Talk:Montesquieu

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slavery[edit]

I'm not going to edit the article to remove misleading material. The section present now deals with slavery is a flat misstatement, although through clever manipulation the quotes partly hold up. Yes, he wrote those words about Negro slavery.

To put them in context, that part of his book starts with a statement that Slavery, properly so called, is the establishment of a right which gives to one man such a power over another as renders him absolute master of his life and fortune. The state of slavery is in its own nature bad. In later arguments he gives his reasoning against the legitimacy of black slavery. He first list some stated reasons, then refutes them. The quotes given are from the list of reasons. This list is prefixed by his statement that; Were I to vindicate our right to make slaves of the negroes, these should be my arguments: The revisionists have conveniently ignored this.
If any Wikipedian objects to the brief summary statement I've left in the article, go to my talk page, and we'll work on an article tied to this one. Something like 'Montesquie controversies'. As far as I can find, this particular abuse of quotations started with Eduardo Galeano, a political writer from Uruguay. The material referred to here can seen in article history for the primary article as the January, 2004 versions.
Thanks, Lou I 12:35, 22 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Climate Theory[edit]

LouI, it would be nice if you could elaborate on Montesquieu's climate theory. Which I think deserve it's owm article. This theory has been ridiculed, and you removed my entries on that particular thing, making formulations that seem to say that "he really didn't mean that, he was just being patriotic". I'm putting parts of it back in, though I do agree on your view that his stance on slavery has been incorrectly portraid. Harvester 10:20, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Harvester, C de M had a number of interesting, and a few peculiar views. I won't object to re-inserting climate since it is accurate, but it would be nicer if we had summaries of some topicss to which he applied more time and effort. Religion, civil compared to criminal law, the role of aristocracy, commerce, money, etc. that he devoted more time and reason to. You might consider creating a patragraph on agriculture and its relation to law. Thanks for fixing my typos :-), Lou I 14:25, 23 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I agree we need more detailed info on Montesquieu's political views. However the climate theory was very important in the history of ideas and caused a very long-lasting debate among intellectuals at the time, so it really needs elaboration, too... Harvester 12:14, 29 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Vandalism of late[edit]

This article for some reason has been the target of unusual vandalism, essentially, different IP based users inserting difficult to detect false information. As such, any new information that is suspect will be reverted unless it is backed up with sources. Indeed, the most recent vandalism has him traveling throughout all of Europe in a single year .. which seems unlikely in a time when the horse was the fastest mode of transportation and winter travel was not common. --Stbalbach 03:49, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, someone just got it--funny, I was randomly reading about vandalism on Wikipedia while taking a break from studying the philosophers. I don't dare change it myself, but if someone could be so kind and remove the idiots handy-work I'd be so grateful. CF —Preceding unsigned comment added by RainForest1767 (talkcontribs) 16:12, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

The trip throughout Europe took three years according to the German version

Needs more information[edit]

Montesquieu was a huge Enlightenment thinker, and remains one of the most influential thinkers in all of history. I would think that there could be more said about him in this article: namely, it needs more on his Spirit of Laws.

Um, so write it! That's how things get done around here. Akradecki 00:34, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The reasons for move copied from the entry on the WP:RM page: "Montesquieu" is the most common name --Francis Schonken 08:41, 4 November 2005 (UTC)


Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Support --Francis Schonken 08:41, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- there seems to be a general belief that, for proper names, the full proper name is (usually) more appropriate. See the discussion page at "William the Conquerer". By convention bibliography articles use the full name. --Stbalbach 17:26, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose according to Stbalbach's reasoning, although mention should be made in the article's introduction that he is commonly referred to as Montesquieu. Olessi 18:10, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Weak Support It is quite frequent to use less than the full name for French noblemen; even Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette is incomplete. Montesquieu is the primary usage, and the usual English form. Minimising use of redirects is a good thing. Septentrionalis 03:53, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose with that logic, we should rename Winston Churchill to Churchill, or Charles de Gaulle as de Gaulle. Does that make any sense? not really... Gryffindor 23:40, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Support because people type in Montesquieu to find this page. --DemonHog 04:02, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Montesquieu now redirects here. It used to, but someone made a mistake. Fixed. -- Stbalbach 04:44, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Add any additional comments

It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it be moved. -- Stefán Ingi 23:55, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

I've removed the template. Category:Requested moves has a big enough backlog without dead requests. Bishonen | talk 00:56, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Under the heading "Political views" (I think I would capitalize the "V" in "views" for stylistic reasons), in the second paragraph is written--

                        "While he endorsed the idea that a woman could run a government, he held that she could not be 
                         effective as the head of a family."

Classes[edit]

Who wrote classes ? The powers should be separated. Why among classes ? Ericd 20:30, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


Two things: The use of Trias Politica is problematic, since the article suggests that it is principally the society which is separated, and not the powers. M. never actually wrote down the word "separation of powers", he spoke of equilibrium of powers, etcetera.

Enlightenment?[edit]

Which Enlightenment? He certainly doesn't seem to be from the French Enlightenment. Is he a member of the Anglo-Irish Enlightenment?

Something has gone wrong with the first paragraph! i have no idea how to fix it —Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.159.69.116 (talk) 13:53, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Latrigue or Lartigue[edit]

It needs a reliable source. google seems to think it's the latter. Tedickey (talk) 11:52, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Google Books also. Seems a no-brainer for change unless someone can evidence a fundamental historic error (in which case both spellings might be included, but not otherwise, IMO). RashersTierney (talk) 21:09, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
The text in this topic was added w/o a cite by Madman91 in April 9, 2006. Looks like it needs a reliable source (and most of those are the latter ;-) Tedickey (talk) 21:32, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Watching as History is being written in the eye of those writing it.

Hey, let's reword "true, source-able" statement, to fit the way we want it to read.

How about, just citing the source as Montesquieu said it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.203.36.3 (talk) 06:33, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Including specific pointer to slavery section of quotations[edit]

Currently, the final paragraph of the Political Views section reads:

Like many of his generation, Montesquieu held a number of views that might today be judged controversial. While he endorsed the idea that a woman could head a government, he held that she could not be effective as the head of a family. He firmly accepted the role of a hereditary aristocracy and the value of primogeniture. His views have also been abused by modern revisionists; for instance, even though Montesquieu was ahead of his time as an ardent opponent of slavery, he has been quoted out of context in attempts to show he supported it. However, in The Spirit of the Laws he writes "The state of Slavery in its own nature is bad" [2] In the same work, however, he said "If I had to defend the right we had of making Negroes slaves, here is what I would say...Those concerned are black from head to toe, and they have such flat noses that it is almost impossible to feel sorry for them (Part 3, Chapter 5, "The Spirit of the Laws")."

This looks like the work of two different people, and as it currently stands is confusing (and has too many howevers). At any rate, I just read it for the first time, and it confused (and surprised) me.

Looking through the article history, it appears this has been a source of ongoing dispute, and any edits made by one "camp" are likely to be swiftly reverted or redone by the opposing camp.

Hence as a proposed solution: since Wikiquote now includes a full excerpt of the relevant section (De l'Esprit des Lois XV Ch. 5), how about simply including a link to that instead, so users can read what he wrote and decide for themselves?

Something very much like:

Montesquieu was somewhat ahead of his time in advocating the abolition of slavery in The Spirit of the Laws. As part of his advocacy he presented a satirical hypothetical list of arguments for slavery, which has been open to contextomy. However, like many of his generation, Montesquieu also held a number of views that might today be judged controversial. While he endorsed the idea that a woman could head a government, he held that she could not be effective as the head of a family. He also firmly accepted the role of a hereditary aristocracy and the value of primogeniture.

This should remove confusion, easily allow users to read more on the subject should they wish, and have the bonus effect of reducing the proportion of the page devoted to the subject, which currently distracts from his main political ideas discussed in the two paragraphs preceding.

--paxman (talk) 03:35, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

RE: Including specific pointer to slavery section of quotations[edit]

Montesquieu was somewhat ahead of his time in advocating the abolition of slavery in The Spirit of the Laws.

Unfortunately, this statement belies the true nature of the contention. While Montesquieu certainly abdicated slavery reform in some quotes, he also allowed for circumstances under which slavery was acceptable (see Spirit of the Laws, Book XV, Ch 7). Montesquieu has surely been the subject of misquotation, but to state that he advocated 100% abolition of slavery would require some form of reference and completely ignoring at least one full passage in the Spirit of the Laws.

In the spirit of compromise I suggest the following revision:

Montesquieu was somewhat ahead of his time in advocating major reform of slavery in The Spirit of the Laws.

Abclemons (talk) 16:00, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Fair cop. Thankfully this now seems to have been put to bed. I'm still mildly troubled by the focus given to it both here and especially on Wikiquote over the considerably more significant elements of Montesquieu's political theory (like the principles upon which the entire modern western model of government rests) but the way to address that I think would be to expand the paragraphs preceding.

paxman (talk) 05:19, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Political Philosophy - Trias Politica[edit]

In the section on the Trias Politica a grand mistake is being made. When it speaks of the 3 classes in French society the quote names this as 'Trias Politica', but the latter is a completely different concept than the 3 different 'Estats' or Estates. I am not as advanced in this subject to want to change it myself but I hope someone can and will. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rmltbessems (talkcontribs) 15:53, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Montesquieu discovered Cabernet Sauvignon[edit]

I'm not sure if this is notable enough for the story, or if it is true, but I just stumbled across a site that said Montesquieu was the first to indentify the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, so I thought I'd put that out there on this talk page. The link is http://www.montesquieu.com/index.php/about/baron-de-montesquieu Draykyle (talk) 14:29, 11 February 2012 (UTC)