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Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) Paperback – September 29, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0521369749 ISBN-10: 0521369746

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Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) + Leviathan: With Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 + Second Treatise of Government
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
  • Paperback: 808 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 29, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521369746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521369749
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By entropier on August 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are mainly two reasons why Montequieu's book is important. One is for his ideas, which still have relevance for current political issues, such as separation of church and state. The second is that it represents an important historical milestone in political thought. The real bonus is that, in the translation, his work reads in a way that is both intellectually engaging, by which I mean he gets you thinking about the issues, and also engaging (if entertaining is not quite the right word) as a series of philosophical perspectives delivered in a direct way generally free of jargon.
The most interesting part of his book for me was at the outset, in his comparison of despotism, republics and democracy.
The really important aspect of his book is that so many of the threshold policitical issues that he discusses are still live issues. How much should the state intervene? What constitutes good laws? What parts of life in a political society are the business of the state?
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "knudy" on February 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
an understanding of Montesquieu is critical for today's emerging democracies, in that he was one of the first to recognize the importance of securing the liberty of the governed with the aid of reason, such as by constitutional design and by the rule of law. The probelm is that there is a caveat to his theory: democracy may not be the best form of government for every country.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Our founding fathers studied Montesquieu's writings of pure democracy and rejected that form of government for our constitution. This book should be read by every student in high school,so they might have a comparison to U.S. Constitution vs other forms of ancient gov- ernments. Our founders were nothing less than brillant to invent a democratic republic;whereby allowing the citizens to rule, but not as a mob.
Ron Steele Moab Utah
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Format: Paperback
This is very interesting about Montesquieu. Every member of congress should read it and take it to heart. It appears that the majority of our founding fathers did read it and take it very seriously. It is something that all Americans who are interested in our government should consider reading. It is amazingly quite easy to read though, I would suggest having a good dictionary handy while reading it. Some of our members of congress I just do not believe would understand, even if someone was reading the dictionary for them. That is a sad commentary about the facts we all must face, however.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel DiLeo on June 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Montesquieu is best known as a source fof the separation of powers doctrine in the American Constitution. But there is much more in this book, including a strong argument for federalism as a system that combines security from foreign invasion with the benefits of small government. Running throughout is the concern with republican virtue as the purpose of the state and a deep discussion of the role of reason in moderate governance. He defends an Aristotelian conception of limited reason that questions yet allocates significant roles to both religion and local customs.
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Format: Paperback
Years of Enlightment, wow! Montesquieu and the kind give hope and courage to realize and keep in mind that mankind produces also sound, independent thinkers, not only macho power seekers and mobs.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RAD on July 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Montesquieu - my favorite interpretation of Charles de Montesquieu.
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