Title page from My Thoughts (Mes Pensées) (1720, 2012)

My Thoughts (Mes Pensées) (1720, 2012)

My Thoughts provides a unique window into the mind of the author of The Spirit of the Laws. From the publication of his first masterpiece, Persian Letters, in 1721, until his death in 1755, Montesquieu maintained notebooks in which he wrote and dictated ideas on a wide variety of topics. These notebooks provide important insights into his views on a broad range of topics, including morality, religion, history, law, economics, finance, science, art, and constitutional liberty.

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Key Quotes


The men who enjoy the government I have spoken of are like fish who swim in the sea without constraint. Those who live in a prudent and moderate monarchy or aristocracy seem to be in large nets, in which they are caught, though they think themselves free. But those who live in purely despotic…