Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu

(2104 words)
  • David Williams (University of Sheffield)

Montesquieu was born into an aristocratic Bordeaux family with estates just south of the city at La Brède. His birth, four years after Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes, coincided with the formal reading of the 1689 Bill of Rights in the English Parliament. He was educated at the Oratorian college at Juilly, and studied law at the University of Bordeaux and in Paris. He practiced as a lawyer for a time in the Paris courts, spending much of his time in the company of audacious thinkers such as the learned cleric, Pierre-Nicolas Desmolets, who acted as his mentor, the distinguished historian and archaeologist Nicolas Fréret, the unreverential Neapolitan theologian Bernardo Lama (through whom he probably met the legendary …

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Williams, David. "Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 January 2002; last revised 25 August 2005.
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]

Articles on Montesquieu's works

  1. Esprit des lois [The Spirit of Laws]
  2. Lettres persanes [Persian Letters]