What Was Montesquieu's Aim in Writing the Spirit of the Laws?

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‘I ask a favour that I fear will not be granted; it is that one not judge by a moment 's reading the work of twenty years, that one approve or condemn the book as a whole and not some few sentences. If one wants to seek the design of the author, one can find it only in the design of the work. ' (Montesquieu 1989: preface) The Spirit of the Laws took Montesquieu twenty years to write and was first published in Geneva in 1748. It was distributed freely, without the hindrance of censorship and deemed and instant success, despite negative feedback from friends to whom the manuscript was shown. After two years and twenty-two impressions made across Europe many critics arose of his work, however this merely added to the fame of the author. …show more content…

One example of the influence of England is his attitude to torture which he suggests in The Spirit of the Laws is a catalyst for fear in society (Montesquieu 1989: 92). His arguments against despotism suggest that fear is not necessarily beneficial for the well being of society, therefore not implementing torture like the civilised Monarchies such as England is a logical procedure. (Cranston

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