Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. V.: Of the End or View of different Governments. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. V.: Of the End or View of 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 End or View of different Governments.
THOUGH all governments have the same general end, which is that of preservation, yet each has another particular object. Increase of dominion was the object of Rome; war, that of Sparta; religion, that of the Jewish laws; commerce, that of Marseilles; public tranquillity, that of the laws of China* ; navigation, that of the laws of Rhodes; natural liberty, that of the policy of the savages; in general, the pleasures of the prince, that of despotic states; that of monarchies, the prince’s and the kingdom’s glory: the independence of individuals is the end aimed at by the laws of Poland; from thence results the oppression of the whole.†
One nation there is also in the world, that has, for the direct end of its constitution, political liberty. We shall presently examine the principles on which this liberty is founded: if they are sound, liberty will appear in its highest perfection.
To discover political liberty in a constitution, no great labour is requisite. If we are capable of seeing it where it exists, it is soon found, and we need not go far in search of it.
[* ]The natural end of a state that has no foreign enemies, or that thinks itself secured against them by barriers.
[† ]Inconveniency of the Liberum veto.