Charles Louis de Secondat

Charles Louis de Secondat

[mon-tuh-skyoo; Fr. mawn-tes-kyœ]
Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat, baron de la Brède et de, 1689-1755, French jurist and political philosopher. He was councillor (1714) of the parlement of Bordeaux and its president (1716-28) after the death of an uncle, whom he succeeded in both title and office. He gained a seat in the French Academy in 1728. His Persian Letters (1721) brought him immediate fame. In these letters, supposedly written by Persian travelers in Europe and by their friends, he satirized and criticized French insititutions. In 1734 he produced a scientific historical study of the rise and fall of Rome, Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence. His greatest work, The Spirit of Laws (1748), is a comparative study of three types of government—republic, monarchy, and despotism—and shows John Locke's influence on Montesquieu. Its main theories are that climate and circumstances determine the form of governments and that the powers of government should be separated and balanced in order to guarantee the freedom of the individual. Written with brilliance of style, it had great historical importance and influenced the formation of the American Constitution.

See biography by R. Shackleton (1961); studies by J. R. Loy (1968), M. Hulliung (1977), and T. L. Pangle (1989).

Charles-Louis-Victor, prince de Broglie (September 22, 1756 - June 27, 1794), was a French soldier and politician.


Born in Paris, the eldest son of Victor-François, 2nd duc de Broglie, the prince de Broglie attained the rank of maréchal de camp in the army. He adopted revolutionary opinions, served with the Marquis de La Fayette and the Comte de Rochambeau in the American Revolutionary War,

The Prince was a member of the Jacobin Club, and sat in the National Constituent Assembly after the French Revolution, constantly voting on the Liberal side. He served as chief of the staff to the First Republic's Army on the Rhine, but, during the Reign of Terror, he was denounced, arrested, and guillotined in Paris.

Since the old duc de Broglie survived him, the prince de Broglie's eldest son, Victor, eventually became the third duc de Broglie. The prince's dying admonition to his little son was to remain faithful to the principles of the Revolution, however unjust and ungrateful it seemed then to be.


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