Literature Study GuidesThe Spirit Of The Laws

The Spirit of the Laws | Study Guide


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Course Hero. "The Spirit of the Laws Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 June 2019. Web. 17 June 2019. <>.

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Course Hero. (2019, June 7). The Spirit of the Laws Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 17, 2019, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)



Course Hero. "The Spirit of the Laws Study Guide." June 7, 2019. Accessed June 17, 2019.


Course Hero, "The Spirit of the Laws Study Guide," June 7, 2019, accessed June 17, 2019,




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History, Philosophy

At a Glance

Penned during the peak of the French Enlightenment (1700s, a period where reason governed change in the areas of religion and politics), The Spirit of the Laws is one of the foundational works of modern Western political thought. Montesquieu systematically distinguishes among different types of government and describes the laws appropriate to each. He also makes a strong historical case for the doctrine of separation of powers, an essential part of many modern democratic constitutions and reflects on such varied issues as slavery and the church-state relationship. Though sometimes prone to the biases of his era, Montesquieu amply illustrates his claims about the source and nature of political power with allusions to ancient, medieval, and modern history. For students of American politics, Montesquieu's profound influence on the Founding Fathers provides an additional reason to study The Spirit of the Laws.

About the Title

In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu surveys the history of legal systems throughout Europe and Asia in order to identify the underlying "spirit" governing these countries. Each system of government, he proposes, has its own fundamental principles, which must be kept in mind if the country is to be stable and prosperous.


This study guide for Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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