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Prepared by: Charrise J.

Delantar XD - Montesquieu describes law as follows: “They should be

Political Thought 2: Modern Political Theories relative to the climate of each country, to the quality of its
G. MONTESQUIEU soil, to its situation and extent, to the principal occupation of
(1689-1755) the natives, whether husbandmen, huntsmen, or shepherds:
They should have a relation to the degree LIBERTY which
constitutions will bear; to the religion of the inhabitants, to
their inclinations, riches, numbers, commerce, manners and

Charles-Louis De Secondat, Baron De La Brède Et De Montesquieu [ A ] Montesquieu’s first key idea: The Three Kinds of Law
or Simply MONTESQUIEU. - Once mankind sets-up society and government there are
I. Personal Information: three kinds of law:
1. Famous As: Philosopher  Law of Nations – which applies to nations
2. Nationality: French mutual intercourse
3. Birth Date: January 18, 1689  Political Law – which applies to the relations
4. Died At Age: 66 between government and the governed
5. Sun Sign: Capricorn whether constitutional, public, and
6. Born In: Château De La Brède, La Brède, Aquitaine, France administrative
7. Father: Jacques De Secondat  Civil Law – which regulates the relations of
8. Mother: Marie Françoise De Pesnel citizens and among themselves
9. Spouse/Partner: Jeanne De Lartigue
10. Died On: February 10, 1755 [ B ] Montesquieu’s second key idea: The Doctrine of the Separation of
11. Place of Death: Paris Powers
He came from a Noble Family. He was trained in law and early became - Montesquieu characterizes England as a nation “passionately
associated with the administration of justice in Bordeaux his birthplace. fond of liberty, because liberty is real,” willing to sacrifice its
In 1716 his uncle died and bequeathed to him the office of chief justice. wealth, ease, and interest in defense of its freedom.
He held the office for ten years then resigned, in order to devote himself - He says: “the government of England is wiser, because there
entirely to his favorite activity of writing. is a body which examines it continuously and continuously
examines itself; its errors never last long, and are often
useful because of the spirit of attention they give to the
II. “The Spirit of the Laws” (1748) people. In a word, a free government cannot be maintained if
it is not capable of correction through its own laws.” <3
The essence of the Spirit of the Laws indicated - Montesquieu was impressed by the fact that the English
that laws are ought to be made on the empirical basis of system of government combined within itself the best
social institutions, history, and environment, in the light features of Monarchy (in the executive), Aristocracy (the
of which one cannot produce laws by following mere House of Lords as the supreme court and as part of the
fancy and imagination. legislative), and Democracy (in part of the legislative)
The Catholic Church banned the book in 1751.
- Although the forms of state- Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Oversees, May veto bills passed by Determines how
Democracy- were united in English government, the powers investigates, and Congress laws should be
of government were separated from one another. makes the rules for interpreted
In every government there are three sorts of power: These Powers are the government and
the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial. its officers.
-By virtue of the first, the prince or magistrate enacts temporary or Defines by law the Has the power to grant Determines how a
perpetual laws, and amends or abrogates those that have been already jurisdiction of the "reprieves and pardons law acts to
enacted. (Legislative= Law-making) federal judiciary in for offenses against the determine the
-By the second, he makes peace or war, sends or receives embassies, cases not specified by United States, except in disposition of
establishes the public security, and provides against invasions. the Constitution. cases of impeachment." prisoners
-By the third, he punishes criminals, or determines the disputes that Ratification of Declares states of Determines how a
arise between individuals. (Judiciary) treaties and emergency and law acts to compel
In order to have liberty, it is necessary that the government be set up so gives advice and publishes regulations an testimony and the
one man need not be afraid of the other. consent to d executive orders production of
When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same presidential evidence
person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; appointments
because apprehensions may arise. Has sole power Has power to
Again, there is no liberty, if the judiciary power be not separated from of impeachment; can make temporary
the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life remove federal appointment during the
and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the executive and judicial recess of the Senate
judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive officers from office
power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression. for high crimes and
Checks and balances= a system-based regulation that allows one branch
to limit another. Montesquieu Writes The Spirit of Laws in 1748. In it, he examines and
The Specific Functions of the Three Branches of Government observes various types of government. His description of the separation
Legislative Executive Judicial of powers in the English government influences the writers of the United
(Congress) (President) (Supreme Court) States Constitution. <3
Passes bills the commander-in- Determines which
chief of the armed laws Congress The References:
forces intended to apply to 1. Ebenstein, William and Ebenstein, Alan,(1910) Great Political
any given case Thinkers 6th edition, page 408
Has sole power Executes the Exercises judicial 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers
to declare war instructions of Congress. review, reviewing the 3. primary source 10.4, Motesquieu, the spirit of the laws (1748)
constitutionality of