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Charles de Secondat MONTESQUIEU
Charles de Secondat MONTESQUIEU

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About the object

Charles de Secondat MONTESQUIEU De l'Esprit des loix ChezBarillot & Fils [Prault], Genève [Paris] s.d. (1748), in-4 (19x25cm), (8) XXIV : 522pp. (1p. errata) (1p. bl.) et (4) XVI ; 564pp., 2 volumes reliés. A counterfeit of the first edition published by Barrillot (with two ‘r's) in Geneva in 1748. This counterfeit was produced by Laurent Durand and was printed in Paris by Prault, and is – thus – the second printed edition. Contemporary light brown speckled calf. Spine in six compartments with frames and gilt fleurons as well as title and volume labels in light brown morocco. Triple gilt fillet frame to covers, gilt frame of dentelles inside covers, all edges red. A few pale light angular dampstains. Trace of dampstaining to upper cover of volume I, small repairs to headpieces, joints (at head and foot) and corners. An emblematic, definitive book of the 18th century, the Spirit of the Laws, or the principles and tendencies which define the making of laws, had a decisive influence on political life and was a guide to the writing of the Constitution of 1791 as well as that of the United States. Montesquieu's (1689- 1755) general argument is that laws are not purely made by men – the spirit of the laws is “the various relationships of the laws with different things,” – but that many elements go into making them. There are, thus, physical elements (the climate), moral elements (religion, custom), and so on. Moreover, a primitive justice is at the root of laws – there is thus indeed a spirit of the laws. But the book is not merely a treatise on the spirit that motivates law; it is above all a treatise on government and first and foremost, freedom. Though the book was extensively read, it was received with some coolness by the philosophers, who did not recognize Montesquieu as one of their own and held his conservatism against him. It was also heavily criticized by members of the Church. A very good copy.SOLD Réf : 48555 Set an alert
Non-Affiliate Edition-Originale
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