpopular legislation
19.04 p.207 People are guided by a multitude of influences, from which the spirit of a nation emerges
19.27 p.222 Freedom of speech and writing, within the law, is essential to preserve liberty
24.14 p.234 If religion teaches determinism, penalties must be severe; if free will, then that is different
24.16 p.236 Religion can support the state when the law fails to do so