Montesquieu (1689-1757) was a French philosopher whose ideas in works like The Spirit of the Laws helped launch the Enlightenment movement in Europe. His ideas on the separation of powers, that is, between the executive, legislative, and judiciary, were influential on other Enlightenment thinkers and on the 13 colonies that became the United States of America.

More about: Montesquieu


  • 1689 - 1757
    Life of the French philosopher Montesquieu.
  • 18 Jan 1689
    The philosopher Montesquieu is born near Bordeaux, France.
  • 1708
    Montesquieu graduates in law from the University of Bordeaux.
  • 1714 - 1725
    Montesquieu serves as a judge at Bordeaux's Parlement.
  • 1715
    Montesquieu marries Jeanne de Lartigue.
  • 1721
    Montesquieu publishes his Lettres persanes (Persian Letters).
  • 1727
    Montesquieu is elected to the prestigious Académie Française.
  • 1728 - 1731
    Montesquieu travels to Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, and England.
  • 1734
    Montesquieu publishes his Considerations on the Greatness and Decline of the Romans.
  • 1748
    Montesquieu publishes his The Spirit of the Laws where he outlines his separation of powers.
  • 1750
    Montesquieu publishes his Defence of the Spirit of the Laws.
  • 1751
    The Catholic Church adds Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws to the Index of Forbidden Books.
  • 10 Feb 1755
    The French philosopher Montesquieu dies in Paris.