Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter one: On Arbitrary Measures and Why People Have Always Protested Less About Them Than about Attacks on Property - Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments
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chapter one: On Arbitrary Measures and Why People Have Always Protested Less About Them Than about Attacks on Property - Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments 
Principles of Politics Applicable to a all Governments, trans. Dennis O’Keeffe, ed. Etienne Hofmann, Introduction by Nicholas Capaldi (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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On Arbitrary Measures and Why People Have Always Protested Less About Them Than about Attacks on Property
Governments which make no claim to be free escape some of the disadvantages of the proliferation of laws, by recourse to arbitrary measures. One by one these measures press only on isolated individuals, and though they threaten all citizens, the majority of those so threatened delude themselves about the danger that hangs over their heads unnoticed. Hence it happens that under governments which make only a moderate use of arbitrary measures, life seems at first more pleasant than in republics which harass their citizens with proliferating and irritating laws. Moreover it takes a degree of reflection, it takes accurate understanding and farsighted reason, such as develops only out of habituation to freedom itself, to perceive, right from the start, and in a single arbitrary act, all the consequences of this terrible expedient.
One of the characteristics of our nation is that it has never attached enough importance to individual security. To imprison a citizen arbitrarily, to hold him indefinitely in jail, to separate him from his wife and children, to shatter his social life, to upset his economic plans: all this has always seemed to us quite a simple set of measures, at the least excusable. When these measures hurt us or things dear to us, we complain, but about the mistake rather than the injustice. Indeed, rather few men in the long history of our various oppressions have earned for themselves the easily gained credit of protesting on behalf of those in different situations from themselves.
It has been pointed out that M. de Montesquieu, who vigorously defends the rights of individual property even against the State’s own interests, is much cooler in his treatment of individual freedoms,1 as if people were less sacred than  goods. There is a straightforward reason in the case of a preoccupied and egotistical people for the fact that the rights of individual freedom are less well protected than those of property. The man whose liberty is removed is disarmed by this very fact, while the man who is stripped of his property retains his freedom to demand it back. Thus freedom is never defended except by the friends of an oppressed person, while property is defended by the oppressed person himself. One can see that the intensity of the claims is likely to differ as between the two cases.
[1. ]A reference to Livre XXVI, Ch. 15 of De l’esprit des lois, in which Montesquieu says: “It is false reasoning to say that the individual good must yield to the public good: that holds only when what is at issue is the authority of the state, that is to say, the liberty of the citizen. This is not what happens in those cases when the issue is the ownership of goods, because the public good is always that everyone shall invariably keep possession of the property which the civil laws allow.” Ed. cit., p. 716.