Classic Works

Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748)

I. Montesquieu’s Liberal Realism

Liberalism, the dominant but far from unchallenged political theory in our post-Cold War world, originated as a modification of Thomas Hobbes’s political theory. The early liberals, such as John Locke, Baruch Spinoza, and Montesquieu, affirmed the Hobbesian principle that government originates in a social contract devised by naturally apolitical human beings driven by the fear of death to unite under a common authority guaranteeing the security of all. But they broke with Hobbes in holding that the security that men seek is to be found in regimes of limited rather than absolute government. Thus, the liberals attached far greater significance to freedom, understood as a right of non-interference by the state, than Hobbes had done, but without denying any of his basic premises.

The early liberal outlook on international relations is similarly a modification of Hobbes’s outlook on international relations. To this extent, they, unlike the later liberal idealist Immanuel Kant, belong in the realist tradition. Among the liberal realists, none devoted more attention to international relations and foreign policy than the French philosopher and lawyer Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755). This is the case in large part because Montesquieu was peculiarly concerned with the conditions for and limits to freedom imposed by climate, terrain, and mores, which differ from nation to nation. Montesquieu posited that some of the conditions for freedom could be secured and some of the limits to freedom overcome by the profusion of commerce. In addition to fostering freedom, commerce would, in Montesquieu’s view, make nations more peaceable. Montesquieu is indeed the classic source of the thesis that the promotion of international trade will result in international peace. Given all of this, and given the importance in contemporary world affairs of the question of whether or how liberal regimes ought to promote freedom in radically different parts of the world, Montesquieu is of particular interest today.

In addition to elucidating Montesquieu’s account of the liberalizing and pacifying effects of commerce, this essay will examine Montesquieu’s reflections on the practical foreign policy implications of the right of national self-preservation. Of particular importance in this connection are his accounts of the variation in foreign policy according to regime type, the value of confederation, and the role and limits of conquest. Examining these reflections, along with Montesquieu’s praise of England as the best regime, will help us to determine the character of a Montesquieuian foreign policy.


II. Montesquieu’s Best Regime

Montesquieu’s magnum opus, The Spirit of the Laws (1748) is a long and complex book that we neither can nor need to treat comprehensively here. Nevertheless, a few words should be said about the general character and organization of the work. Montesquieu’s professed aim in The Spirit of the Laws is to examine laws in the light of their relations to the natures and principles of governments; the terrains and climates of countries; the degrees of liberty sustained by constitutions; peoples’ ways of life, religions, inclinations, wealth, number, commerce, mores, and manners; as well as in the light of the laws’ relations to one another (I.3).[1] Montesquieu’s interest in examining these relations, which he terms “the spirit of the laws,” reflects his attention to national diversity and the effect that diversity has on the limits and possibilities of politics. In this respect, Montesquieu’s political theory stands out as less doctrinaire and less abstract than Hobbes’s or Locke’s.

In this same spirit, the state of nature doctrine that looms so large for Hobbes and Locke plays a smaller part for Montesquieu. While Montesquieu, like his predecessors, takes the state of nature as his starting point and arrives at the same fundamental conclusion as they do, namely, that the primary motive for human association is the fearful pursuit of security (I.2), he quickly moves beyond that starting point. He turns to an examination of what he understands to be the three basic regime types—republics, in which the people as a whole (democracy) or a part of the people (aristocracy) rule; monarchies, in which one rules in accord with law; and despotisms, in which one rules lawlessly, at will—and their respective animating principles—virtue, understood as a dutiful, self-denying love of country and equality; honor; and fear.

Yet, even as the lesson of the state of nature seems to recede from Montesquieu’s analysis, it leads to his ultimately critical, though not altogether unadmiring, judgment on traditional republics. For, upon examination, Montesquieu finds that, notwithstanding its nobility, the virtue-animated politics of republics does not best meet the true goal of politics, security, which comes to sight when one considers the state of nature. Virtue fails to prevent the abuse of political power (XI.4). More effective and less repressive is the open competition for power among the ambitious that one finds in monarchies (III.7). The selfish rather than virtuous pursuit of power by many individuals has the effect of moderating the exercise of political power. Hence Montesquieu can imply that, whereas republics are not naturally free, monarchies are (XI.4).

The sort of regime that best provides for security is neither the traditional republic nor the traditional monarchy but one in which the constitution aims directly at “political liberty,” specifically, England (XI.5). Much in the spirit of Hobbes, Montesquieu challenges the republican conception of political liberty as the liberty to do as one wishes, on the ground that the exercise of such liberty or independence would have the effect of imperiling everyone’s liberty. The only secure liberty is “the right to do everything the laws permit” (XI.3). We see the close connection between liberty and security in the form that liberty takes in the individual citizen. Political liberty, Montesquieu observes, manifests itself in the citizen as a “tranquility of spirit which comes from the opinion each one has of his security” (XI.5-6). The English constitution promotes political liberty by separating the three powers of the state, legislative, executive, and judicial, in such a way that the state cannot oppress the people (XI.6). This separation of powers allows England to enjoy the advantage of the competition for power among the ambitious in monarchies without suffering from the irrational preoccupation with “a false honor” that motivates that competition in those regimes (III.7). Unrestrained by virtue and unconcerned with honor, the English freely follow the natural inclination to seek power for themselves. The structure of the English constitution channels this acquisitiveness in such a way that it redounds to the liberty and security of all. Thus, the English constitution realizes the true goal of politics better than traditional republics or monarchies without having to distort human nature in the way that those regimes do.


III. Obstacles to Liberty

After demonstrating the primacy of liberty, properly understood, as the goal of politics, and the superiority of the English regime in securing that goal (Books I-XIII), Montesquieu brings to light the obstacles to liberty arising from the climate; terrain; and spirit, mores, and manners of nations (Books XIV-XIX). Montesquieu’s conviction that the liberal republicanism practiced in England is the superior form of politics does not lead him to assume that it ought to be replicated throughout the world. For, in his view, that form of politics presupposes climactic, geographic, and historical conditions that do not obtain in much of the world. Human beings are not so similar as to be able to lead the same sort of political life. In emphasizing the extent to which human beings and their political prospects are shaped by climate, geography, and history, Montesquieu opens the door to historicism. But it should be emphasized that he does not step through that door. Certainly, he does not affirm the radical historicist claim of later thinkers that there is no fixed human nature offering a standard for political judgment. So, while Montesquieu emphasizes the diversity of nations far more than previous philosophers had done, that emphasis does not entail a denial of political principles that apply universally.

According to Montesquieu, cooler climates are more hospitable to freedom than warmer climates because cold air contracts and strengthens the body’s fibers, improves circulation, and thereby makes men more vigorous, whereas hot air does the opposite. Consequently, denizens of cooler climates tend to be confident, courageous, and active, whereas denizens of warmer climates tend to be meek, cowardly, and passive (XIV.2). Thus, the former tend to be more independent and therefore more apt to establish and maintain a liberal polity. In hot climates, the best that the legislator can do is to correct for his country’s characteristic vices, by, for example, encouraging industriousness, especially in agriculture (XIV.5-9). Yet in some of those countries, despotism, even slavery, is inescapable (XV.7). The tendency toward despotism in hot climates is only compounded by the polygamous family arrangements that are common there (XVI.2). This experience of domestic slavery makes men more favorably disposed to political despotism.

The influence of terrain is greatest in temperate zones, where the climate is not so extreme as to be politically decisive. Paradoxically, good politics, that is, liberal politics, are more likely to emerge on poor terrain. Montesquieu’s basic argument is twofold. First, the need to provide for oneself in the absence of natural abundance brings forth the vigorous qualities needed for liberty. Second, liberty is easier to preserve in mountainous terrain because such terrain is easier to defend and harder to attack than flatter land is. Out of these conditions emerged the liberty of the ancient Germans. Yet these barbarians tended toward an excessive pride and bellicosity, which threatened their own security. In this respect, the ancient Germans are not simply a model for Montesquieu. It is better when the vigor that emerges in such terrain gets directed less to war and more to agriculture and commerce.

Finally, a nation’s political possibilities are shaped by its general spirit, manners, and mores, its distinctive way of life, which emerges over the course of history. The legislator must take care to follow the grain of opinion in a country. Attempts to promote liberty in a country without the proper spirit, manners, and mores will not only be ineffective but will also produce a “tyranny…of opinion” in which people become insecure as they see their way of life challenged (XIX.3, 14). Insofar as political liberty depends upon an opinion of one’s security, such attempts will be counterproductive. Montesquieu warns “that the mores and manners of a despotic state must never be changed” as “nothing would be more promptly followed by a revolution” (XIX.12). Since such states have no laws, mores and manners are the only source of order. But this is an extreme case. With respect to other regimes, Montesquieu teaches that it is possible to change the general spirit of the nation in such a way as to make it more conducive to liberty. His basic contention is that, whereas the legislator ought not to seek to make a people virtuous, he ought to foster the passions naturally found in human beings that are conducive to industry and commerce, such as vanity and acquisitiveness (XIX.9-10). Montesquieu makes quite clear that he is encouraging legislators to foster moral vice (XIX.11). He concludes his reflections on the general spirit, manners, and mores of nations in Book XIX with a chapter on the way of life of England, where morally dubious passions are unleashed and supportive of liberty. Commerce, which depends upon and intensifies these passions, is central to the English way of life. And it is through the spread of commerce that Montesquieu thinks that the general spirit, manners, and mores of other nations can be made to approximate those of England and thereby make liberty possible.


IV. Commerce

Commerce, according to Montesquieu, fosters a spirit of selfish acquisition that is, while not unlawful, amoral, not to say immoral (XX.2). For this reason, commercial peoples tend to be materialistic and individualistic. The commercial spirit has the advantage of focusing the mind on the one thing most needful for human beings, security. It also accords with the spirit of ambitious competition that characterizes the liberal republicanism Montesquieu admires in England. For these reasons, the promotion of commerce stands out as a way for legislators to overcome some of the obstacles to liberty arising from the general spirit, mores, and manners of nations.

While Montesquieu views commerce as a means for overcoming obstacles to freedom, he recognizes that there are obstacles to commerce. It is not a panacea. In order for commerce to liberalize a country, there have to be some liberties and some security in place already. For this reason, commerce is not likely to thrive in despotisms, except in those places in which foreign traders are able to take advantage of the love of luxury typical of those regimes (XXII.14, VII.4). Even in those exceptions, the spread of commerce and its liberalizing effects will ultimately be determined by the despot. Given this, Montesquieu’s hopes for commerce apply mainly to moderate governments, to republics and monarchies, and to the relatively temperate zones of the world that are conducive to such governments.

In addition to advancing liberty within nations, commerce, Montesquieu hopes, will advance peace among nations. For, while the commercial spirit is selfish, materialistic, and bereft of the nobility of traditional republican virtue, it is not harsh, violent, or oppressive, especially in international relations. “The natural effect of commerce is to lead to peace,” Montesquieu contends (XX.2). For commerce gives rise to mutual dependence among nations. Commercial peoples seek to trade with rather than conquer other nations. And, in the course of doing business with one another, commercial peoples become acquainted with foreign ways and, thus, “[cured] of destructive prejudices” (XX.1). Part of Montesquieu’s thought is the premise that animosity toward foreigners is rooted prejudice, and the corollary that mutual understanding, having corrected such prejudice, will produce concord. He also thinks that nations doing business with one another are already similar to one another and are bound to become more so. In the decisive respect, in their dedication to the pursuit of wealth by trade, commercial nations are the same. Differences among them are secondary and, for that reason, unlikely to stand in the way of peaceful commerce. Montesquieu thus displays remarkable confidence that peoples wanting to make a buck need only to get to know one another in order to get along.


V. Confederation

Montesquieu’s hope for peace through commerce is not so great as to keep him from discussing war. In Books IX and X, the last two books in Montesquieu’s analysis of the three traditional regimes, he examines the differing foreign policies appropriate to these regimes. These books, which concern “the laws in their relation with defensive force” and “offensive force,” respectively, contain important reflections on confederation and conquest. We shall take them up in turn.

Montesquieu begins Book IX by addressing himself to the core security challenge facing republics, namely, that remaining small in size, a requirement for the preservation of virtue, has the effect of making republics susceptible to conquest (IX.1). Montesquieu readily identifies a solution to this age-old problem, “the federal republic” or confederation, “a kind of constitution that has all the internal advantages of republican government and the external force of a monarchy” (IX.1). Individually weak, republics become collectively strong by pooling their forces in the service of a common foreign policy. Confederations guard not only against external threats but also against internal threats insofar as attempts at usurpation in one member state can be resisted by the others. Montesquieu’s identification of Rome, along with the ancient Greek cities, the barbarian defeaters of Rome, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany, as an exemplar of the advantages of confederation suggests that these advantages are not merely defensive in character.

All confederations are not created equal, however. It is better for the member states all to be republican rather than for some to be republican and others to be monarchical. For, given that “[t]he spirit of monarchies is war and expansion” and “the spirit of republics is peace and moderation,” mixed confederations will be internally divided unless there is a single leader that rules the whole by force, in which case the confederation as a whole will take on a rather more monarchical than republican character (IX.2). Yet, in other ways, Montesquieu is perfectly willing to sacrifice the equality and freedom of the individual member states for the good of the whole. He favors confederations in which no one member can form alliances without the consent of all the others, in which power is distributed and taxes requisitioned in proportion to size, and in which officials of the member states are elected by the common council (IX.3). One wonders whether these arrangements would not limit the self-government of the member states, especially the smaller ones, in important ways. There may indeed be some tradeoff between security and virtue. As we have seen in his preference for English republicanism over traditional republicanism, Montesquieu sides emphatically with security. In this connection, we are reminded that Montesquieu’s vision of modern republicanism, shorn as it is of the principle of virtue, does not entail small states. To this extent, the most fundamental solution to the problem of security in republics offered by Montesquieu’s political science is not so much confederation as it is the abandonment of virtue in favor of commercial acquisitiveness.

Montesquieu concludes Book IX by reflecting on the manner in which despotisms and monarchies defend themselves. They tend to be larger than republics and, for that reason, do not need to turn to confederations. In one of the many indications of the unattractiveness of despotism in The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu observes that despots create barriers to enemies by ravaging their own borderlands, “doing to [themselves] all the ill that could be done by a cruel enemy” (IX.4). Monarchs (who can, by contrast with despots, rely on armies) defend their states by erecting armed strongholds on their frontiers (IX.5).

With a view to counteracting the general tendency of monarchies to make war, as well as to criticizing Louis XIV’s ambition to found a universal monarchy in Europe, Montesquieu warns that, beyond a certain point, territorial expansion weakens rather than strengthens states. States ought, Montesquieu argues, to limit their expansion such that the army can rapidly get to any corner of the land in order to repel invasion (IX.6-7). He criticizes as futile and dangerous Machiavellian attempts to overcome internal division by way of external conquests, warns against forsaking relative power in favor of absolute power, and discourages princes from attacking weak neighbors (IX.8-10). Thus Montesquieu seeks to discourage conquest. It should be noted that he does so on entirely prudential grounds. All of this sets the stage for his treatment of offensive warfare in Book X.


VI. War and Conquest

Montesquieu begins Book X by asserting that “[o]ffensive force is regulated by the right of nations,” an idea which he originally introduced in Book I (X.1). There, Montesquieu explained that “[t]he right of nations is by nature founded on the principle that the various nations should do to one another in times of peace the most good possible, and in times of war the least ill possible, without harming their true interests” (I.3). The true interest of the nations is self-preservation, according to Montesquieu. “The object of war is victory; of victory, conquest; of conquest, preservation” (I.3). Following Hobbes, Montesquieu treats the nation’s right to wage war in self-defense as parallel to the individual’s right to kill in self-defense. The underlying principle is the same: One is compelled by necessity to defend oneself and cannot therefore reasonably be blamed for doing so. Whenever one feels threatened, one has the right to kill or to wage war. Preemptive war is therefore justified. Nations will have greater occasion to exercise this right than individuals, insofar as the latter have recourse to the law for protection and are therefore less vulnerable to assault than are nations (X.2).

While Montesquieu, following Machiavelli’s and Hobbes’s break with the Thomistic or Scholastic tradition, denies that nations face any moral limitations in their pursuit of preservation, he insists that self-preservation is the only just cause for war and conquest. And his rendering of the principle of the right of nations, reproduced above, suggests that, while nations are never required to sacrifice their own safety, they do have a duty to do good to one another and to be scrupulous in avoiding doing harm to one another. One can say, then, that while Montesquieu basically follows Hobbes, he does more to encourage a beneficent and pacific foreign policy than his predecessor. He goes out of his way to attack Machiavelli, warning:

the right of war derives from necessity and from a strict justice. If those who direct the conscience or the councils of princes do not hold to these, all is lost; and, when that right is based on arbitrary principles of glory, of propriety, of utility, tides of blood will inundate the earth. Above all, let one not speak of the prince’s glory; his glory is his arrogance; it is a passion and not a legitimate right. (X.2)

Montesquieu encourages the un-Machiavellian thought that the prince is better served by pursuing a “reputation for justice” than a “reputation for power” (X.2).

In the spirit of this more benevolent realism, Montesquieu urges that conquerors generally refrain from killing or enslaving the conquered on the ground that, in most cases, neither is necessary for self-preservation. Montesquieu, in contrast with the Thomistic or Scholastic tradition, does not allow for punishment in a spirit of retribution. He goes so far as to contend that the conqueror is obliged to allow the conquered eventually to become ordinary subjects, once “all the parts of the conquering state are bound to those of the conquered state by custom, marriage, laws, associations, and a certain conformity of spirit” (X.3). Montesquieu praises the “modern” practice of governing conquered populations according to the conquering nation’s own laws, in contrast with the ancient Roman practice of exterminating them. For this improvement, Montesquieu pays “homage…to our modern times, to contemporary reasoning, to the religion of the present day, to our philosophy, and to our mores” (X.3). Here we see an important criticism of traditional republicanism in terms of foreign policy. The promotion of commerce that Montesquieu goes on to effect in The Spirit of the Laws will, in fostering gentle mores, presumably enhance this welcome trend.

As Book X unfolds, we see that Montesquieu’s encouragement of a more benevolent realism does not involve simply arguing for limits on the right of conquest. It gradually becomes apparent that he envisions conquest, undertaken in the right spirit under the right circumstances, as a potentially positive good. In Chapter 4, he observes that conquered states tend to have been weakened and made ripe for conquest by corruption. Insofar as these states are often despotic, the conqueror can actually be a liberator not only from political oppression but also and perhaps even more importantly from “harmful prejudices” (X.4). Montesquieu criticizes the Spanish for failing to do this when they killed the natives of Mexico. As the advantages of conquest for the conquered come to the fore, strictures about the preservative character of just conquest recede.

In the chapters that follow Montesquieu makes clear that only monarchies are apt for carrying out benevolent conquests. Since republics must be small, they cannot incorporate many foreigners into their states. When they conquer populations to which they cannot or do not extend their freedom, they tend to rule those populations more despotically than monarchically. At the same time, they threaten their own freedom by investing too much power in magistrates (X.6-7). Monarchies are better suited to expansion, but, as in Book IX, Montesquieu here warns against the dangers of excessive expansion (X.9). He is less sanguine about the benefits to both conqueror and conquered when monarchies conquer neighboring monarchies. In these cases, the conquered populations are already civilized and therefore stand to gain less from being conquered. It may be partially for this reason that he argues that conquerors in these cases are best served by allowing the conquered populations to maintain their laws and mores (X.9, 11).

Montesquieu’s model conqueror is Alexander the Great. He introduces Alexander by way of contrast with his failed imitator, Charles XII of Sweden. “Alexander’s project,” Montesquieu contends, “succeeded only because it was sensible” (X.13). In setting his sights on Persia, Alexander chose an eminently defeatable enemy. Persia was in a state of decline relative to Greece; its natural fertility and the industry of its people meant that it had the abundance to support conquerors; and its arrogant kings made for reckless opponents. Alexander, who, “in the rapidity of his actions, even in the heat of his passions, was led by a vein of reason,” combined boldness and wisdom (X.13). With a spirit that Machiavelli would admire, Alexander, “[i]n the beginning of his enterprise, that is, at a time when a defeat could have set him back…left little to chance; when fortune set him above events, temerity was sometimes one of his means” (X.14). Perhaps even more impressive than his manner of acquiring territory was his manner of preserving it. Montesquieu emphasizes that Alexander respected and maintained the laws and mores of those he conquered, sometimes to the point of leaving conquered rulers in power, albeit as his deputies. Yet the ultimate outcome of this accommodation was, in the decisive sense, to unite the Greeks and the Persians (X.14). Thus Alexander liberated the barbarian Persians from their harmful prejudices by stealth. Montesquieu’s emphasis on Alexander’s deference to Persian religion and his observation that Alexander had no compunction about using Jews as colonists shows how far his favored form of imperialism is from pious or otherwise moralistic crusading. In Alexander, Montesquieu sees a purveyor of enlightenment. This merit must outweigh any reservations about his conquests being unnecessary for Greece’s preservation. At least Montesquieu expresses none.

Montesquieu’s teaching on war and conquest, including his encomium to Alexander, must be reconsidered in the light of the arguments in favor of the English regime and of commerce that follow, which we have already discussed. Those arguments show that, in the final analysis, Montesquieu regards the profusion of international commerce, rather than the benevolent conquest of an Alexander, as the best way to root out political oppression and the prejudices upon which it depends. England, he observes, is a commercial rather than a conquering nation (XIX.27). Then again, Montesquieu sees in commerce the potential for a new sort of benevolent conquest that will yield a freer, more peaceful world.


[1] Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, ed. and trans. Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, Harold Samuel Stone (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).


For Further Reading

Recommended Translations of Montesquieu’s Major Political Works:

Montesquieu. Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline. Translated by David Lowenthal. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999.

———. Persian Letters. Edited by Andrew Kahn. Translated by Margaret Mauldon. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

———. The Spirit of the Laws. Edited and translated by Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, Harold Samuel Stone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Selected Secondary Works on Montesquieu:

Althusser, Louis. Politics and History: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Marx. London: Verso, 2007.

Aron, Raymond. Main Currents in Sociological Thought. Vol. 1. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1998.

Bartlett, Robert C. The Idea of Enlightenment: A Postmortem Study.Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011.

———. “On the Politics of Faith and Reason: The Project of Enlightenment in Pierre Bayle and Montesquieu.” The Journal of Politics 63, no. 1 (February 1, 2001): 1-28.

Berlin, Isaiah. “Montesquieu.” In Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas, 164-203. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Boesche, Roger. “Fearing Monarchs and Merchants: Montesquieu’s Two Theories of Despotism.” The Western Political Quarterly 43, no. 4 (December 1, 1990): 741-61.

Carrese, Paul. “Montesquieu’s Complex Natural Right and Moderate Liberalism: The Roots of American Moderation.” Polity 36, no. 2 (January 1, 2004): 227-50.

Carrithers, David W., Michael A. Mosher, and Paul A. Rahe. Montesquieu’s Science of Politics: Essays on The Spirit of Laws. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

Ceaser, James W. “Alexis de Tocqueville and the Two-Founding Thesis.” The Review of Politics 73, no. 2 (April 1, 2011): 219-43. doi: 10.1017/S0034670511000052.

Cohler, Anne M. Introduction to The Spirit of the Laws, xi-xxviii. Edited and translated by Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, Harold Samuel Stone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

———. Montesquieu’s Comparative Politics and the Spirit of American Constitutionalism. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1988.

Courtney, C. P. Montesquieu and Burke. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975.

Deudney, Daniel. Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from Polis to the Global Village. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

———. “Publius before Kant: Federal-Republican Security and Democratic Peace.” European Journal of International Relations 10, no. 3 (September 2004): 315-56. doi: 10.1177/1354066104045540.

Durkheim, Emile. Montesquieu and Rousseau: Forerunners of Sociology. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1961.

Hirschman, Albert O. The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before its Triumph. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Howse, Robert. “Montesquieu on Commerce, War, and Peace” Brookings Journal of International Law 31, no. 3 (2006): 693-708.

Hulliung, Mark. Montesquieu and the Old Regime. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.

Kessler, Sanford. “Religion & Liberalism in Montesquieu’s Persian Letters.” Polity 15, no. 3 (April 1, 1983): 380–396.

Keohane, Nannerl O. “Virtuous Republics and Glorious Monarchies: Two Models in Montesquieu’s Political Thought.” Political Studies 20, no. 4 (December 1972): 383-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.1972.tb01431.x.

Kingston, Rebecca. Montesquieu and His Legacy. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009.

Krause, Sharon R. Liberalism with Honor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.

———. “The Politics of Distinction and Disobedience: Honor and the Defense of Liberty in Montesquieu.” Polity 31, no. 3 (April 1, 1999): 469-99.

———. “The Spirit of Separate Powers in Montesquieu.” The Review of Politics 62, no. 2 (April 1, 2000): 231-65. doi: 10.1017/S0034670500029454.

———. “The Uncertain Inevitability of Decline in Montesquieu.” Political Theory 30, no. 5 (October 1, 2002): 702-27.

Lerner, Ralph. “Commerce and Character: The Anglo-American as New-Model Man.” The William and Mary Quarterly 36, no. 1 (January 1979): 3-26.

Levy, Jacob T. “Beyond Publius: Montesquieu, Liberal Republicanism and the Small-Republic Thesis.” History of Political Thought 27 (Spring 2006): 50-90.

Long, Katya. “Civilising International Politics: Republicanism and the World Outside.” Millennium Journal of International Studies 38, no. 3 (May 2010): 773-96. doi: 10.1177/0305829810364195.

———.”The ‘anti-Hobbes’? Montesquieu’s Contribution to International Relations Theory.” In-Spire Journal of Law, Politics and Societies 3, no. 2 (2008): 88-101.

Lowenthal, David. “Book I of Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws.” The American Political Science Review 53, no. 2 (June 1, 1959): 485-98.

———.”Montesquieu.” In History of Political Philosophy, 513-34. Edited by Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Manent, Pierre. The City of Man. Translated by Marc A. LePain. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Mansfield, Harvey C. Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Mosher, Michael A. “Montesquieu on Conquest: Three Cartesian Heroes and Five Good Enough Empires.” Revue Montesquieu 8: 81-110.

Pangle, Thomas L. Montesquieu’s Philosophy of Liberalism: A Commentary on The Spirit of the Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

———. The Theological Basis of Liberal Modernity in Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

Pangle, Thomas L., and Peter J. Ahrensdorf. “Montesquieuian Progressivism.” In Justice among Nations: On the Moral Basis of Power and Peace, 157-61. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1999.

Patapan, Haig. “Democratic International Relations: Montesquieu and the Theoretical Foundations of Democratic Peace Theory.” In Democracies at War. Special Issue,  Australian Journal of International Affairs 66, no. 3 (2012): 313-29. doi: 10.1080/10357718.2012.672951.

Pocock, J.G.A. Virtue, Commerce, and History: Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Radasanu, Andrea. “Montesquieu on Ancient Greek Foreign Relations: Toward National Self-Interest and International Peace.” Political Research Quarterly 66, no. 1 (March 2013): 3-17.

Rahe, Paul A. “Empires Ancient and Modern.” The Wilson Quarterly 28, no. 3 (Summer 2004): 68-84.

———. Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty: War, Religion, Commerce, Climate, Terrain, Technology, Uneasiness of Mind, the Spirit of Political Vigilance, and the Foundations of the Modern Republic. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

———. “Montesquieu’s anti-Machiavellian Machiavellianism.” History of European Ideas 37, no. 2 (June 2011): 128-36. doi:10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2011.01.007.

———. New Modes and Orders in Early Modern Political Thought. Vol. 2 in Republics Ancient and Modern. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

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