Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VI.: A new physical Cause of the Slavery of Asia and of the Liberty of Europe. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. VI.: A new physical Cause of the Slavery of Asia and of the Liberty of Europe. - 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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A new physical Cause of the Slavery of Asia and of the Liberty of Europe.
IN Asia they have always had great empires; in Europe these could never subsist. Asia has larger plains; it is cut out into much more extensive divisions by mountains and seas; and, as it lies more to the South, its springs are more easily dried up; the mountains are less covered with snow; and the rivers, being not§ so large, form more contracted barriers.
Power in Asia ought, then, to be always despotic: for, if their slavery were not severe, they would soon make a division inconsistent with the nature of the country.
In Europe, the natural division forms many nations of a moderate extent, in which the ruling by laws is not incompatible with the maintenance of the state: on the contrary, it is so favourable to it, that, without this, the state would fall into decay, and become a prey to its neighbours.
It is this which has formed a genius for liberty, that renders every part extremely difficult to be subdued and subjected to a foreign power, otherwise than by the laws and the advantage of commerce.
On the contrary, there reigns in Asia a servile spirit, which they have never been able to shake off; and it is impossible to find, in all the histories of that country, a single passage which discovers a freedom of spirit: we shall never see any thing there but the excess of slavery.
[§ ]The waters lose themselves, or evaporate before or after their streams are united.