A Montesquieu-esque Capstone

Hello, and welcome to an introduction of my summer research. Under the guidance of Dr. Radasanu, I am focusing on The Spirit of the Law, by Montesquieu. Montesquieu creates three main categories for states: republics, monarchies, and despotism. Still, these three archetypes are general, and all states do not fit in the three Montesquieu presents, in fact, many of the examples Montesquieu provides lie outside of his three categories.Spirit of Law

Each state has its own principles, the key factor that the state relies on to function properly. For republics this principle is virtue, for monarchies: honor, and for despotic states: fear. Of course, there are other factors that affect the stability and success of a state, but these principles are the crux of their respective states.

This project centers around the effect commerce has on war between nations. In order for commerce to exist, both nations must have some semblance of liberty (i.e. property rights). For without property rights, what could individuals trade? However, the extent of liberty in each nation can vary. Though commerce between nations does not eliminate war, as nations become interdependent, the chances of war diminish.

After reading and analyzing the work of Montesquieu (Books 1-12 and 19-21), I will take a look at different articles written on similar topics to help mold my thesis. Finally, I’ll take the opinions from the articles and tie them into my writing to form my own argument on The Spirit of the Law in relation to my research.

by Charles Moore


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