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Enlightenment ContestedPhilosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199279227

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279227.001.0001

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Bayle, Boulainvilliers, Montesquieu: Secular Monarchy versus the Aristocratic Republic

Bayle, Boulainvilliers, Montesquieu: Secular Monarchy versus the Aristocratic Republic

(p.264) 11 Bayle, Boulainvilliers, Montesquieu: Secular Monarchy versus the Aristocratic Republic
Enlightenment Contested

Jonathan I. Israel

Oxford University Press

The pre-1750 Enlightenment fundamentally transformed political thought as it did every other aspect of western civilization and, here, Montesquieu has always rightly been identified as a key innovative thinker. Certainly no one had a greater impact than he on the discussion of political theory in mid-18th-century Europe. But while granting Montesquieu’s originality and incomparable impact, which remain undeniable, in the context of a general reassessment of the western Enlightenment such as this, it is requisite not to ‘isolate’ him, or leave the impression that he springs from nowhere, but rather adequately ‘situate’ him, which means we must view his oeuvre as a response partly to his own experiences but even more to his reading and to prior developments in French and French exile thought. This chapter examines the relationship between Montesquieu and Bayle’s monarchism, and the aristocratic republicanism of Boulainvilliers.

Keywords:   Early Enlightenment, French political thought, Montesquieu, Bayle, Boulainvilliers, monarchism, republicanism

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