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Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

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 participate  “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 work  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  These collective decisions are with us today too! BUT our parliaments deliberate other things!  Collective notions of freedom- still with us.  Ancient conception of collective liberty: ex: if USA conquered us we would not feel freedom and liberty even under a good presidential reign with freedom rights. We would consider ourselves a conquered people, this being an anc
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