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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL101Y1
Professor
Jeffrey Kopstein

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Monday September 20
th
,2010.
Constant & The Rise of Liberalism
Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) *French Revolut ion
swiss born, french intellectual &politician
fervent liberal
Q: how should free people govern themselves?
Rejected the democracy model (Greek)
Liberty of anicents:
participatory
direct- no respesentives, they spoke for themselves
Public” notprivate”liberty”
War: public- you're going to war private- we are going to war
freedom of the community- self government
freedom is collective
dependant upon a class of people who didnt engage in commerce or even work. (ie.slaves and
women)
big decisions were decisions on war.
Commerce is more impor tant than war as you don't get r ich going to war.
Liberty of moderns
not so much “freedom to” asfreedom from - no state should tell me what to do
legal protections- intrusion by anyone and government
limited government (power)
freedom is individual (rather than communal)
all driven by com merce and private property instead of war.
Contradictions of Constant
modern liberty is better than anicent liberty and pre-modern “depotism (French Kings)
moderns care more about freedom from
We prefer representatives to direct involvement.
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th Monday September 20 ,2010. Constant & The Rise of Liberalism Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) *French Revolution swiss born, french intellectual &politician fervent liberal Q: how should free people govern themselves? Rejected the democracy model (Greek) Liberty of anicents: participatory direct- no respesentives, they spoke for themselves Public not private liberty War: public- youre going to war private- we are going to war freedom of the community- self government freedom is collective dependant upon a class of people w
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