Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XI.: Of changing a Religion. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAP. XI.: Of changing a Religion. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
Of changing a Religion.
A PRINCE who undertakes to destroy or to change the established religion of his kingdom, must greatly expose himself. If his government is despotic, he runs a much greater risk of seeing a revolution arise from such a proceeding, than from any tyranny whatsoever, and a revolution is not an uncommon thing in such states. The reason of this is, because a state cannot change its religion, manners and customs, in an instant, and with the same rapidity as the prince publishes the ordinance which establishes a new religion.
Besides, the ancient religion is connected with the constitution of the kingdom, and the new one is not; the former agrees with the climate, and very often the new one is opposite to it. Moreover, the citizens become disgusted with their laws, and look upon the government already established with contempt; they conceive a jealousy against the two religions, instead of a firm belief in one; in a word, these innovations give to the state, at least for some time, both bad citizens and bad believers.