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200 Francs 1992, France

in Krause book Number: 155e
Years of issue: 1992
Edition: From 1981 till 1994 - 3 380 000 000
Signatures: Le Secretaire: D. Bruneel, Le Controleur: J. Bonnardin, Le caissier: A. Charriau
Serie: 1968 - 1981 Issue
Specimen of: 20.08.1981 (1978)
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 171 х 92
Printer: Banque de France, Chamalieres

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

200 Francs 1992




Charles Louis de Seconda, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu.


200 Francs 1992


The portrait of the Baron of Montesquieu, made after the marble bust by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Lemoine (Mayor of Bordeaux).

Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (18 January 1689 – 10 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, man of letters, and political philosopher.

He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He is also known for doing more than any other author to secure the place of the word "despotism" in the political lexicon.

Montesquieu was born at the Château de la Brède in southwest France, 25 kilometers (16 mi.) south of Bordeaux. His father, Jacques de Secondat, was a soldier with a long noble ancestry. His mother, Marie Françoise de Pesnel, who died when Charles was seven, was an heiress who brought the title of Barony of La Brède to the Secondat family. After the death of his mother he was sent to the Catholic College of Juilly, a prominent school for the children of French nobility, where he remained from 1700 to 1711. His father died in 1713 and he became a ward of his uncle, the Baron de Montesquieu. He became a counselor of the Bordeaux Parliament in 1714. In 1715 he married Jeanne de Lartigue, a Protestant, who eventually bore him three children. The Baron died in 1716, leaving him his fortune as well as his title, and the office of Président à Mortier in the Bordeaux Parliament.

Montesquieu's early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a constitutional monarchy in the wake of its Glorious Revolution (1688–89), and had joined with Scotland in the Union of 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In France the long-reigning Louis XIV died in 1715 and was succeeded by the five-year-old Louis XV. These national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu; he would refer to them repeatedly in his work.

The title page of the first volume of Montesquieu's De l'Esprit des loix (1st ed., 1748)

Montesquieu withdrew from the practice of law to devote himself to study and writing. He achieved literary success with the publication of his Lettres persanes (Persian Letters, 1721), a satire representing society as seen through the eyes of two imaginary Persian visitors to Paris and Europe, cleverly criticizing the absurdities of contemporary French society. He next published Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence (Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans, 1734), considered by some scholars, among his three best known books, as a transition from The Persian Letters to his master work. De l'Esprit des Lois (The Spirit of the Laws) was originally published anonymously in 1748. The book quickly rose to influence political thought profoundly in Europe and America. In France, the book met with an unfriendly reception from both supporters and opponents of the regime. The Catholic Church banned l'Esprit – along with many of Montesquieu's other works – in 1751 and included it on the Index of Prohibited Books. It received the highest praise from the rest of Europe, especially Britain.

Montesquieu was also highly regarded in the British colonies in North America as a champion of liberty (though not of American independence). Political scientist Donald Lutz found that Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible. Following the American revolution, Montesquieu's work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably James Madison of Virginia, the "Father of the Constitution". Montesquieu's philosophy that "government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another" reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a clearly defined and balanced separation of powers.

Besides composing additional works on society and politics, Montesquieu traveled for a number of years through Europe including Austria and Hungary, spending a year in Italy and 18 months in England where he became a freemason, admitted to the Horn Tavern Lodge in Westminster, before resettling in France. He was troubled by poor eyesight, and was completely blind by the time he died from a high fever in 1755. He was buried in the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.

coat coat

Right of the Barons portrait is his coat of arms. On the coat: 2 gold shells and silver crescent.

L'Esprit des Lois

On left side are female allegory, symbolizing the Law and a badge, symbolizing Montesquieu's masterwork "L'Esprit des Lois" ("The Spirit of Laws") in 1748.

A short review of the work "On the Spirit of Laws".

The laws created by people were to be preceded by the possibility of fair relations, the relations of justice precede the positive law that established them. People have laws that determine the relationship between rulers and the governed: this is a political right. They also have laws that determine the relationship of all citizens between themselves: this is a civil right.

As a physical being, man, like all other natural bodies, is governed by unchangeable natural laws, but as a person intelligent and acting by his own motivations, man constantly violates both these eternal laws of nature and the changing human laws. The need of people living in society, in general laws, necessitates the formation of the state. For the formation of a state (political state) and the establishment of general laws, a civil condition (unity of will) is necessary.

About war:

As soon as people unite in society, they lose consciousness of their weakness. The existing equality disappears and war begins. Every society begins to realize its strength - hence the state of war between nations. Individuals begin to feel their power - hence the war between individuals. The goal of the war is victory; the goal of victory is conquest; the goal of conquest is preservation. From this and the previous principles all laws that form international law must flow.

On the spirit of the people:

The world is not governed by divine craft or fortune, but objective general causes of moral and physical order acting in any society that determine the "spirit of the people" and the corresponding forms and norms of its state and legal life.

People are governed by both material and ideal factors: on the one hand - climate, soil and landform, and the other - mores, customs, religion, laws, principles of government; as a result of all this, a common spirit of the people is formed. It is important to avoid everything that can change the general spirit of the nation; the legislator must conform with the people's spirit, since this spirit is not against the principles of government, for best of all we do what we do freely and in accord with our natural genius; The main theme of the entire political and legal theory of Montesquieu and the main value advocated in it is political freedom. The necessary conditions for ensuring this freedom include fair laws and the proper organization of statehood.

About three different images of government:

The main goal of the separation of powers is to avoid abuse of power. The separation and mutual deterrence of the authorities are, according to Montesquieu, the main condition for ensuring political freedom in its relations to the state system.

There are three types of government: republican, monarchical and despotic. To discover their nature, it is enough and those representations that even the least knowledgeable people have about them. "Republican rule is that in which the supreme power is in the hands of either the whole people (democracy) or parts of it (aristocracy), monarchical, under which one person rules, but through established unalterable laws, together with the nobility, which prevents the conversion of the monarchy into despotism, whereas in the despotic everything goes beyond all laws and rules by the will and arbitrariness of one person. "

Principles of government:

The Republic is a virtue,

Monarchy is an honor,

Despotism is fear.

One of the basic laws of democracy is the law, by virtue of which the legislative power belongs only to the people. But in addition to permanent laws, decisions of the Senate are necessary, which refer to acts of temporary action.

He refers to the basic laws of the aristocracy those that determine the right of a part of the people to legislate and monitor their implementation. In general, Montesquieu notes that it is natural and should determine, in his opinion, the main direction of aristocratic legislation as a whole.

In the monarchy, the basic laws define "the existence of intermediary channels through which power moves." The main one is the power of the nobility, so without the nobility the monarch becomes a despot.

On individual freedom and political freedom:

Fundamental principles of political liberalism, as a priority of individual freedom, based on the principles of natural law - separation of the state from civil society and separation of powers.

"All people are equal in republican states, they are also equal in despotic states, in the first case they are equal, because they are everything, in the second - because they are nothing." Freedom is the right to do everything that is permitted by laws. "If a citizen could do what is forbidden by these laws, then he would not have freedom, because the same could be done by others, the most important is the security of the citizen."

Political liberalism is the conviction that individuals are the basis of law and society and that public institutions exist to facilitate the empowerment of individuals with real power, without fawning on the elites.

Liberalism is a social movement:

- proclaiming the freedom of the individual in all areas of life as a condition for the development of society;

- Supporting (in the economy) freedom of private entrepreneurship and competition;

- a supportive (in politics) legal state, parliamentary democracy, expansion of political and civil rights and freedoms.

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner, in words in lower left corner.


200 Francs 1992

The same portrait of Montesquieu, against the background of the banknote - Persian patterns. Patterns refer to the famous novel of the Baron - "Persian Letters" of 1721.

"Persian Letters" ("Lettres persanes") is a satirical novel by Charles-Louis de Montesquieu. The first edition was published anonymously in Amsterdam in 1721.

In 1721, Montesquieu published the novel "Persian Letters", trying to hide his authorship from readers. Since then, this work has withstood many publications. Among the writers of the eighteenth century, who knew how to entertain and wittyly express, but also "paint" the most abstract ideas of Enlightenment philosophy and politics, Montesquieu took a worthy place. His ideas are presented in the form of a correspondence of friends - a reception in literature is already well-known: novels in letters were written both in England, and in Germany, and in France; "epistolary genre" was increasingly becoming fashionable.

Heroes of the work of Montesquieu - the Persians Uzbek and Rika, who left their homeland in order to study the customs and culture of France - in a sense, "allegorical" figures. At that time, a fictitious resident of semi-wild exotic countries was frequently placed as a judge over modern society, as a person "not spoiled by civilization." The Persians needed Montesquieu to use their mouths to express their critical thoughts about the whole system of French absolutism, the privileges of the nobility, the financial scams of the then bourgeois businessmen, the futility and falsity of the court culture, the false scholarship of the then academicians. These critical thoughts are expressed in the form of a parody and witty, reminiscent of the best satirists of the past.

One of the two Persians, Uzbek, leading an active correspondence with the wives and eunuchs of his seraglio, adores his wives, understands their charms as a gourmet in delicacies, and treats them with the direct despotism of the eastern spouse. He is amazed at everything he sees and hears in Paris. He can not explain his compatriots what honor is in the gallant sense of the word - some weightless, disembodied "something", because of which people fight in duels and pierce each other with swords. Even having tasted from the blessings of high civilization, Uzbek with all his heart goes home - to the eastern pleasures and beauties of the harem.

But are Uzbek and Rika really so simple? We will scrape off their exotic coloring, and we will easily discover in them the civilized Europeans, moreover inclined to the reasoning. In fact, while it is about his wives, Uzbek is implacable, they are for him animate things, and he considers this principle of dominion to be immutable: so it was, it will be so. But if he only slightly withdraws from such questions, how categorical his thinking gives way to subtle skepticism. That there is at least one Uzbek remark about the fact that "road dirt seems unpleasant to us, because it offends our eyesight or some other of our feelings, in itself it is, however, no worse than gold or diamonds." The experience of another Persian, Ricki, confirms Uzbek skepticism. Once Rika was in the company of two young old women, a grumbling gout, an old lord and a clergyman. All these people, as usual, began to condemn the present and commemorate the good old days. But each did this solely from the side that occupied him: the old women claimed that the gallant cavaliers had long since moved; gout - that everyone lost their health; grandee - that when he was paid a pension, then everyone lived in contentment; a monk - that they used to fight against heresy much better. "It seems to me," Uzbek wrote to Rika, "that we judge things only unconsciously relating them to ourselves." It does not surprise me at all that the Negroes portray the trait as a being of dazzling whiteness and their gods as black as coal ... Someone successfully noted that if the triangles created a god, he would have three sides. "

A very good understanding of the relativity of human judgments - for example, that the claims of each religion to the absolute incontrovertibility of exclusively its principles are not based on anything - equips Montesquieu with its "naive" Persians. The French consider Persia a backward country, but the price of their enlightenment is insignificant, since the church holds the person in captivity of numerous prejudices. At the same time, Uzbek and Rika do not insist on the superiority of the Muslim faith over the Christian faith; from their point of view, every religion senselessly reduces the amount of enjoyment available to man. Why, for example, can not the Mohammedan and the Jew eat pork meat?

The venomous ridicule of Uzbek and Ricky Montesquieu, among other things, directs against those imaginary scientists who are immersed in mathematical calculations, not knowing the real life and not wanting to know it; and it seems to them that their theorems differ in extraordinary accuracy, and the phenomena of reality are a gross deviation from the norm. The martyr of accuracy - this is how Rick calls one of these monsters, stuffed with numbers and formulas. When this scientist was told about the bombing of the city, he was not excited by the results of the bombing - what about him to people and their suffering, but only "the properties of the line that bombs describe in the air" (letter CXXVIII). Who needs - asks Rick - sophisticated books, which investigate all sorts of high matter and ignore the facts completely? Especially surprised Rick arrogance, with which some arrogant scientist in one fell swoop solved three issues of morality, four historical problems and five physical problems.

So in Swiftovsky we show the Montesquieu spirit of the then Academy of Sciences, divorced from practical life and the specific needs of society. Not higher is estimated in the "Persian letters" and fiction literature of the era of absolutism. Our Persians chuckle at art connoisseurs, who enjoy only "tact and harmony." For the ears of these connoisseurs poets create pompous rhetorical praises or sugary idylls with shepherds and cowherd boys, betraying all this for the triumph of "naturalness." Acquainted with the writing of poets, Rika learns that their main goal is to "put obstacles to common sense and also burden the mind with all sorts of jewelry, as they once burdened women with all sorts of decorations and outfits." As for novels, their authors distort the language of both mind and heart. "They all hunt for their naturalness, they all fall by, their characters are as far from nature as the winged dragons and centaurs are far from it" (letter CXXXVIII). In the end, Rika is convinced that French fiction is just as little natural, as pretentious and ridiculous as the eastern fiction. Both Persians, who clearly prefer the truth of life to science fiction, "help" the educator Montesquieu to deal with the mannered art of the French nobility.

The French look at Uzbek and Riku from the top down, like uncivilized people. However, these two Persians do not have to be hypocritical and obey the whims of fashion, whereas Parisians, like monkeys and parrots, imitate everything that the king will come to mind. In connection with the special king and his role in society, the Persians are pondering over questions of politics. The value of a person manifests itself on the condition that his abilities and needs develop, and development needs it in free, sociable manners. Where, from this point of view, is it better - in Persia, where relations of despotism and dumb obedience dominate, or in France with its conventions and imposed authorities? True, in the East, submissive women lack liveliness, and men are eternally immersed in dull seriousness, differing in the monotony of interests and desires. Another thing in France: here women are not so beautiful, but pretty, attractive, men wittier. But something prevents and here feel comfortable. In Persia people are at least not two-faced: either you are a master or you are a slave. Here all lie, pretend to be satisfied, in fact the same - quite the contrary. It is unlikely that a Frenchman is happier than a Persian. What is the happiness of living under the yoke of bad laws, priests and kings? ( .rus)


On the left is the statue of Lucius Cornelius Sylla, in the Louvre, symbolizing the work of the Baron of Montesquieu "Dialogue de Sylla et d'Eucrate" ("A Dialogue between Sylla and Eucrates") in 1724.

Montesquieu makes Sulla say about the proscription: "Subsequent generations will appreciate what Rome has not yet dared to consider: they may find that I have not shed enough blood and that not all Maria supporters have been scribbled." And especially with respect to abdication, this formula, which gives the character a tragic value, well exploited in the following centuries: "I surprised people, and that's a lot."

Château de La Brède

Below, on the right - the family castle "de La Brède" (Château de La Brède), in which the Baron of Montesquieu was born.

The beautiful castle of La Brad, is located 20 kilometers south of the administrative center of the department of Gironde, Bordeaux. Since 1951 the castle, introduced by the Ministry of Culture of France in the list of historical monuments and in our time is open to the general public.

The construction of the castle began in 1306 on the basis of an older fortress located on this site. During the Renaissance period, the castle is rebuilt in the Renaissance style, preserving the polygonal characteristics of the medieval citadel.

The castle is surrounded on all sides by water, which is filled with its moats. It is like a precious stone with many faces. With each step, going around La Brad, you see his new look. Towers, walls, tiled roofs and roofs made of flagstone, pointed and flat.

Until the XVII century, the castle was owned by representatives of various French families, and in 1686 it became the property of the Baron Jacques de Second, the father of the famous philosopher, who married the daughter of the former owner of the castle. Countess Jacqueline de Chabannes, a relative of the youngest daughter of Montesquieu Denise, died in the castle in 2004, leaving no heirs. She created a fund, whose tasks include the maintenance of the castle and the care that it was available to visitors.

Montesquieu and de La Brède are inseparable! They are forever together. They can not be separated, as Montesquieu himself claimed: "I therefore like to go to de La Brède, that in de La Brède it seems to me that my money is under my feet, and in Paris it seems to me that my money is on my shoulders". That says it all.

This man enjoyed popularity not only among his contemporaries, but also had a fruitful influence on the monarchs and statesmen of the next generation. ( .rus)

Denominations in numerals are in top corners.


Designer: Pierrette Lambert.

Obverse engraver: Jacques Jubert.

Reverse engraver: Claude Durrens.

It was issued by the Bank of France on July 7, 1982, the last in the series "Famous artists and scientists", produced by the Bank of France, which included banknotes with portraits: Berlioz, Debussy, Cantena de Latour, Delacroix and Pascal. A series of banknotes are dedicated to famous people who contributed to the formation of the historical heritage of France. "