Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter two: The Natural Division of the Inhabitants of the Same Territory into Two Classes - Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments
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chapter two: The Natural Division of the Inhabitants of the Same Territory into Two Classes - 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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The Natural Division of the Inhabitants of the Same Territory into Two Classes
No nation has regarded all the individuals living in its territory, in whatever way this might be, as members of the political association. This is not a question of arbitrary distinctions, such as among the ancients separated free men from slaves, or in modern times nobles from the lowborn. The most full democracy still establishes two categories: to the one are relegated foreigners and those below the age decreed by the law for the exercise of citizenship rights. The other consists of men having reached that age and born in the country. Only the latter are members of the political association. There is therefore a principle following which, of those individuals brought together in a given territory, some are citizens and some not.
Obviously, this principle is that to be a member of the political association requires a certain degree of informed outlook and common interests with the other members. Men below the legal age lack this degree of informed outlook. Foreigners are not capable of being guided by that common interest. The proof of this is that the former, on reaching the age  the law requires, become members of the political association, while the latter do this by way of residence, ownership, or their social relationships. We take it that these things give enlightenment to the former and the required interest to the latter.
This principle, however, needs further extension. In our present societies, birth in the country and the age of majority are not enough to confer on men the qualities proper to the exercise of citizenship rights. Those whom poverty holds in endless dependence and condemns from childhood to laboring work, are neither more informed than children as to public affairs, nor have a greater stake than foreigners in a national prosperity, with whose elements they are not familiar and whose benefits they share only indirectly.
I do not wish to wrong the working class. It is no less patriotic than other classes. It is often ready for the most heroic sacrifices, and its devotion is all the more admirable in that it is neither rewarded financially nor with honor. As I see it, however, the patriotism which gives one the courage to die for one’s country is one thing, while that which makes one capable of understanding one’s interests is another. Therefore a condition beyond having been born in the country and the prescribed age is required, namely the leisure needed for developing an informed outlook and soundness of judgment. Only property secures this leisure. Only property can render men capable of exercising political rights. Only owners can be citizens. To counter this with natural equality is to be reasoning within a hypothesis inapplicable to the present state of societies. If from this idea of men’s having equal rights we go on to claim that owners must not have more extensive ones than nonowners, we will have to conclude either that all must be owners or none. For most assuredly the right to property establishes between those who have it and those bereft of it a far greater inequality than all political rights. Now, if we come to terms with so decisive an inequality, we must also accept all the further agreements indispensable to the consolidation of this first one. Only the principle is subject to doubt. Once it is admitted, its consequences are entailed. Is property necessary to the well-being and improvement of the social condition? If we adopt the affirmative, people cannot be astonished at seeing us admitting its obvious results.