Essay on Charles Et Secondat, Baron De La Brede Et De Monte

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Charles Et Secondat, Baron De La Brede Et De Montesquieu

Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu was born in 1689 to a French
noble family. "His family tree could be traced 350 years, which in his view made its name
neither good nor bad." (The Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, p. 68) Montesquieu's views
started to be shaped at a very early age. A beggar was chosen to be his godfather to
remind him of his obligations to the poor.Montesquieu's education started at the age of 11
when he was sent to Juilly, a school maintained by the Congregation of the Oratory. From
1705 to 1709 he studied law in Bordeaux. "From 1705 to 1709 he was a legal apprentice in
Paris. There he came to know some of the most advanced thinkers of his time: Fredet, the
Abbe Lama, and Boulainvilliers.(Ibid.). In 1716 Montesquieu got a seat of president a
mortier in the parlement of Guyenne from his deceased uncle. Even though he did not like
his job he believed parliaments were necessary to control the monarchs. In 1721
Montesquieu published the Persian Letters, which he began working on while studying in
Bordeaux. The book was a success. In the Persian Letters Montesquieu showed how relative
all of the French values were. Even though the technique used in this witty book was
previously used by other writers, Montesquieu did a great job making fun of the European
values. At that time he already believed in the immorality of European practices such as
religious prosecution. The book gave roots for Montesquieu's later arguments and ideas.
When in 1728 Montesquieu, with the help of his Parisian connections he got elected to the
French Academy, he was happy to sell his office of president a mortier. In the course of
the next three years he traveled all over Europe, visiting Germany, Hungary, England,
Holland, Austria, and Italy. It is not surprising that out of his European tour the
country which had the greatest impact on his later work (just like it did on Voltaire's)
was England. During his stay there he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. After he
returned to France the second portion of his carrier had began. He became a full time
writer, traveling between his La Brede estate and Paris. It is during this period that the
Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline and the
Spirit of Laws were written. In the Considerations Montesquieu used Roman history to prove
some of his ideas about reasons for the rise and the fall of civilizations. His most
important point was that history is made by causes and effects, by events influenced by
man, and not by luck. His ideas are summarized in this passage:I is not fortune that rules
the world . . .The Romans had a series of consecutive successes when their government
followed one policy, and an unbroken set of reverses when it adopted another. There are
general causes, whether moral or physical, which act upon every monarchy, which create,
maintain, or ruin it. All accidents are subject to these causes, and if the chance loss of
a battle, that is to say, a particular cause, ruins a state, there is a general cause that
created the situation whereby this state could perish by the loss of a single battle.
(1734, chapter 18)Montesquieu disliked democracy. In the Considerations he argued that in
a democratic society conflicts were essential because various groups would argue for their
own interest. He believed that the division of the Roman empire was caused by two many
freedoms. On the other hand he also opposed a system where social classes oppress other
classes without resistance. After 20 years of work Montesquieu published his most complete
book, The Spirit of Laws. In this comparison of different government types, Montesquieu
used his views on human nature to explain human actions and passions and predict the most
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