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Ch.-L. de Secondat Montesquieu on Constitution - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 262
Constitution/Montesquieu/Höffe: Montesquieu himself represents neither a strict separation of powers nor their exclusive allocation to one state organ each: the legislature to the parliament, the executive to the government and the judiciary to the courts.
In addition to the three powers, he emphasizes three social forces (the people, hereditary nobility and hereditary king) and seven state organs (the electorate, the People's Chamber/lower house, the People's Court, the aristocratic chamber/upper house, the aristocratic court, the king and minister).
Subsequently, he advocates the mixed constitution preferred in antiquity and the Middle Ages, now a subtle network of divisions and mixtures of powers, of veto and control rights, of countervailing powers and balances. True to his methodological attitude as an ethnologist, Montesquieu is not interested in the mixed constitution as an abstract ideal. What matters to him is the "spirit" of the laws, which in turn depends on the spirit of the peoples, on their "instinct" to achieve what is best for them under the respective natural and historical conditions (1).


1. Montesquieu, On the spirit of the laws that shape political freedom and their relation to the Constitution (De l'Esprit des lois, 1748).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Monte I
Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
De l’esprit des lois, Paris 1748
German Edition:
Vom Geist der Gesetze Stuttgart 2011

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-18
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