Charles de Secondat, Baron De La Brede Et De Montesquieu Essays

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     Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu was born in

1689 to a French noble family. "His family tree could be traced 350

years, which in his view made its name neither good nor bad." (The

Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, p. 68) Montesquieu's views started to

be shaped at a very early age. A beggar was chosen to be his godfather

to remind him of his obligations to the poor.

     Montesquieu's education started at the age of 11 when he was sent to

Juilly, a school maintained by the Congregation of the Oratory. From

1705 to 1709 he studied law in Bordeaux. "From 1705 to 1709 he was a

legal apprentice in Paris. There he came to know some of the
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     In the Considerations Montesquieu used Roman history to prove some of

his ideas about reasons for the rise and the fall of civilizations. His

most important point was that history is made by causes and effects, by

events influenced by man, and not by luck. His ideas are summarized in

this passage:

I is not fortune that rules the world . . .The Romans had a series of

consecutive successes when their government followed one policy, and an

unbroken set of reverses when it adopted another. There are general

causes, whether moral or physical, which act upon every monarchy, which

create, maintain, or ruin it. All accidents are subject to these

causes, and if the chance loss of a battle, that is to say, a particular

cause, ruins a state, there is a general cause that created the

situation whereby this state could perish by the loss of a single

battle. (1734, chapter 18)

     Montesquieu disliked democracy. In the Considerations he argued that

in a democratic society conflicts were essential because various groups

would argue for their own interest. He believed that the division of

the Roman empire was caused by two many freedoms. On the other hand he

also opposed a system where social classes oppress other classes without


     After 20 years of work Montesquieu published his most complete book,

The Spirit of Laws. In this comparison of different

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