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Montesquieu, Charles Louis

( French philosopher and writer of the Enlightenment)

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Biography Montesquieu, Charles Louis
(1689-1755)
Known for his defense of the principle of separation of executive, legislative and judicial. Born in the castle Labred near Bordeaux on Jan. 18, 1689 in the family of Jacques de Secondat, Baron de Labred. He was educated at the College Oratory in Zhyuyi near Paris, and then, as befitting a native of the parliamentary 'mantle of nobility', began to study law at University of Bordeaux and became a lawyer in 1708.
After his father's death in 1713 Montesquieu, known before as de Labred, received an advisory post (or judge) in the parliament of Bordeaux. Soon he married, . was elected a member of the Bordeaux Academy, and after his uncle's death in 1716 received the title Baron de Montesquieu and the hereditary post of deputy chairman of the Parliament of Bordeaux (before the revolution, the parliament in France called the supreme court, . rather than legislative, . in England, . Body),
. Montesquieu, however, of little interest to professional legal career. Later, he noticed that he took the idea behind the existing laws, the slow development of social institutions and principles of law. So ten years later, in 1726, he gladly sold his position, which is quite consistent with acceptable at the time customs.

In his youth Montesquieu studied natural science experiments and presented their results at the Bordeaux Academy. Among them were monitoring the reduction of animal tissue during cooling and their expansion during heating. Later, these experiments formed the basis of the conclusions of the philosopher about the deep impact of climate on human rights and, consequently, on public institutions.

Won the sympathy of the general reading public in 1721 living satire of French society - Persian Letters (Les Lettres persanes), in 1728 Montesquieu was elected a member of the French Academy (after some hesitation, academics). In the same year he traveled to Austria, Italy, Germany's small principalities along the Rhine, the Netherlands. Of great significance was his stay in one and a half years in England. Here he attended the session, the House of Commons, watching with joyful surprise, open criticism of government policy, which was allowed opposition parties in Parliament and newspapers. Such freedom was possible under the absolute monarchy in his native France, as almost everywhere in the world at that time.

Montesquieu's whole life was devoted almost entirely of reading, meditation and slow, careful work on their essays. In the huge library in Labrede it every day sitting in front of a fireplace, reading or slowly dictating Secretary. With self-contained, allowing himself open only among friends, Montesquieu, sometimes appearing in the salons of Paris, standing aside and watching the variety of human types. Exhausted by years of research and writing, nearly blind from cataracts, but won fame and finished his great work, Montesquieu died in Paris on February 10, 1755.

Persian letters were published in 1721. They used the east took the entourage, who borrowed from Montesquieu published nezadologo before translation by Antoine Galland Thousand and One Nights, and descriptions of travels in the Middle East, J. Tavernier and Jean Chardin. Entertainment Siamese in Paris Charles Dufresne attracted the attention of the philosopher to a valuable literary acceptance - 'observations of an alien'. However, Montesquieu has surpassed all his predecessors. 'Write to me something like the Persian Letters', a kind of Parisian publisher appealed to young authors. Despite all attempts to simulate the work of Montesquieu and the emergence of the Turkish letters, Peruvian letters, letters Iroquois did not have the success that had the Persian Letters. In his letters to the Persian traveler describes a variety of stupidity and shortcomings, as well as more serious political and religious abuse in France 18. Strangers are amazed that the French seemed the natural order of things.

Often, the wit and irony of Montesquieu become vicious satire. He has already learned to write in the characteristic energetic and concise manner. 'The nobility are given only for the seat in the chair', - wrote a Persian Rica, mocking fashionable idleness European aristocracy (Letter 78). 'The great aristocrat - a man, litsezryaschy King, chatting with his ministers, as well as having ancestors, debts and pensions' - wrote Uzbek (Letter 88). In the Persian Letters attacks are also religious wars, the Inquisition, the Pope, the absolute monarchy of Louis XIV and the fiasco, which suffered John Lowe in conducting a so-called. Mississippi Plan. Montesquieu, Voltaire said, 'he thinks, and makes the thoughts of others'.

Reflections on the causes of the greatness and the fall of the Romans (Considrations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur dcadence, 1734, revised edition in 1748) - a small but very important for creativity Montesquieu's book. The key word in its long title is 'cause'. Why Rome rose, why it eventually fell? Historical events have their causes, and studying them, we will achieve wisdom, which would avoid the mistakes of the past.

The Spirit of Laws (De l'esprit des lois, 1748) - the life work of Montesquieu, the result of more than twenty years of reading, reflection and unhurried, careful literary work. With this book, political and social science was an art form and became available to the public. What laws? 'The laws - the author says in the beginning of the book - in the broadest sense of the word are the necessary relations arising from the nature of things'. Thus, these relations are inherent in things. You can find them and explore. They depend on the type of government, whether it is a tyranny, monarchy or democracy. They vary depending on the physical characteristics of the country, its cold, warm or temperate climate, size, topography - flat or mountainous, religion, number of people, manners, morals and customs of its inhabitants.

Thus, the concept of 'relativity' of human beliefs and institutions is of fundamental importance for the world Montesquieu. This is the approach that the world is not uniform. His own country is not always right. From this emphasis on 'Relativity' followed cosmopolitan conclusions. Among the favorite ideas of Montesquieu also was the principle of separation of powers - legislative, executive and judiciary, which he saw in action in England. In the analysis of power-sharing system and use of the principle of checks and balances on the board of Montesquieu took a more clear and definite position than Dzh.Lokk. Unlike Locke, he did not support the idea of the supremacy of the legislature. Book The Spirit of Laws hit the 'Index of prohibited books' in 1751. A year earlier, left a brilliant work of Montesquieu In Defense of 'Spirit of Laws' (Dfense de l'Esprit des lois).

Persian Letters, admitted the Italian jurist Beccaria C., had a significant influence on his treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764), in which he spoke out against torture and called for more humane judicial proceedings. Letters undoubtedly influenced the shape of some sayings of Voltaire's Candide and other works. Of course, they had a tremendous impact on a broad reading public. And today they are read with pleasure and not without good.

Reflections on the Romans inspired the great English historian Edward Gibbon to write a history of decay and destruction of the Roman Empire (1776-1788), although he disagreed with some of the conclusions of the philosopher. More recent historians of Rome often walked along the path already blazed by Montesquieu.

The Spirit of Laws was also the fundamental difficulty in the field of political thought. To him with a respected moderate leaders of the initial period of the French Revolution, and if Louis XVI was more powerful and capable ruler, France could establish a constitutional monarchy in the spirit of the British government. In the U.S., Montesquieu's book is popular, read it in French and in English translations.

This applies particularly to the analysis of Montesquieu, the British form of government. During the debate at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 'celebrated Montesquieu' is often cited as a well-known authority. Regarding the vital issue of power sharing, he wrote James Madison in the Federalist (? 47), 'oracle, which usually handle when it comes to this subject ... is Montesquieu. If he does not have priority in the authorship of this most valuable political concept, he, at least, the merit that it is most effectively presented to her humanity. "


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