Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XV.: Of Dowries and nuptial Advantages in different Constitutions. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XV.: Of Dowries and nuptial Advantages in different Constitutions. - 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 Dowries and nuptial Advantages in different Constitutions.
DOWRIES ought to be considerable in monarchies, in order to enable husbands to support their rank and the established luxury. In republics, where luxury should never reign,* they ought to be moderate: but there should be hardly any at all in despotic governments, where women are in some measure slaves.
The community of goods, introduced by the French laws, between man and wife, is extremely well adapted to a monarchical government; because the women are thereby interested in domestic affairs, and compelled, as it were, to take care of their family. It is less so in a republic, where women are possessed of more virtue. But it would be quite absurd in despotic governments, where the women themselves generally constitute a part of the master’s property.
As women are in a state that furnishes sufficient inducements to marriage, the advantages which the law gives them over the husband’s property are of no service to society: but, in a republic, they would be extremely prejudicial, because riches are productive of luxury. In despotic governments the profits accruing from marriage ought to be mere subsistence, and no more.
[* ]Marseilles was the wisest of all the republics in its time: here it was ordained that dowries should not exceed one hundred crowns in money, and five in cloaths, as Strabo observes, lib. 4.