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Oct 14

Montesquieu and the Founding Fathers: Federalism, The Separation of Powers, and The Crisis of American Democracy

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Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

What does it take to achieve limited, republican government in a large nation such as the United States?  Is it possible to sustain a healthy republic over a large territory?  As events unfold, this has become a pressing question.  The Founders had to deal with this question as well, and they turned to Montesquieu for guidance.  The most frequently cited political philosopher during the creation of the American Constitution, Montesquieu argues that maintaining a large republic requires the institutional structures of federalism and a separation of powers.  This advice was central to the success of the American Constitution, but it was fundamentally challenged by the Progressives and their recent heirs.  Today, with the explosion of centralized administration, we are seeing the effects of that challenge.

Dr. Rahe's newest publication is Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty: War, Religion, Commerce, Climate, Terrain, Technology, Uneasiness of Mind, the Spirit of Political Vigilance, and the Foundations of the Modern Republic.  He has authored several books previously including Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville and the Modern Prospect.  He holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Copies of Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty will be available for purchase
and to be signed by the author

More About the Speakers

Paul A. Rahe, Ph.D.
Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage, Hillsdale College

Hosted By

Joseph Postell, Ph.D. Joseph Postell, Ph.D.

Visiting Fellow, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics Read More