Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

Baron de
Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

French Philosopher, Political Thinker and Social Commentator

Author Quotes

The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.

The merit of any console.

The reason the Romans built their great paved highways was because they had such inconvenient footwear.

There is no nation so powerful, as the one that obeys its laws not from principals of fear or reason, but from passion.

To succeed in the world, we must be foolish in appearance, but really wise.

When the body of the people is possessed of the supreme power, it is called a democracy.

The English are busy folk; they have no time in which to be polite.

The monarchy is the system where a single person governs by fixed and established laws.

The reason why most governments are despotic Earth is that it just happens. But for moderate governments must combine moderate powers; know what gives one what remains to another and finally we need a system that is to say a convention of many and a discussion of interest.

There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window.

Trade is the best cure for prejudice.

When the laws have ceased to be executed, as this can only come from the corruption of the republic, the state is already lost.

The Europeans, having extirpated the Americans, were obliged to make slaves of the Africans, for clearing such vast tracts of land.

The morality of the gospel is the noblest gift ever bestowed by God on man.

The republic is the regime where the people as a body, or only some of the people, the sovereign power.

There is no word that has admitted of more various significations, and has made more different impressions on human minds, than that of Liberty. Some have taken it for a facility of deposing a person on whom they had conferred a tyrannical authority; others for the power of choosing a person whom they are obliged to obey; others for the right of bearing arms, and of being thereby enabled to use violence, others in fine for the privilege of being governed by a native of their own country or by their own laws. Some have annexed this name to one form of government, in exclusion of others: Those who had a republican taste, applied it to this government; those who liked a monarchical state, gave it to monarchies. Thus they all have applied the name of liberty to the government most conformable to their own customs and inclinations: and as in a republic people have not so constant and so present a view of the instruments of the evils they complain of, and likewise as the laws seem there to speak more, and the executors of the laws less, it is generally attributed to republics, and denied to monarchies. In fine as in democracies the people seem to do very near whatever they please, liberty has been placed in this sort of government, and the power of the people has been confounded with their liberty.

Translation: Men, who are rogues individually, are in the mass very honorable people.

When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

The first Greeks were all pirates.

The morals and manners are usages that laws have not established or were unable or unwilling to establish.

The sacred books of the ancient Persians say, "If you would be holy, instruct your children, because all the good acts they perform will be imputed to you."

There is only one thing that can form a bond between men, and that is gratitude... we cannot give someone else greater power over us than we have ourselves.

Vanity and pride of nations; vanity is as advantageous to a government as pride is dangerous.

When the savages of Louisiana wish to have fruit, they cut the tree at the bottom and gather the fruit. That is exactly a despotic government.

The freedom is the right to do what the law allows.

Author Picture
First Name
Baron de
Last Name
Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu
Birth Date
Death Date

French Philosopher, Political Thinker and Social Commentator