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Brazilian Political Science Review

versão On-line ISSN 1981-3821


FALCAO, Luís. Benjamin Constant and the Combination of the Freedom of the Ancients with that of the Moderns. Bras. Political Sci. Rev. [online]. 2020, vol.14, n.2, e0007.  Epub 25-Set-2020. ISSN 1981-3821.

The genesis of this article may be found in Benjamin Constant’s assertion, at the end of ‘The Liberty of Ancients Compared with that of Moderns’, that freedoms must be combined before they can be separated. Possible means to bring about such a union may be found in his works. First, he examines the need for action on the part of citizens and how such action could occur in modern conditions, both from the point of view of the individual and of class. The second part of the text analyzes how moral sentiment, patriotism and well-understood interests are the central components of a union that would guide both action and participation. The formal dimension of the combination of freedoms within institutions is explored, as well as the theoretical aspects of neutral republican power as contrasted with its monarchical counterpart. I conclude that, despite modern and liberal constraints, Constant does not completely abandon the republican tradition, expressed in the active life of citizen and institutions, in the fight against arbitrariness and in the defense of collective self-government by means of laws. This leads us to the observation that the neo-republican view of Constant as insensitive to participation in modernity is gravely limited.

Palavras-chave : Benjamin Constant; freedom; citizenship; participation; interest.

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