Best Montesquieu Quotes

Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance... the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.

Life was given to me as a favor, so I may abandon it when it is one no longer.

The sublimity of administration consists in knowing the proper degree of power that should be exerted on different occasions.

It is always the adventurers who do great things, not the sovereigns of great empires.

Friendship is an arrangement by which we undertake to exchange small favors for big ones.

The severity of the laws prevents their execution.

We should weep for men at their birth, not at their death.

There is no one, says another, whom fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she does not find him ready to receive her, she walks in at the door, and flies out at the window.

To love to read is to exchange hours of ennui for hours of delight.

In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.

Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.

There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.

I have always observed that to succeed in the world one should appear like a fool but be wise.

The success of most things depends upon knowing how long it will take to succeed.

Slavery, properly so called, is the establishment of a right which gives to one man such a power over another as renders him absolute master of his life and fortune.

But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go.

Society is the union of men and not the men themselves.

Liberty is the right of doing whatever the laws permit.

Republics end through luxury; monarchies through poverty.

I have read descriptions of Paradise that would make any sensible person stop wanting to go there.

There is only one thing that can form a bond between men, and that is gratitude... we cannot give someone else greater power over us than we have ourselves.

If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, and that is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.

We must have constantly present in our minds the difference between independence and liberty. Liberty is a right of doing whatever the laws permit, and if a citizen could do what they forbid he would no longer be possessed of liberty.

False happiness renders men stern and proud, and that happiness is never communicated. True happiness renders them kind and sensible, and that happiness is always shared.

It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.

Talent is a gift which God has given us secretly, and which we reveal without perceiving it.

To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.

The less men think, the more they talk.

Law in general is human reason, inasmuch as it governs all the inhabitants of the earth: the political and civil laws of each nation ought to be only the particular cases in which human reason is applied.

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