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POL101- Lecture 3: Constant and the Rise of Liberalism

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Constant and the Rise of Liberalism 9/23/2013 9:12:00 AM 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? French Revolution 1789-99 Two kinds of freedom 1. Freedom “from tyranny” 2. Freedom to “pursue your life” Model Rejected  Liberty of Ancients:  Participation directly in legislation/government o Directly involved (BUT, not anyone can be a citizen)  Public, not private o Your political unit would not be dominated by someone else  Freedom of the community—self government  Freedom is collective  Dependent upon a class of people who didn’t engage in commerce or even work  Big decisions were decisions on war  Free to do stuff o To rule and be ruled Liberty of theModerns  Freedom “from”  Not so much “freedom to” as “freedom from”  Legal protections  Limited government  Freedom is individual rather than communal o Individual rights  All driven by “commerce” and private property instead of war o Commerce gets us further than war o Constructing a society favorable to trade/commerce o Business center
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