Oeuvres de Monsieur de Montesquieu

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by Charles de Secondant, Marquis de Montesquieu

Œuvres de Monsieur de Montesquieu is the collected work of the Enlightenment-era French jurist, satirist, and political and social philosopher, Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède and de Montesquieu (1689-1755). Born at La Brède, he received a progressive education at the Oratorian Collège de Juilly and an education in law at University of Bordeaux in 1708.[1] After completing his education, he inherited the barony of Montesquieu in 1716 and the office of Président à Mortier at the Parliament of Guyenne at Bordeaux from his uncle.[2] In 1721, he rose to national and international fame when he published his first work, Lettres Persanes (The Persian Letters). It was a critical commentary of European civilization, customs, and institutions from the point of view of three Persians traveling in Europe and thus created controversy.

Montesquieu continued to publish several works until his death. His most influential was, L’Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws). In this work, he argued that “only a constitutional government that separates its executive, legislative, and judicial powers preserves political liberty, taken as the power to do what one ought to will. A constitutional monarchy with separation of powers is the best form of government.”[3] This idea of the necessity of separation of powers in governments[4] was influential to the authors of the U.S. Constitution and the political philosophers Burke and Rousseau.[5]

Bibliographic Information

Author: Charles de Secondant, Marquis de Montesquieu.

Title: Oeuvres de Monsieur de Montesquieu.

Publication Info: Londres: Nourse, 1767.

Edition: Nouv. éd. rev., cor., & considérablement augm. par l'auteur.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

See this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

External Links

Google Books Volume I


  1. World of Sociology, Gale, s.v. "Montesquieu Baron de (1689 - 1755)," accessed September 26, 2013, http://www.credoreference.com/entry/worldsocs/montesquieu_baron_de_1689_1755.
  2. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, s.v. "Montesquieu," accessed September 26, 2013, http://www.credoreference.com/entry/cupdphil/montesquieu.
  3. Ibid.
  4. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Houghton Mifflin, s.v. "Montesquieu, Charles, Baron de," accessed September 26, 2013, http://www.credoreference.com/entry/hmndcl/montesquieu_charles_baron_de.
  5. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, "Montesquieu."