Montesquieu on Federalism and the Problem of Liberty in the International System: Ancient Virtue and the Modern Executive

Authored by: Ann Ward , David S. Fott

The Ashgate Research Companion to Federalism

Print publication date:  August  2009
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671312
eBook ISBN: 9781315612966
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043454


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In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu recognizes that unlike the modern commercial nations of his time, the small city-republics of Greek antiquity demanded political virtue of their citizens. The context that propelled the ancient republic toward this demand for excessive virtue was the chaos of the international system. The ever-present insecurity within the international system meant that individual liberty and self-fulfillment had to be suppressed for the sake of political survival.

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