Montesquieu is one of the most prominent French political philosophers in the eighteenth century. He is famous in the history of political thought for his notable formulation of separation of powers as the most important precondition of political liberty and this idea he stated in his famous book “The Spirit of Laws”.
Montesquieu is called Aristotle of the 18th century due to the following reasons:
- He applied the Aristotelian method of inductive and historical tradition as Dunning says, “The method applied by Montesquieu in the solution of the.problem is that of Aristotle” Hence, he may be justly regarded as the Aristotle of the 18th century.
- He paid attention to the influence of the physical environment on social institutions and life of men like Aristotle.
- Both Aristotle and Montesquieu classified several types of government on the basis of the number and the way in which these are ruled i.e. Monarchy, Republic and Despotism
- Montesquieu follows Aristotle by saying that law of society gives it peculiar and particular character as Aristotle paid long ago, that constitution determines the life and character of its people and with the change of constitution state becomes a different state.
- Both Aristotle and Montesquieu believed that fundamental types of constitutions may vary under the impact of local conditions as Indian, Britain follows parliamentary systems but differ with one another. Both wield a great influence as the theory of separation of power is enshrined in the Constitutions based on the American model.