Baron de Montesquieu was a French political analyst during the Age of Enlightenment and is famous for his thoughts about the separation of powers. He was an influential figure in the Parliament, and during his time, he supervised prisons and heard criminal proceedings. He also did some studies about the governments and laws around the world. But while he was politically important, he sold his office to focus on writing. Let us take a look at de Montesquieu’s accomplishments in detail.
He Published Works That Are Significant To The French Society.
In 1721, de Montesquieu published Persian letters, which were a satire that uses sarcasm to convey message, and played on the ridiculousness of society from his point of view as a visitor in Paris. In 1734, he published “Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans”, and in 1748, he published “The Spirit of the Laws”, which is regarded as his most important work, in which he analyzed the French government and the spirit behind its laws. He wrote that the French society was divided into the trias politica, comprising the aristocracy, the monarchy and the commons, and that there are 2 types of government that existed, which are the sovereign and the administrative, which he believed to be divided into the executive, the judicial and the legislative. His writings entail that that these three powers should be separate from one another, but dependent on one another, believing that no power should become stronger than another. This was considered a radical theory as it essentially eliminated the feudalistic structure, but has been adapted up to the modern times, being called the separation of powers.
He Served In The Council Of The Bordeaux Parliament And Eventually Became One Of Its Leaders.
In 1714, de Montesquieu was appointed as a councilor in the Bordeaux Parliament and later went on to become its deputy president. As such, he established a social status for himself, becoming a wealthy man. While he was in Paris, he represented the Parliament and the Academy of Bordeaux, and it is also during this time when he went on to publish some of his minor works.
He Made Significant Travels In Europe.
By 1725, de Montesquieu had lost interest in his life in the Parliament and his political career, and eventually resigned from his office to leave France and travel. His journeys covered various parts of Italy, Germany, Austria and England, where he stayed for about a couple of years and became very impressed with its political system. In his return to France in 1731, he started working on a manuscript, which became “The Spirit of the Laws”, which was inspired by the English political system.
He Became One Of The Greatest Philosophers The World Has Ever Known.
Aside from being an author, jurist and political and social commentator, de Montesquieu is widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the late 17th and 18th centuries, with his political ideologies (which encouraged political freedom of thought and expression) influencing people all around the world, including English-American political activist Thomas Paine, Scottish philosopher David Hume, political theorist Hannah Arendt and French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville.
De Montesquieu died in Paris at the age of 66 due to severe fever, but before his time came, he left behind an unfinished draft of his work “Encyclopedie of Diderot and D’Alembert”.