more from Baron de Montesquieu

Single Idea 19999

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy / b. Consultation]

Full Idea

All citizens ought to have the right to choose their representatives by election. The only exception concerns those whose condition is so base that they are considered to have no will of their own.

Gist of Idea

All citizens (apart from the very humble poor) should choose their representatives


Baron de Montesquieu (The Spirit of the Laws (rev. 1757) [1748], 11.06)

Book Reference

Montesquieu,Baron de: 'Selected Political Writings', ed/tr. Richter,Melvin [Hackett 1990], p.185

A Reaction

This is an amazingly liberal view of the franchise for its time (though he may not be including women), but with a rather breathtaking coda! It may be hard for us now to grasp the very humble state of an illiterate peasant.