The Pathos of Politics (29) Montesquieu


Useless laws weaken the necessary laws. ~ Montesquieu

French lawyer and political philosopher Montesquieu (1689–1755) is best remembered for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which became a staple in many constitutions throughout the world.

There is as yet no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from legislative power and the executrix. ~ Montesquieu

Separation of powers is a model for governance that divides the functions of the state into branches. The typical division is tripartite: an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary, which Montesquieu promoted. Aristotle first mentioned the idea in his Politics.

People have the government they deserve. ~ Montesquieu

Montesquieu categorized government into 3 main forms: monarchy, which depends upon honor; republic (democracy), which has faith in the virtue of voters; and despotism, which relies upon fear for subjugation.

Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies. ~ Montesquieu