The French philosophe Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) was a political and social thinker of enormous depth, range, originality, and influence. The essays by eminent scholars reprinted in this volume explore significant aspects of his contributions to political, constitutional, and religious thought during the epoch of the French Enlightenment. Topics highlighted include his Persian Letters (1721), his history of Rome (1734), and the views he expressed in The Spirit of Laws (1748) on natural law, forms of government, English constitutionalism, religion, commerce, international relations, and the philosophy of history. Supplemented by a detailed introduction that contextualizes the papers selected for this volume, as well as an extensive bibliography, this work serves as an authoritative reference to the best scholarship on Montesquieu's political thought. The volume is edited and introduced by David W. Carrithers, Adolph Ochs Professor of Government at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and author of numerous publications on Montesquieu.
Contents: Introduction; Part I The Persian Letters: Personality and politics in the Persian Letters, Orest Ranum; The idea of nature in the Lettres Persanes, Ronald Grimsley; Montesquieu's story of the troglodytes: its background, meaning and significance, Allessandro S. Crisafulli. Part II Roman History: The design of Montesquieu's considerations: Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline, David Lowenthal; Christianity and politics in Montesquieu's Greatness and Decline of the Romans, Richard Myers. Part III The Methodology of The Spirit of Laws: Montesquieu and the problem of 'la diversité', C.P. Courtney; Montesquieu's methodology: holism, individualism, and morality, David Young; Montesquieu's method, Emile Durkheim; Montesquieu's science of politics: absolute values and ethical relativism in L'Esprit des Lois, George Klosko. Part IV Republics: Montesquieu and the classics: republican government in The Spirit of the Laws, David Lowenthal; Virtuous republics and glorious monarchies: 2 models in Montesquieu's political thought, Nannerl O. Keohane; Not so virtuous republics: Montesquieu, Venice, and the theory of aristocratic republicanism, David W. Carrithers; The confederate republic in Montesquieu, Christopher Wolfe. Part V Monarchies: The politics of distinction and disobedience: honor and the defense of liberty in Montesquieu, Sharon Krause; A rhetoric of aristocratic reaction? Nobility in De l'Esprit des Lois, Johnson Kent Wright; Montesquieu and the concept of civil society, Melvin Richter. Part VI Despotisms: Montesquieu's comparative analysis of Europe and Asia: intended and unintended consequences, Melvin Richter; Montesquieu's view of despotism and his use of travel literature, David Young; Fearing monarchs and merchants: Montesquieu's 2 theories of despotism, Roger Boesche. Part VII England: Montesquieu, Bolingbroke, and the separation of powers, Robert Shackleton; Montesquieu, M.J.C. Vile; Montesquieu and the separation of powers, Pierre Manent. Part VIII Religion: Montesquieu's religious ideas, Roger B. Oake; Of believers and barbarians: Montesquieu's enlightened toleration, Diana Schaub. Part IX Commerce, Economics and International Relations: Montesquieu and the wealth of nations, Nicos E. Devletoglou; Commerce, power and justice: Montesquieu on international politics, Stephen J. Rosow. Part X Philosophy of History: Montesquieu's historical pessimism, Gilbert Chinard; Montesquieu's philosophy of history, David Carrithers; Name Index.