POL101Y1 Lecture Notes - Territorial Authorities Of New Zealand, Classical Liberalism, Individualism

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Published on 5 Dec 2012
Sep 24 Lecture
Constant and the Rise of
Benjamin Constant (1767-1830)
Swiss born, French intellectual and politician
Fervent liberal
Context: French Revolution and its aftermath
Question: how should free people govern themselves?
- Considered today as conservative’
- Considered in his day a ‘liberal’
- Liberalism meant in that day: FREEDOM
- Monarchy based on idea of inheritable rule- his father
- Problem of revolution- you replace government, then what?
- This was a social revolution
- What will FREEDOM really be?! Institutions?
Which is “freedom” better characterized as?
A. Freedom “from tyranny”
B. Freedom “to pursue your life plan”
C. Neither
- Constant argued “A”, classic liberalism
Model Rejected
Liberty of ancients:
Participatory: freedom consisted in act of government and being governed
Direct: when questions of the day would come up, everyone would
“Public” not “private liberty” : not freedom individually, we all get to do what
we want to do (modern)
Freedom of the community- self government: not rules by foreigners,
freedom of the community AS A WHOLE, not ruled necessary by a hereditary
monarch, DIFF. between PRIVATE and PUBLIC freedom
Freedom is COLLECTIVE- ancient notion
Dependent upon a class of people who didn’t engage in commerce or even
True freedom does not come in the household- household realm of women
and slaves
Only very small portion were actually citizens engaging in public rule
Big decisions were decisions on war
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