Montesquieu’s Life and Works

Montesquieu’s Life and Works

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

French thinker and political theorist. He is one of the pioneers of political science and contemporary constitutional law with his classification of forms of government and the theory of separation of powers.

Charles Louis De Secondat, Baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu was born on January 18, 1689, in the chateau of La Brede, near Bordeaux, and died on February 10, 1755 in Paris. His father, Jacques de Secondat, was from a family of soldiers who had served the Kingdom of France during the 16th century and received various nobility titles. Upon the death of his mother at the age of seven, Charles Louis, who inherited the title of baron of La Brede as the eldest child in the family, was sent to a college in Juilly, near Paris, in 1700. He graduated from this school in 1705 and started his law studies at the University of Bordeaux. He became a lawyer in 1708 and went to Paris to gain experience in his profession. Upon his father’s death in 1713, he returned to Bordeaux, and the following year became a member of the Bordeaux Parliament. At that time, members of parliament in France were either elected by the king or membership passed from father to son. The main task of the parliament was to prosecute, proclaim the king’s decrees, and give warnings to the king from time to time. Montesquieu, who married Jeanne de Lartigue in 1715, who brought him a large dowry, and inherited all his wealth, baronial title, and the presidency of the Bordeaux Parliament with the death of his uncle, who was the baron of Montesquieu, the following year, entered the Bordeaux Academy in the same year. While continuing his duty in the parliament, he focused on his scientific studies and presented many scientific studies to the academy between 1717-1720.

One of the leading representatives of the French enlightenment was Montesquieu (Charle-Louis de Secondat, baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu), who lived between 1689 and 1755. He became prominent with his identity as a political and legal philosopher and an effective critic on social issues. He was born in the Brede fiatoire in south-west France. His father was an aristocratic officer. After studying at Catholic Juilly college, he served in the Bordeaux Parliament. Meanwhile, after the Great Revolution (1688-1689) in England, he admired the relative freedom environment created by the transition to parliamentary monarchy. XIV in France. After a long reign, Louis died in 1715 and was succeeded by XV. Louis had passed. The fact that there was no reform in the understanding of administration disturbed him, and he wrote critical articles against the state order of France, influenced by the reformist understanding in England. His first work, which he wrote under these influences, was the Iranian Letters dated 1721. The political conditions in France, the irrational elements in the social structure and church order are criticized. In 1734, Treatises on the Causes of the Romans’ Glory and Corruption were published, and in 1748 his masterpiece, The Spirit of the Laws (De l’esprit des lois), was published. The work made a quick impact. In France, he was met with hostility by both supporters and opponents of the regime. The Catholic church condemned the work and in 1751 it was placed on the list of prohibited works. In turn, it was lauded in the rest of Europe and the UK.

WORKS (mainly): Dissertation sur la politique des Romains, 1716, (“A Treatise on the Politics of the Romans”); Les dettes de l’etat, 1718, (“State Debts”); Observations sur l’histoire naturelle, 1721, (“Observations on Natural History”); Lettres persanes, 1721, (Persian Letters, 1963); De la monarchie Universelle en Europe, 1734, (“On Universal Monarchy in Europe”); Consi-derations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur decadence, 1734, (The Contemplation of the Romans’ Greatness and Decay, 2 vols, 1919-1921); De l’esprit des lois, 1748, (On the Spirit of the Laws, 1963); Defense de l’esprit des lois, 1750, (“Defense of the Spirit of the Laws”).

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook