Class Notes (835,241)
Canada (509,043)
POL101Y1 (1,148)

Democracy and Dictatorship Lecture III

3 Pages
Unlock Document

Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Toneguzzo 1 POL101Y1: Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace PART I: Democracy and Dictatorship Lecture III – The Liberal Project  Based on the lecture by Benjamin Constant, “The Liberty of Ancients Compared with that of Moderns.” o Benjamin Constant (1767 – 1830) – Swiss born, French intellectual. o Context: French Revolution and its aftermath – social revolution. o He is considered today as a conservative but in his time he was considered a fervent liberal. o Question: how should free people govern themselves? o Most liberals argue freedom is characterized as freedom “from tyranny” – not designed to give people freedom to do anything but to give freedom from a tyrant. o In the U.S constitution there are multiple points – the Supreme Court can stop the legislation from going through – to ensure the president is not tyrant. Model Rejected: o He considers himself a modern compared to the liberty of ancients – it is participatory; freedom consisted in the act of governing and being governed; participating in life. o It was direct – when questions of the day would come up everyone would participate; they didn’t have a legislature or separate body. o When the ancients spoke of liberty/freedom they spoke of “public” not “private liberty”. o Public liberty is the freedom of the individual to do what they wish without out infringing on the rights of other individuals. o Ex. Freedom of the community – self-government – not ruled by foreigners or those that are not of the community; not ruled by a hereditary monarch. o Freedom is collective; dependent upon a class of people who didn’t engage in commerce or even work. o Household was the realm of women and slaves – divided. o Big decisions were decisions on war; what they feared the most was foreign domination – the biggest threat to their freedom as a community. o Athenian democracy was all about the reasoning citizen. o States did not exist until 1648. o Public freedom is “irrelevant” to the modern world – by extension the West. Liberty of Moderns: o Not so much “freedom to” as “freedom from” – “The fundamental sense of freedom is freedom from chains, from imprisonment, from enslavement by others.” – Isaiah Berlin. o “…be wary of any decree claiming to achieve the reconciliation of liberty and equality: it is either a lie or a tyranny.” – Isaiah Berlin. Toneguzzo 2 o Legal protections and limited government – only has a certain claim for its authority; it is not all encompassing. Our citizenship rights do not exist in a hierarchy with our private rights – they are all in peace. o Freedom is individual rather than communal. o All driven by “commerce” and private property instead of war; society should be based on commerce and all conceptions of liberty should follow from this notion; the fundamental distinction from the ancients. o When we use the word constitution – essentially been a contract between government and people that limits the power of the government. o We cannot choose our own constitution but we can change out constitution. o Libertarians argue over equality of opportunity. Contradictions of Constant: o Modern is better both than ancient liberty and pre-modern “despotism” (French Kings). o Modern’s care more about “freedom from”; we prefer “representative” to “direct government” that just leaves us alone to be content and attain wealth. o BUT he hedges his bets at the end of the lecture – Constant believes that “freedom from” isn’t enough. o Liberty of the ancients creeps back in through modern notions of
More Less

Related notes for POL101Y1

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.