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A Virtue for Courageous MindsModeration in French Political Thought, 1748-1830$
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Aurelian Craiutu

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691146768

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691146768.001.0001

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The Architecture of Moderate Government

The Architecture of Moderate Government

Montesquieu’s Science of the Legislator

(p.33) Two The Architecture of Moderate Government
A Virtue for Courageous Minds

Aurelian Craiutu

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the concept of “moderate government” during the Old Regime by drawing on the political writings of Montesquieu. It first considers Montesquieu's claim, which he articulated in the book The Spirit of the Laws (1748), that moderation is the key virtue of all legislators; his views on the relationship between moderation and mixed government; and the distinction between moderate and immoderate governments, with political liberty existing only in the former. The discussion then turns to Montesquieu's philosophy of jurisprudence and his ideas on penal laws, fiscal moderation, and how democratic and aristocratic regimes can be moderated. Finally, the chapter explores the relationship between moderation and pluralism in connection with Montesquieu's discussion of the moderating effects of commerce.

Keywords:   moderate government, moderation, Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, virtue, mixed government, immoderate government, political liberty, pluralism, commerce

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