Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. I.: Difference between the Nature and Principle of Government. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. I.: Difference between the Nature and Principle of Government. - 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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Difference between the Nature and Principle of Government.
AFTER having examined the laws relative to the nature of each government, we must investigate those which relate to its principle.
There is this difference between* the nature and principle of government, that the former is that by which it is constituted, and the latter that by which it is made to act. One is its particular structure, and the other the human passions which set it in motion.
Now, laws ought to be no less relative to the principle, than to the nature, of each government. We must therefore enquire into this principle, which shall be the subject of this third book.
[* ]This is a very important distinction, from whence I shall draw many consequences, for it is the key of an infinite number of laws.