How Is Modern Liberty Compared To The Ancients Compared With That Of The Moderns

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In his writing “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns,” Benjamin Constant claims that “modern liberty” is impossible to achieve in a pre-commercial society due to the different needs and mindsets of the people. He defends his stance by enlightening his reader on the mindset of the ancient societies and how they differ from the word today. As he suggests, it is unlikely that an ancient population would be able to adopt the modern freedoms or mindsets.
Constant states: “Representative government is a modern discovery, and you will see that the condition of the human race in antiquity made it impossible then for such an institution to be introduced or established. The ancient peoples couldn’t feel the need for it, or appreciate its advantages.” Their social organization led them to want a kind of freedom variously different from what representative government grants to us. The focus of liberty in the ancient times was on the collective body of people. To them, the freedom of their nation was more important than their freedom as an individual. “The aim of the ancients was to share social power among the citizens of a single country; that’s what they called ‘liberty’. The aim of the moderns is to be secure in their private benefits; and ‘liberty’ is their name for the guarantees accorded by institutions to these benefits.” In saying this, Benjamin Constant further solidifies his position that the ancient population was less dependent on their individual
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