The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu
The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (in the original French Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu) is a satire written by Maurice Joly, an attorney with political views that were conservative, monarchist, and legitimistic, which was first published in Geneva, Switzerland in 1864. It was written in protest against the regime of Napoleon III.
In this work, Niccolò Machiavelli and Montesquieu engage in dialectical argument, with Machiavelli (whom Joly consigned to hell because he believed Machiavelli's work The Prince was almost a "how-to" manual for usurpers) taking the case for the power of the state as ultimate authority and Montesquieu (whom Joly consigned to hell for supporting the idea of popular sovereignty, which the legitimistic Joly refused to tolerate) putting forth a contrasting liberal thesis. The book was banned by the Napoleonic regime and confiscated upon distribution into France. Joly was imprisoned for fifteen months for having written the work.
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- Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu (French)
- Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu at Project Gutenberg
- English transltion
- Dialogue aux enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu ou la politique de Machiavel au XIX* siècle, par un contemporain, Bruxelles, imprimerie de A. Mertens et Fils, 1864.