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Constant: Political Writings

Constant: Political Writings

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Part of Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought

  • Date Published: November 1988
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521316323

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About the Authors
  • The first English translation of the major political works of Benjamin Constant (1767-1830), one of the most important of the French political figures in the aftermath of the revolution of 1789, and a leading member of the liberal opposition to Napoleon and later to the restored Bourbon monarchy. The texts included in this volume are widely regarded as one of the classic formulations of modern liberal doctrine.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1988
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521316323
    • length: 366 pages
    • dimensions: 215 x 139 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Bibliographical note
    Preface to the first edition
    Preface to the third edition
    Foreword to the fourth edition
    Part I. The Spirit of Conquest:
    1. The virtues compatible with war at given stages of social development
    2. The character of modern nations in relation to war
    3. The spirit of conquest in the present condition of Europe
    4. Of a military race acting on self-interest alone
    5. A further reason for the deterioration of the military class within the system of conquest
    6. The influence of this military spirit upon the internal condition of nations
    7. A further drawback of the formation of this military spirit
    8. The effect of a conquering government upon the mass of the nation
    9. Means of coercion necessary to supplement upon the mass of the nation
    10. Further drawbacks of the system of warfare for enlightenment and the educated class
    11. The point of view from which a conquering nation today would regard its own successes
    12. Effect of these successes upon the conquered peoples
    13. On uniformity
    14. The inevitable end to the successes of a conquering nation
    15. Results of the system of warfare in the present age
    Part II. Usurpation:
    1. The specific aim of the comparison between usurpation and monarchy
    2. Differences between usurpation and monarchy
    3. One respect in which usurpation is more hateful than absolute despotism
    4. Usurpation cannot survive in this period of our civilisation
    5. Can usurpation not be maintained by force?
    6. The kind of liberty offered to men at the end of the last century
    7. The modern imitators of the republics of antiquity
    8. The means employed to give to the moderns the liberty of the ancients
    9. Does the aversion of the moderns for this pretended liberty imply that they love despotism?
    10. A sophism in favour of arbitrary power excercised by one man
    11. The effects of arbitrary power upon intellectual progress
    12. Religion under arbitrary power
    13. Men's inability to resign themselves voluntarily to arbitrary power in any form
    14. Despotism as a means of preserving usurpation
    15. The effect of illegal and despotism measures on regular governments themselves
    16. Implications of the preceding considerations in relation to despotism
    17. Causes which make despotism particularly impossible at this age of our civilisation
    18. As usurpation cannot be maintained through despotism, since in our days despotism itself cannot last, usurpation has no chance of enduring
    Additions to The spirit of conquest and usurpation
    Bibliographical note

  • Author

    Benjamin Constant

    Editor and Translator

    Biancamaria Fontana

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