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Mission

The Montesquieu Forum

 

The Montesquieu Forum's principal purpose is to facilitate and further the study of the classical and European heritage informing the American founding period. The American Founding did not spring out of a vacuum. It took as its foundations the writings of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Polybius, Plutarch, Francis Bacon, Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Montesquieu, as well as the Bible. By offering programs on such works, the Forum aims to encourage a deepened understanding of the principles of the American Founding, both in the students at Roosevelt University and the general public.

The Forum is named after Montesquieu for a variety of reasons. First, Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted author on philosophical questions having to do with politics in the pre-revolutionary Colonial period of American history. Secondly, along with Blackstone, Montesquieu was the most important source of Constitutional reflections during the Founding period. Most central here, of course, is Montesquieu’s seminal contribution to the idea of separating governmental powers. Thirdly, Montesquieu was not a partisan of any political party: his writings on political matters are philosophical, not ideological. This is exactly the orientation of the Montesquieu Forum.

Montesquieu Forum Seminar and Reading Room

In the Spring of 2011, with the university support of Provost James Gandre and College of Arts & Sciences Dean Lynn Weiner, and the material support of the Jack Miller Center and Liberty Fund, the Montesquieu Forum Seminar and Reading Room was fashioned in room 720 of the Auditorium Building. The room consists of handmade tables and chairs from Oregon, handmade bookcases from Chicago, portraits of Montesquieu, Locke, Tocqueville, and Harriet Taylor, and a Replogle globe of the world. The room is used for seminars and classes related to the work of the Montesquieu Forum.