The Ancient Republics and the Mixed Regime in Montesquieu's Political Thought

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation provides a fuller picture of Montesquieu’s thinking about republics by focusing on his discussions of how Sparta, Athens, and Rome dealt with the problems of inequality and class conflict. It discusses what Montesquieu and his sources reveal about the class structure of each regime and what laws and institutions each had in place to either eradicate inequality or manage/minimize the tensions it generated. It also considers the strengths, defects, and viability of those institutional structures. This dissertation concludes by showing why and how Montesquieu thought that the English government represented a far more durable design for a mixed regime, and it argues that Montesquieu understood the English system to be a republic, despite the fact that a (hereditary) king and nobility were essential features of it.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-09302014-023408

Author Lori Molinari
Advisor Michael P. Zuckert
Contributor Michael P. Zuckert, Committee Chair
Contributor Dana Villa, Committee Member
Contributor Catherine Zuckert, Committee Member
Contributor Eileen Botting, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Political Science
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2014-09-29

Submission Date 2014-09-30
  • United States of America

  • Montesquieu

  • mixed regime

  • English

  • liberty

  • moderate government

  • British

  • equality

  • separation of powers

  • virtue

  • class conflict

  • ancient

  • inequality

  • Roman

  • Rome

  • republic

  • England

  • Sparta

  • classical

  • Athens

  • constitution

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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