Friday, January 14, 2005

Dumb Post

     Who is Charles de Secondat, Baron of Montesquieu, again?  I found these quotes on this page, which was gone, so I refound them all.

  • "They [, the men of the 1787 Convention] had for their oracle of political philosophy the treatise of Montesquieu on the spirit of laws, which, published anonymously at Geneva forty years before, had won its way to an immense authority on both sides of the ocean. Montesquieu, contrasting the private as well as public liberties of Englishmen with the despotism of continental Europe, had taken the Constitution of England as his model system, and had ascribed its merits to the division of legislative, executive, and judicial functions which he discovered in it, and to the system of checks and balances whereby its equilibrium seemed to be preserved. No general principle of politics laid such hold on the constitution-makers and statesmen of America as the dogma that the separation of these three functions is essential to freedom. It had already been made the groundwork of several state constitutions. It is always reappearing in their writings; it was never absent from their thoughts." James Bryce, American Commonwealth, vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1911), 29.
  • "The oracles usually consulted were Blackstone and Montesquieu. The 'Spirit of Laws' was studied by Washington as part of his preparation for the work of the convention," Hannis Taylor, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, vol. 1 (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1889), 60.
  • "Montesquieu is accepted as the oracle of political theory for that time," R. A. Ames and H. C. Montgomery, "The Influence of Rome on the American Constitution," CJ 30 (1935): 27.

     If Montesquieu was so big then, why don't all those damnable "Original Intent"ists and "Founding Fathers" worshippers talk about him?  Because Montesquieu is (in many ways) radical by modern American standards.  Please keep in mind he could have been killed, and/or his book banned (it almost was) for criticizing King or Church.

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