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De l'Esprit des loix
Geneva: chez Barrillot & Fils,, [1748]. Ou du Rapport que les loix doivent avoir avec la constitution de chaque gouvernement, les moeurs, le climat, la religion, le commerce, &c. à quoi l'auteur a ajouté des recherches nouvelles sur les loix romaines touchant les successions, sur les loix françoises, & sur les loix féodales. 2 volumes, quarto (245 x 186 mm). Contemporary half roan, twin tan and beige paper labels lettered in gilt, smooth spines ruled in gilt, boards speckled black, edges red. Woodcut tail-pieces. Bound without the errata as often. Modern red morocco book label to rear free endpapers; contemporary or early ownership signature to half-title of Volume 1. Slight surface loss to boards, Volume 1 with small loss to fore margin of sig. Zz4, tiny hole to top margin of sig. Aa3, and sporadic faint dampstaining, ghosting from book label to top corners of last 3 or 4 leaves in both volumes. A very good copy. First edition of this classic in social science which influenced the formation of the United States Constitution and was the ideological basis of the French Revolution. "The most distinctive aspect of this immense syllabus is its moderation: a quality not designed to achieve official approval in 1748. It is an always original survey which is neither doctrinaire, visionary, eccentric, nor over-systematic" (PMM). L'Esprit des loix was a huge influence both on English law, especially as mediated by William Blackstone, and on those who framed the American Constitution. Blackstone's Commentaries, Hamilton's Federalist Papers and Tocqueville's Democracy in America are all thoroughly imbued with Montesquieu's theories. In particular, Montesquieu is credited with the idea that the powers of government should be separated and balanced in order to guarantee the freedom of the individual, a key concept in the creation of the US Constitution.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-01-27           Check availability:      Biblio    

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