Content:I. BackgroundII. Forms of governmentIII. Meteorological Climate TheoryIV. Reflection towards theoryV. Conclusion
Background Baron de Montesquieu (1689 - 1755) A French social commentator and political thinker Best known works:Lettres Persanes – The Persian Letters (1721)L’Esprit des lois – The Spirit of the Laws (1748)
Background (Cont’)If the laws are appropriate, if theproper “Spirit” is observed intheir formulation andapplication, the stability of thesociety will be preserved.
Forms of Government According to Montesquieu, there are three forms ofgovernment: Republican (Democracy & Aristocracy) – education mustteach to love of country. Monarchy - education should teach the paramountcy ofself- interest. Despotism – education should teach of servility.
Forms of Govt. (Cont’) A government’s corruption, “begins with that of its principles.”It’s important to have the proper kind of equality in a democratic republic, thespirit of equality.A natural aristocracy, leaders and people should have equal under the law.In monarchy, power is demand to share amongnobility, clergy, courts, cities, and king.For corruption of despotism is impossible because it is already corrupt.
Forms of Govt. (Cont’) A republic requires a small territory. Larger republics are endangered by internal factions, whilerepublics that are too small susceptible to invasion.How to escape from such dilemma? The establishment of a confederation. Still this theory is ingenious.
Meteorological Climate Theory Climate, soil, economics, religion, customs, and traditions must allbe considered. According to Montesquieu, “the people of hot climates are moreeffeminate, weaker, less brave, more slavish, more given to pleasurethan are their fellows in the cold climate.” Montesquieu also correlates religion with political forms:Mohammedanism is associated with despotismCatholicism with monarchyProtestantism with republicanism
Meteorological Climate Th. (Cont’) Climatic conditions are directly related toeconomics, occupation, customs, and traditions, and thus indirectlyto constitutions. Montesquieu says that all factors considered influence man andmold a “General Spirit” within a nation which must be taken intoaccount by legislators and leaders. So, the function of legislators is to discover and understand thespirit, not to change it.
Reflection toward theory Disagree =>“A republic requires a small territory.” Agree + Disagree =>“The people of hot climates are moreeffeminate, weaker, less brave, more slavish, more givento pleasure than are their fellows in the cold climates.”
Conclusion There are three forms of government according toMontesquieu, republican, monarchy, and despotism. All factors such as climate, soil, economics, religion, customs, andtradition influence the physiology and psychology of apeople, determine their character in which institutions they live. People of hot climate tend to be inferior to the people of coldclimate. General spirit within a nation which must be taken into account bylegislators and leaders.