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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 the people and cultures of the countries he visited, paying particular attention to England, where he was intrigued by the level of political and religious freedom the people there enjoyed, as well as the country's bustling mercantile economy.
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 Societyand attended several sessions of Parliament. Montesquieu's experience in England was critical in shaping his political philosophies because it proved to him that a society could combine the rule of law with political freedom.
After returning home in MayMontesquieu spent the next fifteen years working on his masterpiece, De l'Esprit des lois literally On the Spirit of the Laws, but usually translated as The Spirit of the Laws.
In this immense and loosely connected work, containing more than six hundred chapters grouped into thirty-one books, Montesquieu combined a lifetime of thoughts and personal observations concerning governments, laws, and human nature.
His topics ranged from detailed analyses of ancient history to the effects of climate on national character. By closely examining a wide variety of societies through time and across cultures, Montesquieu sought to identify the basic principles underlying how laws work, how they evolve, and how they differ from country to country and culture to culture.
The Spirit of the Laws was published in in Geneva. It was a huge and immediate success; by the end oftwenty-two other editions, including many translations, had reached all over Europe and across the ocean to the North American colonies. The work also generated considerable controversy, particularly with church authorities.
They objected to Montesquieu's intellectual approach, which was grounded in the then radical notion that laws were not divinely inspired or handed down by ancient lawgivers such as Moses but evolved naturally out of everything that influences life in a country, including traditions, habits, history, religion, economics, and climate.
Laws, Montesquieu believed, could be rationally studied and then adjusted to increase liberty for all. He responded to criticisms of his work in with Defense de l'Esprit des lois, but the Catholic Church nevertheless put The Spirit of the Laws on the church's Index inwhich meant that Catholics were forbidden to read it.
On January 29,Montesquieu became ill with what appears to have been influenza, and his health quickly deteriorated. His sickness generated much attention; many people viewed it as symbolic of the great conflict between established religion and the forces of reason and enlightenment that marked the eighteenth century.
During his illness Montesquieu's house was filled with friends monitoring his condition, including messengers from the king.
Montesquieu died on February 10,and was buried in the parish church of Saint-Sulpice. As was the case in Europe, Montesquieu was a leading intellectual figure in the American colonies, and The Spirit of the Laws was a standard subject of close study for young American scholars.
Figures show that Montesquieu's works, particularly The Spirit of the Laws, were widely disseminated through American booksellers and libraries, and Montesquieu's ideas were frequently discussed in newspapers and journals.
Montesquieu's works were found in the personal libraries of nearly all of the country's founding fathers, including benjamin franklin, john adams, thomas jefferson, and james madison.
Different elements of the theories Montesquieu outlined in The Spirit of the Laws were popular in America at different times, varying with political conditions and developments. In general, however, the most influential portions of the work were chapters 3 and 6 of book XI, in which Montesquieu analyzed the English constitution, a discussion that heavily influenced the separation of powers later enshrined in the U.
In his analysis Montesquieu outlined the basic principle of the English constitution, which was—and still is—not an actual document but an unwritten consensus regarding the proper rules of governing based on such historical documents as the magna charta, the body of common lawcourt decisions, precedents, and tradition.
According to Montesquieu, although England did not have the perfect system of government, it was the best system to be found in modern Europe because it allowed for the greatest degree of liberty, which Montesquieu defined as the right "to do what one should want to do, and not being forced to do what one should not want to do.
This type of liberty, Montesquieu argued, was only possible under a government specifically constituted to protect citizens from the oppression of their rulers and the aggressions of each other, while allowing for the representation of a wide range of popular interests. For citizens to maintain their liberty against the encroachment of oppressive rulers, a government had to be composed of separate and balanced powers that would check and moderate each other, thus leaving the people a maximum degree of freedom under the laws.
To Montesquieu, England most closely approximated this model because its government divided the three main functions of government—the legislative, the executive, and the judicial—into three separate branches: The powers of these branches were so intertwined that the branches needed each other to operate and also served to moderate each other's actions.
For example, the king or queen could veto parliamentary legislation, but the monarch's actions were limited by Parliament's power of the purse.
Because no single branch was able to dominate the other branches or the populace at large, the people were left with a large degree of political freedom.
MONTESQUIEU, CHARLES-LOUIS DE SECONDAT, Temporary Immunity as Violative of Montesquieu's Republican Virtue as Embodied in George Washington. Cleveland State Law Review 45 (spring): – cross-references. Constitution of the United States; Federalist Papers. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Montesquieu and George Washington Our national government, in my opinion, was structured by following the writings of Montesquieu. Montesquieu wrote that leaders could not be trusted to always do what was right for the people and that govenment should be structured to keep the leaders of the government from acting in a selfish manner and. George Washington George Washington was born February 22, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His mother and father, Augustine Washington and his second wife Mary Ball, got married in George was the oldest of their six children.
Because the branches had to operate together, their forces counterbalanced each other and resulted in a guarantee of freedom and a bulwark against political tyranny. Although Montesquieu did not present the English system as the perfect model for democratic government, he did praise it for being the only government in modern Europe constituted for the specific purpose of maximizing political liberty.
Montesquieu's description of the basic principles of the English constitution and his emphasis on political liberty held great appeal for the English colonists in North Americaparticularly beginning in the s when those colonists were chafing under taxes and restrictions imposed by Parliament that they thought undermined their constitutional rights.
Montesquieu was frequently quoted in newspapers, pamphlets, and speeches as colonists protested the oppressive powers of Parliament and defended their right to political liberty.
His description of the English constitution became a model against which the colonists contrasted what they saw as the injustice and corruption of the actual English government. After the Revolutionary War ended, Montesquieu again became a principal authority as political leaders set about to create a constitution for the new United States of America.
Most of the architects of the Constitution were thoroughly acquainted with Montesquieu's ideas, and at the Constitutional Convention ofThe Spirit of the Laws was frequently cited as delegates attempted to lay down the principles for a government that would maximize political liberty while also maintaining the rule of law.
The Framers followed many of Montesquieu's maxims, including his insistence upon a separation of powers and his belief that a country's laws must not be imposed from above but conform to the genius, or nature, of the citizens of that country.Victorious general of the American Revolution, the first President of the United States, successful planter and entrepreneur.
Learn more about the life and legacy of George Washington. Little is known of George Washington's childhood, and it remains the most poorly understood part of his life.
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Which of Europe's Enlightenment philosophers wrote about natural rights? John Locke Baron de Montesquieu George Washington Thomas Hobbes3/5(6).
Which of Europe's Enlightenment philosophers wrote about natural rights? John Locke Baron de Montesquieu George Washington Thomas Hobbes Ask for details ; Follow Report by XxHannahsnowingxX 04/10/ Log in to add a comment Want an ad free experience?
Get Brainly Plus to avoid next time/5(16). CIVICS HELPPP! Edit Which of Europe's Enlightenment philosophers wrote about natural rights? John Locke Baron de Montesquieu George Washington Thomas Hobbes.
Montesquieu: Montesquieu was a French philosopher who made major contributions to political theory.