Ch.-L. de Secondat Montesquieu on Republic - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 170
Republic/Montesquieu/Dagger: A prudent republic will (...) be a small one. That, at least, has been the conclusion - or presumption - of many republicans throughout the centuries. Montesquieu: 'In a large republic,' Montesquieu explained in The Spirit of the Laws, 'the common good is sacrificed to a thousand considerations; it is subordinated to exceptions; it depends upon accidents. In a small one, the public good is better felt, better known, lies nearer to each citizen; abuses are less extensive and consequently less protected' (1989(1): 124 IBook VIII, ch. 161).
United states/Dagger: So widespread was this view in the late eighteenth century that the American authors of the Federalist found it necessary to point out that Montesquieu had also allowed for the possibility of a 'federal' or 'CONFEDERATE' (Federalist 9) republic. Even then, the debate over the proposed Constitution often turned on the question of whether the United States would become a 'federal' or a 'compound' republic - that is, a republic comprising 13 or more smaller republics - or whether it would become a 'consolidated' republic that could not long preserve its republican character.
1. Montesquieu, C. (1989 Il 7481) The Spirit of the Laws, eds and trans. A. Cohler, B. Miller and H. Stone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2. Federalist 9
Dagger, Richard 2004. „Communitarianism and Republicanism“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________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.
Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
De l’esprit des lois, Paris 1748
Vom Geist der Gesetze Stuttgart 2011
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004