Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter two: The First Difference between the Social State of the Ancients and That of Modern Times - Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments
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chapter two: The First Difference between the Social State of the Ancients and That of Modern Times - 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 First Difference between the Social State of the Ancients and That of Modern Times
It has often been observed that the ancient republics were confined within narrow limits. From this truth has been drawn a consequence which it is not within our brief to examine here, namely that a republic is impossible in a large State.2 But another consequence which has not been drawn seems to me to flow much more naturally from it. This is that States much larger than the ancient republics had to modify in quite different ways the duties of citizens, and that the degree of individual freedom could not be the same in both cases.
Each citizen in the ancient republics, circumscribed by the smallness of their territory, had great personal importance politically. The exercise of political rights there was everybody’s constant enjoyment and occupation. For example, in Athens the whole people took part in trials. Their share of sovereignty was not as in our time an abstract supposition. Their will was a real influence and  not susceptible to mendacious falsification and corrupted representation. If political power was oppressive, each citizen consoled himself with the hope of exercising it. Today the mass of citizens is called to exercise sovereignty only in illusory fashion. The people can only be slaves or free; but they are never in charge.
The happiness of the majority no longer rests in the enjoyment of power but in individual freedom. Among the ancients the extension of political power constituted the prerogative of each citizen. In modern times it consists in the sacrifices individuals make.
In the ancient republics, while the exercise of political authority was a right for all, at the same time submission to that fearsome power was also a necessity for all. The people engaged in sovereign debate in the public place. Every citizen was visible and de facto subject to that sovereignty. Today the great States have created a new guarantee, obscurity. This guarantee reduces the dependence of individuals on the nation. Now it is clear, absolutely clear, that a dependence which on the one hand gives less enjoyment and on the other can be avoided more easily is one which cannot last.
[2. ]This was on the other hand the subject of a “grand treatise” on politics, from a work abandoned in 1806, entitled “On the Possibility of a Republican Constitution in a Large Country,” of which only the Fragments remain.