This video is no longer available online.
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
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
Joseph Postell, Ph.D.
Visiting Fellow, B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics