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4. The Division of Powers- Montesquieu

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Uploaded on Mar 4, 2011

Foundations of Modern Social Thought (SOCY 151)

We shift from seventeenth century England to eighteenth century France and from the methodological individualism of Hobbes and Locke to the methodological collectivism of Montesquieu and Rousseau. Working from a perspective that there is a general will apart and above the sum of the opinions of individuals, Montesquieu's work focuses primarily on the law and on manners of governing rather than the question of who governs. Like Locke, Montesquieu argues that the powers of government should be separated. Montesquieu's plan of separation between executive, legislative, and judicial powers is what the United States Constitution follows. Montesquieu asserts that the climate and environment affect men as individuals as well as society. Although many of his specific ideas seem quite silly now, we must give credit to Montesquieu for being perhaps the first social and political thinker to seriously consider the environment.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Montesquieu in a Historical Context
12:50 - Chapter 2. "The Spirit of the Laws": Major Themes
23:00 - Chapter 3. Classification of Governments
26:41 - Chapter 4. Separation of Powers
39:27 - Chapter 5. Environment and Law/Social Structure

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale
Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2009.

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