Secondat Montesquieu : all you need to know about the constitution reformer

Charles Louis de Secondat was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1689 to a wealthy family. Despite his family’s wealth, de Decondat was placed in the care of a poor family during his childhood. He later went to college and studied science and history, eventually becoming a lawyer in the local government. Charles’s father died in 1713 and he was taken care by his uncle Baron De Montesquieu, the president of the Bordeaux parliament. When the Baron died, he left Secondat his fortune, the office of the president and his title Baron De Montesquieu

Later, he was the member of Bordeaux and French academics of science. He studied the laws, customs and government of the countries of Europe. 

Secodant became famous by his famous Persian letters in 1721 which criticised the lifestyle and liberties of wealthy people and even the Church. The greatest work of writing by Montesquieu was on the spirit of laws (1748) which outlined his idea that how a government should work.

Montesquieu’s idea of the best government was the ‘seperation of powers’ in which three branches of government has equal but different powers. He wrote “when the law making and law enforcement power lies in the same person, there can be no Liberty.” According to him, each branch of the government should be inter-controllable so that no branch could threaten the Liberty of the people. This idea of constitution by Montesquieu, later, went on to become the basis of the constitution of United States of America

“Government should be set up so that no man fears another” 

The Levée en Masse

During the French revolution, the national convention decreeded a ‘Mass levy’ on all the people of France of all ages. This was considered, by many historians, a significant event for the beginning of the ugly fire that ran through France called ‘LA TERREUR’ (The reign of terror). The following are all the points that were written or I should say embossed in the Levée en Masse

1. From this moment until that in which the enemy shall have been driven from the soil of the Republic, all Frenchmen are in permanent requisition for the service of the armies. The young men shall go to battle; the married men shall forge arms and transport provisions; the women shall make tents and clothing and shall serve in the hospitals; the children shall turn old linen into lint; the aged shall betake themselves to the public places in order to arouse the courage of the warriors and preach the hatred of kings and the unity of the Republic.

2. The national buildings shall be converted into barracks, the public places into workshops for arms, the soil of the cellars shall be washed in order to extract therefrom the saltpeter.

3. The arms of the regulation caliber shall be reserved exclusively for those who shall march against the enemy; the service of the interior shall be performed with hunting pieces and side arms.

4. The saddle horses are put into requisition to complete the cavalry corps the draft horses, other than those employed in agriculture, shall convey the artillery and the provisions.

5. The Committee of Public Safety is charged to take all necessary measures to set up without delay an extraordinary manufacture of arms of every sort which corresponds with the ardor and energy of the French people. It is, accordingly, authorized to form all the establishments, factories, workshops, and mills which shall be deemed necessary for the carrying on of these works, as well as to put in requisition, within the entire extent of the Republic, the artists and workingmen who can contribute to their success.

6. The representatives of the people sent out for the execution of the present law shall have the same authority in their respective districts, acting in concert with the Committee of Public Safety; they are invested with the unlimited powers assigned to the representatives of the people to the armies.

7. Nobody can get himself replaced in the service for which he shall have been requisitioned. The public functionaries shall remain at their posts.