Why should I know Montesquieu?

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu was a French judge, writer and political philosopher.

Quotes by Montesquieu

“A man who writes well writes not as others write, but as he himself writes; it is often in speaking badly that he speaks well.”

Montesquieu

“A truly virtuous man would come to the aid of the most distant stranger as quickly as to his own friend. If men were perfectly virtuous, they wouldn’t have friends.”

Montesquieu

“An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.”

Montesquieu

“Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free.”

Montesquieu

“Do you think that God will punish them for not practicing a religion which he did not reveal to them?”

Montesquieu

“Government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another.”

Montesquieu

“Happy the people whose annals are boring to read.”

Montesquieu

“History is full of religious wars; but, we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerant spirit which animated that one which thought she had the power of governing.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“I can assure you that no kingdom has ever had as many civil wars as the kingdom of Christ.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should appear like a fool but be wise.”

Montesquieu

“I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.”

Montesquieu

“I have read descriptions of Paradise that would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“If I knew of something that could serve my nation but would ruin another, I would not propose it to my prince, for I am first a man and only then a Frenchman. Because I am necessarily a man, and only accidentally am I French.”

Montesquieu

“If one only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people, and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.”

Montesquieu

“If triangles made a god, they would give him three sides.”

Montesquieu

“In large and populous cities they wear clothes above their rank, and consequently, have the pleasure of being esteemed by a vast majority, not as what they are, but what they appear to be.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“In vain do we seek tranquility in the desert; temptations are always with us; our passions, represented by the demons, never let us alone: those monsters created by the heart, those illusions produced by the mind, those vain specters that are our errors and our lies always appear before us to seduce us; they attack us even in our fasting or our mortifications, in other words, in our very strength.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of maturer age are already sunk into corruption.”

Montesquieu The Spirit of the Laws

“Nature repairs everything.”

Montesquieu The Spirit of the Laws

“Nature, in her wisdom, seems to have arranged it so that men's stupidity should be ephemeral, and books make them immortal. A fool ought to be content having exacerbated everyone around him, but he insists tormenting future generations.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“Not to be loved is a misfortune, but it is an insult to be loved no longer.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“One more organ or one less in our body would give us a different intelligence. In fact, all the established laws as to why our body is a certain way would be different if our body were not that way.”

Montesquieu

“Solemnity is the shield of idiots.”

Montesquieu

“Talent is a gift which God has given us secretly, and which we reveal without perceiving it.”

Montesquieu

“The desire for glory is no different from that instinct for preservation that is common to all creatures. It is as if we enhance our being if we can gain a place in the memory of others; it is a new life that we acquire, which becomes as precious to us as the one we received from Heaven.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“The history of commerce is that of the communication of the people.”

Montesquieu

“The success of most things depends upon knowing how long it will take to succeed.”

Montesquieu

“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.”

Montesquieu

“They who love to inform themselves, are never idle. Though I have no business of consequence to take care of, I am nevertheless continually employed. I spend my life in examining things: I write down in the evening whatever I have remarked, what I have seen, and what I have heard in the day: every thing engages my attention, and every thing excites my wonder: I am like an infant, whose organs, as yet tender, are strongly affected by the slightest objects.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.”

Montesquieu The Spirit of the Laws

“Virtue has need of limits.”

Montesquieu

“We are so blind that we know neither when to mourn, nor when to rejoice; our mirth and our sadness are nearly always false.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters

“We receive three educations, one from our parents, one from our school masters, and one from the world. The third contradicts all that the first two teach us.”

Montesquieu

“What unhappy beings men are! They constantly waver between false hopes and silly fears, and instead of relying on reason they create monsters to frighten themselves with, and phantoms which lead them astray.”

Montesquieu Persian Letters