“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.”

–Montesquieu (1689 – 1755)

A contemporary French of Rousseau (1712-1778), Montesquieu made a scientific study of human society for which he had travelled to and lived in various European countries, including England studying political and social institutions which gave shape to his sociological theory of government and law. The study helped him to uncover ways that would best protect liberty. He proposed a system of checks and balances in the form of separation of powers between executive, legislature and judiciary. The device of separation of power meant fragmentation of government into three organs so that tyranny of the other is resisted.

Montesquieu championed the form of parliamentary liberalism. In parliamentary system, the legislative assemblies become principal vehicle of representative and responsible government. He was impressed, with some criticism though, by the British system. Montesquieu prescription of constitutional republicanism and institutional devices inspired the founding fathers and drafters of US constitution to reflect the concept of separation of power based on checks and balances in their constitution. His philosophy unleashed democratic radicalism in France which led to French Revolution of 1789.