Portrait of French political philosopher Montesquieu.


(1689 - 1755)

After serving in the Parlement of Bordeaux and gaining election to the French Academy, Montesquieu began a comprehensive study of law, history, economics, geography, and political theory that culminated in the writing of The Spirit of Laws, which was published in 1748. In 1792, five years after fathering the U.S. Constitution, James Madison wrote that Montesquieu “had lifted the veil from the venerable errors which enslaved opinion and pointed the way to those luminous truths of which he had but a glimpse himself.”

All Writing

Voices In Time

1748 | La Brède

Weather Is Fate

Montesquieu inhales the bracing air and is invigorated.More

Peace is a natural effect of trade.

—Montesquieu, 1748

Voices In Time

c. 1745 | La Brède

Point of Order

Montesquieu on the necessity of virtue.More

Issues Contributed