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Book Lecture: Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws: A Critical Text

Wed, Jan 31, 2024, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Featuring: Dr. William Allen, Emeritus Dean and Professor, Michigan State University
Location: IWP Main Campus

You are cordially invited to attend an IN-PERSON event:

Book Lecture: Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws: A Critical Text


Dr. William Allen
Emeritus Dean and Professor, Michigan State University


Wednesday, January 31, 2024
5:00 – 6:00 PM EST


The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th St NW
Washington, DC 20036Commodore Barry Room – Marlatt MansionGetting to campus


Cover of Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws A Critical Text


About the Lecture

In the struggle to adopt the US Constitution, the philosopher Montesquieu’s book, Spirit of the Laws, was frequently cited by both proponents and opponents of ratification. Highly regarded at the time of America’s founding, this 1748 masterpiece has fallen into unjust neglect which Professor Allen’s fresh translation and commentary should do much to rectify.

Professor Allen will discuss Montesquieu’s thought on matters of special importance for IWP students, including national security, economics, political and constitutional order, and their moral, cultural, and religious implications. Professor Allen will highlight Montesquieu’s account of the conflict between freedom and slavery, a conflict which intersects with the greatest questions of our own age.

About the Speaker

W. B. Allen, Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy and Dean of James Madison College at Michigan State University, served previously as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is General Editor of The State of Black of America (2022) and resident scholar and former Chief Operating Officer of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education in Washington, D.C. His latest publication is the newly released Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws: A Critical Edition, Parallel Text and Commentary (Anthem Press). Recognized for excellence in liberal education on the 1997 Templeton Honor Roll and as a 2014 Salvatori Prize laureate, he has published extensively, including George Washington: A Collection (Liberty Fund, Inc.), Rethinking Uncle Tom: The Political Philosophy of H. B. Stowe (Lexington Books), George Washington: America’s First Progressive (Peter Lang, Inc.) and scores of essays.

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