Montesquieu and Locke on Democratic Power and the Justification of the “War on Terror”

International Studies in Philosophy 40 (2):107-120 (2008)
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This paper focuses on a comparative analysis of the legitimate exercise of democratic power in the philosophies of Montesquieu and Locke. This analysis not only highlights a strong bifurcation in liberal thought, it also sheds light on the contemporary practice of liberalism through the example of the United States’ ‘War on Terror.’ I argue that although it is Locke who at first blush gives an account of the exercise of democratic power that is more opposed to tyranny, it is Montesquieu’s broader conception that is in many ways more effective at tracking and combating tyranny.
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