When Woodrow Wilson, in the course of his campaign for the Presidency in 1912, attacked Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, he knew what he was about—for the constitutionalism articulated by the latter and embraced, in turn, by the Framers of the American Constitution was a systematic attempt to put into practice something very much like the first principles spelled out in the Declaration of Independence. Montesquieu was not a doctrinaire. He feared that, in his own country and elsewhere, revolution would eventuate in the establishment of a despotism, and so he gently, quietly promoted unobtrusive reform. But the cautious, prudential political science that he outlined in his Spirit of Laws was anything but value-free. If the American framers found his legislative science of use, it was because the hatred of despotism and love for liberty animating its author was grounded in an account of natural right closely akin to the one, espoused in John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, that had inspired their revolution.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.