Charles de Montesquieu

(Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu)

Quote Topics Cited
A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them for a century. Freedom & Liberty
All goods should be equally distributed among the male children, save that the mother and father may bestow an extra portion of their holdings on the one of their male children they believe most worthy of it… Families, Children & Parenting
All men are animals; princes are animals whom no one has tied up. Miscellaneous
An empire founded by arms, must likewise have arms for its support. Military & Veterans
An empire founded by war has to maintain itself by war. War & Peace
As freedom advances, the severity of the penal law decreases Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free. Freedom & Liberty
Democracy has two extremes to avoid: the spirit of inequality, which leads to an aristocracy, or to the government of a single individual; and the spirit of extreme equality, which conducts it to despotism, as the despotism of a single individual finishes it by conquest. Equality & Equal Opportunity
Ever since the invention of gunpowder.. I continually tremble lest men should, in the end, uncover some secret which would provide a short way of abolishing mankind, of annihilating peoples and nations in their entirety. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Experience constantly proves that every man who has power is impelled to abuse it. Power
Germany is made to travel in, Italy to sojourn in,… and France to live in, [but England was made] to think in. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Happy the people whose annals are blank in history-books. History
I am a man by nature and a Frenchman only by accident. Citizenship & Patriotism
If triangles made a god, they would give him three sides. Religion & God
In democracies the people seem to act as they please. Democracies & Republics
In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of state shape its institutions; later the institutions shape the chiefs of state. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
In the infancy of societies, the chiefs of the state shape its institutions; later, the institutions shape the chiefs of state. Leaders & Leadership
In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal; but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the laws Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Justice to others is charity for ourselves. Justice & Injustice
Laws should not be subtle. They are designed for people of average understanding. Legislating & Legislative Process
Liberty is the right of doing whatever the law permits. Freedom & Liberty
No kingdom has ever been so rent by civil wars as Christ's. Religion & God
No kingdom has ever had as many civil wars as the kingdom of Christ. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Nor is there liberty if the power of judging is not separated from legislative power and from executive power. If it [the power of judging] were joined to legislative power, the power over life and liberty of the citizens would be arbitrary, for the judge would be the legislature if it were joined to the executive power, the judge could have the force of an oppressor. All would be lost if the same … body of principal men … exercised these three powers Power
Power should be a check to power. Power
Republics come to an end by luxurious habits; monarchies by poverty. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The corruption of every government begins nearly always with that of principles. Corruption
The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. States. Nations & Nationhood
The government of England is one of the wisest in Europe, because there is a body there that examines this government continually and that continually examines itself. Management & Managing Government
The great advantage of representatives is their capacity of discussing public affairs. For this, the people collectively are extremely unfit, which is one of the chief inconveniences of a democracy. Legislating & Legislative Process
The real needs of the people ought never give way to the imaginary wants of the state. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy. Voters, Voting & Elections
There is no liberty if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
There is no word that admits of more various significations, and has made more varied impressions on the human mind, than that of liberty. Freedom & Liberty
Useless laws weaken the necessary laws Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
We are poor with all the wealth and commerce of the entire universe, and soon, on account of having solders, we shall have nothing but soldiers, and we will become like the Tartars. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty. Freedom & Liberty
When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
A nation may lose its liberties in a day and not miss them in a century.
An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations. Future
Author: A fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on tormenting generations to come.
False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared. Happiness & Unhappiness
Friendship is an arrangement by which we undertake to exchange small favors for big ones. Friendship
I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should seem a fool, but be wise.
I have never known any distress that an hour's reading did not relieve.
If the triangles made a god, they would give him three sides. Religion & God
If triangles had a god, they would give him three sides. Religion & God
If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.
In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed. Success
It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.
It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.
Laws undertake to punish only overt acts.
Liberty is the right to do what the law permits.
Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.
Luxury ruins republics; poverty, monarchies.
Men should be bewailed at their birth, and not at their death. Death
No kingdom has shed more blood than the kingdom of Christ.
Peace is a natural effect of trade. War & Peace
Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed. Success
Talent is a gift which God has given us secretly, and which we reveal without perceiving it. Religion & God
The less men think, the more they talk.
The reason the Romans built their great paved highways was because they had such inconvenient footwear.
The severity of the laws prevents their execution.
The spirit of moderation should also be the spirit of the lawgiver.
The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions. Power
There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
There is no nation so powerful, as the one that obeys its laws not from principals of fear or reason, but from passion.
There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window. Life
There should be weeping at a man's birth, not at his death. Death
To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.
To love to read is to exchange hours of ennui for hours of delight. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.
We must have constantly present in our minds the difference between independence and liberty. Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid he would no longer be possessed of liberty. Independence
We should weep for men at their birth, not at their death. Death
What orators lack in depth they make up for in length.