Montesquieu's View On Separation Of Power

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MONTESQUIEU’S VIEW ON SEPARATION OF POWERS INTRODUCTION: Montesquieu (1689 - 1755), was a French lawyer, man of letters, and political philosopher who lived during the Age of Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. Montesquieu 's most influential work divided French society into three classes: • The monarchy, • The aristocracy, • The commons. Montesquieu saw two types of governmental power existing: the sovereign and the administrative. The administrative powers were the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. These should be separate from and dependent upon each other so that the influence of any one power would not be able to exceed that of the other two, either singly or in combination. This was a radical idea because it completely eliminated the three Estates structure of the French Monarchy: the clergy, the aristocracy, and the people at large represented by the Estates-General, thereby erasing the last vestige of a feudalistic structure. Likewise, there are three main forms of government, each supported by a social "principle": • Monarchies (free governments headed by a hereditary figure, e.g. king, queen, emperor), which rely on the principle of honor. • Republics (free governments headed by popularly elected leaders), which rely on the principle of virtue. • Despotisms (enslaved governments headed by dictators), which rely on fear. The free
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