An important political Philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment, Montesquieu is remembered for formulating the important governmental idea of separation of powers, as well as for introducing the term despotism into political theory.
Before devoting himself to scholarship and writing, he worked as a Lawyer. He published his first work, the satirical Lettres Persanes, in 1721.
He theorized that climate conditions within a particular society can greatly influence the character of that society. His most well known works include Histoire Veritable (True History), De l'Esprit des Lois (On the Spirit of the Laws), and Mes Pensees (My Thoughts).
The son of baroness Marie Francoise de Pesnel and soldier and nobleman Jacques de Secondat, he was born in Aquitane, France, and raised by his uncle, the Baron de Montesquieu, following his parents' early deaths.
His work greatly influenced the political philosophies of James Madison and other Founding Fathers of the United States of America.