Charles-Louis De Secondat: Montesquieu

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Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède, or better known simply as Montesquieu, was born sixteen miles south of Bordeaux at Château de la Brède, France on January 18th, 1689. Charles’ family was very rich. His father, Jacques de Secondat, was a soldier with a long noble ancestry. His mother, Marie Françoise de Pesnel, brought the title of Baron La Brède to the Secondat family but died when Charles was seven years old. After his mother’s death, Secondat was sent to the Catholic College of Juilly, which was a renowned school for children of French nobility. When his father passed away in 1713, Charles was placed in the care of his uncle, Baron de Montesquieu. Three years later, when Baron died, his fortune, the office of Président à Mortier…show more content…
Although he believes that every society has a mixture of good and bad qualities, Charles says that humans are naturally selfish. According to him, coveted alternations may yield disastrous repercussions. People have their unique paths of reaching a conclusion, their own style of thought, leur manière de penser totale (Oeuvres complètes, vol. 2, p. 1102 in the Gallimard edition). Charles is basically saying that humans are mainly bad with a little bit of good inside. The best form of government, as stated by Montesquieu, is one where the legislative, executive and judicial powers were separate and kept each other in check to keep any branch from being too powerful. He called this idea the separation of powers. An example of this in his eyes was England’s government. Charles mistook the way that political power operated. He saw the English government as one where it separated and balanced powers instead of one central part holding all the power. Montesquieu contributed to the checks and balances system when the US was beginning to…show more content…
His ideas were dominant over other philosophers' about how a government should be run during the beginning of the French Revolution. “Democratic and Aristocratic states are not in their own nature free. Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments; and even in these it is not always found. It is there only when there is no abuse of power. But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to use it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go.” (Montesquieu, Book XI, Ch.4). Charles’ ideas inspired the French to create the Declaration of the Rights of Man and to make a better government after overthrowing the monarchy. Montesquieu also influenced the American Revolution in a massive way. He warned, “Were the executive power not to have a right or restraining the encroachments of the legislative body, the latter would become despotic; for as it might arrogate to itself what authority it pleased, it would soon destroy all the other powers.” The Founding Fathers took his advice on the separation of powers when drafting the Constitution. They formed the independent parts of the government we have today which is the executive(President), legislative(Congress) and judiciary(the Supreme Court) branches in the federal Constitution. Montesquieu was a significant enlightenment philosopher on both the French and American revolutions because of his ideas on how the
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