Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. I.: Of the Nature of three different Governments. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. I.: Of the Nature of three different Governments. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Of the Nature of three different Governments.
THERE are three species of government; republican, monarchical, and despotic. In order to discover their nature, it is sufficient to recollect the common notion, which supposes three definitions, or rather three facts: “That a republican government is that in which the body or only a part of the people is possessed of the supreme power: monarchy, that in which a single person governs by fixed and established laws: a despotic government, that in which a single person directs every thing by his own will and caprice.”
This is what I call the nature of each government: we must now inquire into those laws which directly conform to this nature, and consequently are the fundamental institutions.