Wednesday, January 18, 2012


‘Historical, philosophical, or moral works, seem more rarely to have been resorted to for the amusement of Longwood.  We have, indeed, been informed, that the only books of this description for which Napoleon showed a decided partiality, were those of Machiavel and Montesquieu, which he did not perhaps consider as fit themes for public recitation…’

Enlightenment figure Charles-Louis de Secondat, the Baron of La Brede and Montesquieu, was born on January 18, 1689.  It is Montesquieu’s writing that is recalled when we discuss the separation of powers of church and state today.  In “The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte”, Walter Scott mentions Napoleon’s appreciation of Montesquieu’s work.

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