Montesquieu Quotes: Laws, Freedom and Government

Famous Quotes by Montesquieu

Montesquieu‘s philosophy cannot be summarized in one article. So this is the third post (after the political philosophy of Montesquieu in brief and Montesquieu: separation of powers and democracy) that we published on Montesquieu.

Montesquieu has shown the breadth of his thought and influence in the realm of morality, politics and sociology. His project could be summarized as: fighting against arbitrary power (“we can not find abuse of power, must, by the arrangement of things, power checks power“).

Here are main Montesquieu’s quotes :

Montesquieu and political regimes (monarchy, republic, despotism):

– “The monarchy is the system where a single person governs by fixed and established laws”

– “The republic is the regime where the people as a body, or only some of the people, the sovereign power”

– “Despotism is a plan alone, without law and without rule, leads all its will and caprices”

– “Given the need for virtue in a republic and the monarchy of honor, he takes the fear in a despotic government; virtue there is no need and honor it would be dangerous”

– “The love of democracy is that of equality”

– “Political liberty in a citizen is that peace of mind that comes from the opinion each person has of his safety, and to have this liberty, the government must be such that a citizen can not afraid of another ”


Montesquieu, the separation of powers and their limitations:

– “There is as yet no liberty if the power of judging be not separated from legislative power and the executive power”

– “For we can not abuse power, must, by the arrangement of things, power checks power”

– “In any judicial, must compensate the greatness of the power by the brevity of its duration”

– “The reason why most governments are despotic Earth is that it just happens. But for moderate governments must combine moderate powers; know what gives one what remains to another and finally we need a system that is to say a convention of many and a discussion of interest ”

– “A thing is not just because it is law. But it must be law because it is just”

– “If in the interior of a state you do not hear the noise of any conflict, you can be sure that freedom is not there”

Montesquieu, laws, manners and morals:

– “An injustice to one is a threat made to all”

– “More states have perished because they had violated the morals because they violated the laws”

– “Freedom is the right to do whatever the laws permit”

– “The morals and manners are usages that laws have not established or were unable or unwilling to establish”

– “The merit of any console”

– “It is competition that puts a fair price for goods and establishes the true relations between them”

– “People have the government they deserve”

– The government is like all things in the world to preserve it must be love ”

Montesquieu and slavery:

– “Slavery is not useful to the master or the slave to him because he can not do anything by virtue in this, because he gradually becomes accustomed to violate all the moral virtues, he became proud swift, hard, angry, voluptuous, and cruel ”


More on Montesquieu’s Philosophy:

Montesquieu and Separation of powers

Montesquieu’s Philosophy : Laws & Republic

Democracy Definition

Cite this article as: Tim, "Montesquieu Quotes: Laws, Freedom and Government, May 8, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 8, 2012,

Leave a Reply