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The Spirit of Laws
London: for J. Nourse, and P. Vaillant,, 1750. Translated from the French … With Corrections and Additions communicated by the Author. 2 volumes, octavo (205 × 125 mm). Contemporary diced Russia, flat spines decorated and lettered in gilt. With the Belper bookplate. Joints and spine ends skilfully restored. Some light spotting throughout; a very good copy. First English edition. One of the central texts in the history of 18th-century thought, 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. No English language edition was published in America until 1802. The translation is by the prolific Irish-born author and skilful translator of works mostly from the French Thomas Nugent (c.1700?-1772).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2015-06-23           Check availability:      Biblio    

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