Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu
Yuta K. Murray
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 3
2. Life 3
3. Ideology 7
3.1 Separation of Power 7
3.2 Liberties and Rights 8
3.3 Climate relating to forms of government 9
4. Montesquieu’s ideology in modern days 10
5. Bibliography 11
Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède de Montesquieu, more commonly known as Montesquieu, was a jurist and a social philosopher who lived in the 17th century in France. He was an influential philosopher during the Age of Enlightenment, a time when people began to go against traditions. He championed “Separation of powers” as a model of government at a time when France was suffering under absolute monarchy, and his masterpiece book, “Spirt of laws”, had a huge influence on politics.
This essay will explore his life and the influence that he had on future societies.
Montesquieu was born on the 18th, January 1689 in the south west of Bordeaux, France. Although Montesquieu was born to a wealthy family, he was kept in the hands of a poor family. His godfather was a beggar who was chosen by Montesquieu’s family so that he would always remember the existence of the poor.
When he was 7 years old his mother died, and Montesquieu inherited his mother’s land. When he was 11 he was sent to Oratorian Collège de Juilly, a progressivist school close to Paris and in 1708 he received a degree in law at the University of Bordeaux. To further his education he went to Paris in 1709 to continue his studies in law.
In 1713 his father died, making him return to Bordeaux to control the estate that he inherited from him. In 1714, aged just 25, he became the counsellor of the Bordeaux parliament. He married a protestant woman, Jenne de Lartigue, who later gave birth to Montesquieu’s 2 daughters. In 1716 he inherited the title of Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu and Président à Mortier of Parlement of Bordeaux, which was a job involve both administrative and judicial duties. Although Montesquieu had these titles, he was not interested in them and preferred to spend his time studying. He was also involved with the Academy of Bordeaux, which was an institute of scientific research. He continued researching Roman law, history, biology, geography and physics, and produced multiple papers.
In 1721 Montesquieu published the “Lettres persanes”, or “Persian letters”. Persian Letters was a novel about 2 made-up Persian nobles, Usbek and Rica, written in the form of 150 letters between them. The book is compared Persia and France, and strongly criticized the rule of Luis XIV which had just ended. Although it was published anonymously, it was widely known that Montesquieu was the author. After this book was published, Montesquieu became a celebrity in literature.
In 1725, due to his lack of interest in the job, he resigned the office of Président À Mortier of Parliament of Bordeaux. After resigning from this job he spent more of his time on research in science.
After Persian letters was published, Montesquieu started to be recognized more in the society of researchers and gained many supporters for his views. As a result of this, Montesquieu was elected as a member of Académie Française on January 24th 1728. Following this he moved to Paris, leaving his wife to manage his estate. In Paris he continued his research.
After becoming a member of Académie Française, Montesquieu wanted to gain more knowledge. In February 1728 Montesquieu left France to travel around Europe leaving full powers of his estate to his wife. He arrived in Vienna with Lord Waldegrave, the British ambassador in Paris on April 1728. In Vienna he met Eugene of Savoy and discussed French politics. After leaving Vienna he set off to Hungary to visit the mines. Then, he travelled around Italian cities such as Venice, Florence and Rome. He left Italy and travelled through Germany, Holland and Poland in 1729. Montesquieu set off