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Montesquieu’s Philosophy of Liberalism

A Commentary on The Spirit of the Laws

This first comprehensive commentary on The Spirit of the Laws uncovers and explicates the plan of Montesquieu’s famous but baffling treatise. Pangle brings to light Montesquieu’s rethinking of the philosophical groundwork of liberalism, showing how The Spirit of the Laws enlarges and enriches the liberal conception of natural right by means of a new appeal to History as the source of basic norms.

352 pages | 1 halftone | 5.25 x 8 | © 1973

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Montesquieu’s Style and Manner of Writing
3. Human Nature and Natural Law
4. Participatory Republicanism
5. Liberal Republicanism
6. The Obstacles to Freedom: Climate, Geography, and History
7. Commerce and the Charm of National Diversity
8. Religion
9. Natural Law and the Prudence of the Legislator

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