Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. III.: Of the Spirit of extreme Equality. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. III.: Of the Spirit of extreme Equality. - 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 Spirit of extreme Equality.
AS distant as heaven is from earth, so is the true spirit of equality from that of extreme equality. The former does not imply that every body should command, or that no one should be commanded, but that we obey or command our equals. It endeavours not to shake off the authority of a master, but that its masters should be none but its equals.
In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal; but they cannot continue in this equality: society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the laws.
Such is the difference between a well regulated democracy and one that is not so, that, in the former, men are equal only as citizens, but, in the latter, they are equal also as magistrates, as senators, as judges, as fathers, as husbands, or as masters.
The natural place of virtue is near to liberty; but it is not nearer to excessive liberty than to servitude.