The Spirit of Laws


Category: Liberty & Dignity/Politics/Religion

By Charles Louis de Secondat Montesquieu

Published in 1752

Reference #0259-0260

Second English Edition, in two volumes. “The Spirit of the Laws” was published anonymously in 1748 in French by Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu.

It was quickly translated into several different languages. Thomas Nugent translated the text from French into English and published the first English edition in 1850; the present edition is the second edition of this translation.

“The Spirit of the Laws” is an influential essay on political theory and comparative law. In 1751, the Roman Catholic Church added the work to its list of prohibited books, “Index Librorum Prohibitorum;” despite this, the work was extremely popular.

Montesquieu spent approximately twenty-one years researching and writing “The Spirit of the Laws,” which discusses a wide range of various topics including: anthropology, social life, and law. In addition, Montesquieu expressed views in favor of: constitutional systems of government, with separation of powers; preservation of liberties, both legal and civil; and pleaded for the end of slavery. His approach and points of view were highly influential, directly and indirectly, to several different fields of study including political science, sociology and anthropology.

Works By Charles Louis de Secondat Montesquieu