Spirit Of Laws By Baron De Montesquieu Research Paper

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In order to answer the question, “What new political concepts developed during the Enlightenment?” the analysis of two primary sources will be necessary. The first source, The Spirit of Laws by Baron de Montesquieu, is a contemporary, originally published anonymously in 1748, that explores the role of law in shaping political entities and provides answers to problems dealing with despotism; the exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way. Montesquieu (1689-1755) was a French historian, philosopher, and satirist who is most known for his theory of separation of powers who also believed that in every government there are three sorts of power and political orders were like a human body with a dynamic balance and a healthy…show more content…
A “principle" is what drives each classification of political system. This principle motivates citizens’ behaviour that usually support that government and make it work. For democratic republics, this principle is the goodness of the community, the willingness of citizens to sacrifice their needs before the needs of the community. For monarchies, the principle is the love of honour meaning that the authoritative figure always wants to improve himself and succeed his country over others. Finally, for despotisms, the principle is being afraid of the leader. According to Montesquieu, “A political system cannot last long if its appropriate principle is lacking”. He argues this logic is the reason why the English failed to become a republic after the Civil War of 1642-1651, because the society needed to have the principle of goodness. A second major theme in The Spirit of Laws is political liberty, what it is and how to keep it. “Political liberty” is defined by Montesquieu as personal security. He elaborates on how one form of political liberty consists in self-government and being able to do what you want without restriction. In order for his ideas about political liberty to work, the powers of the government should have different levels each…show more content…
The idea of a government that secures freedom, justice and relative equality amongst all citizens is a common one to both Montesquieu and Rousseau. The possible answers to the questions: “What new political concepts were developed during the Enlightenment?” and “What new ideas were brought forward concerning the notions of liberty, free will, nature, reason, social contracts, etc.?” can be found in Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Law and Rousseau’s The Social Contract. Montesquieu creates political concepts that revolve around equality and emphasizes this by his idea of splitting the government into different sectors to try to ensure the citizens are all treated fairly. One sector is responsible for making laws, one for military and the last branch is for punishing crimes made by the citizens of the state. Rousseau suggests that citizens as a collective should be seen like one body of people. Rousseau believes that collectively, everyone should believe in the same set of rules as opposed to one man creating a set for everyone to follow. Based on these two sources, it can be said that equality can never be achieved as long as there is one official ruler or form of government.These philosophers both
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