Rise of Liberalism

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Published on 16 Feb 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Political Science
Course
POL101Y1
September 20 – The Rise of Liberalism
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?
Model Rejected
Athenian model of democracy was rejected by Constant; claimed that it was not appropriate to the
circumstances they were living under
Greek politics was very participatory (something that you had and more importantly wanted to do)
Direct: directly took part in discussing important issues
Constants perception of Greek liberty was public liberty not private (Greek liberty meant society as a
whole made decisions i.e. warfare)
Freedom of the community—self government (no private/individual rights but we as a whole rule
ourselves by the decisions we make)
Dependent upon a class of people who didnt engage in commerce or even work (slaves did the work
while women took care of the household)
Constant argued that Athenian society was a majority of slaves which didnt apply to his current
society
Big decisions were decisions on war
War is no longer the most important decisions we make; trade and commerce are our main
decisions (making peaceful arrangements to obtain commerce)
Liberty of Moderns
Not so much freedom to as freedom from
Legal protections
Limited government (did not exist in the ancient model of government)
Freedom in our concept is individual rather than communal
All driven by “commerce” and private property instead of war
www.notesolution.com
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Document Summary

Athenian model of democracy was rejected by constant; claimed that it was not appropriate to the circumstances they were living under. Greek politics was very participatory (something that you had and more importantly wanted to do) Direct: directly took part in discussing important issues. Constant"s perception of greek liberty was public liberty not private (greek liberty meant society as a whole made decisions i. e. warfare) Freedom of the community self government (no private/individual rights but we as a whole rule ourselves by the decisions we make) Big decisions were decisions on war: war is no longer the most important decisions we make; trade and commerce are our main decisions (making peaceful arrangements to obtain commerce) Not so much freedom to as freedom from . Limited government (did not exist in the ancient model of government) Freedom in our concept is individual rather than communal. All driven by commerce and private property instead of war www. notesolution. com.