II.1 On the nature of the three different governments

There are three spe­cies of govern­ments : REPUBLICAN, MONARCHICAL, and DESPOTIC. To iden­tify their nature, we need no more than the notion the least edu­ca­ted of men have of them. I posit three defi­ni­tions, or rather three givens : first, that the repu­bli­can govern­ment is one in which the peo­ple as a whole, or only a por­tion of the peo­ple, holds the sove­reign autho­rity ; the monar­chi­cal govern­ment, one in which one man alone governs, but by fixed and esta­bli­shed laws ; whe­reas in the des­po­tic govern­ment one man alone, with no law nor rule, pre­vails in all things by his will and his fan­cies.

This is what I mean by the nature of each govern­ment. We must now see what laws fol­low directly from this nature, and are conse­quently the first fun­da­men­tal laws.