Montesquieu

Monarchical govern­ment, as we have said, sup­po­ses pre-emi­nen­ces, ranks, and even a foun­ding nobi­lity. The nature of honor is to claim pre­fe­ren­ces and dis­tinc­tions ; it is the­re­fore inhe­rently in its place in this govern­ment.

Ambition is per­ni­cious in a repu­blic. It has good effects in a monar­chy : it gives life to that govern­ment, and has the advan­tage of not being dan­ge­rous, because there it can be cons­tantly repres­sed.

You could say that it is ana­lo­gous to the sys­tem of the uni­verse, where there is a force that cons­tantly pulls all bodies away from the cen­ter, and a gra­vi­ta­tio­nal force that pulls them back towards the cen­ter. Honor gives move­ment to every part of the body poli­tic ; it binds them by its very action, and it so hap­pens that eve­ryone contri­bu­tes to the com­mon good, while thin­king he is atten­ding to his indi­vi­dual concerns.

It is true that, phi­lo­so­phi­cally spea­king, it is a false honor that dri­ves all parts of the state ; but that false honor is as use­ful to the public as true honor would be to indi­vi­duals who might pos­sess it.

And is it not a great deal to oblige men to per­form all the dif­fi­cult acts, ones that require strength, without any recom­pense other than the glory of those acts ?