Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter two: That the Circumscription of Political Authority, within Its Precise Limits, Does Not Tend to Weaken the Necessary Action of the Government - Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments
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chapter two: That the Circumscription of Political Authority, within Its Precise Limits, Does Not Tend to Weaken the Necessary Action of the Government - 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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That the Circumscription of Political Authority, within Its Precise Limits, Does Not Tend to Weaken the Necessary Action of the Government
The circumscription of political authority, within its precise limits, does not tend to weaken that necessary authority. On the contrary, it gives it the only real strength it can have. The jurisdiction of authority must be scrupulously limited; but once that jurisdiction is fixed, it must be so organized as always to be capable of attaining swiftly and completely all the purposes within its remit. Freedom gains everything from the government’s being severely confined within the bounds of its legitimacy; but it gains nothing from government’s being feeble within those bounds.
The weakness of any part of government whatsoever is always an evil. That weakness in no way diminishes the drawbacks to be feared, and it destroys the advantages to be hoped for. In loosening public safeguards it places absolutely no obstacles to usurpation, since usurpation results from powers the government encroaches upon and public safeguards from powers which belong to it legitimately. Now, in weakening government, you force it to encroach. Unable to attain its necessary purposes with the means which belong to it, in order to attain them it has recourse to means it usurps, and from that usurpation, so to speak forced, to spontaneous usurpation, boundless usurpation, there is but a single step. If you extend government to everything, however, lovers of freedom and all independent men, that is to say everything on earth which has some value, will not be able to submit to such an idea. They would readily have accepted that the government be all-powerful within  its jurisdiction; but constantly finding it transgressing that jurisdiction, they will want to diminish a power which they will not be able to limit. In that way, they will organize, as we have seen in a number of examples, governments which are too weak, and accordingly become usurpatory. It is quite unnecessary to sacrifice the least part of the principles of freedom for the organization of legitimate and sufficient government authority. The principles coexist with this authority, both protecting it and protected by it; for they stand against the possibility that factions may overthrow it, by laying claim to these rights of society, opposed to those of individuals, these axioms of unlimited sovereignty, this despotism of the so-called general will, in a word, this popular power without limits, dogmas which are the pretext for all our upheavals and which have been represented as principles of freedom, while they are precisely the opposite.
The principles of freedom, such as we have defined them, are useful and necessary to everybody, for they preserve the rights of all people as individuals, those of society and those of government. These principles are the sole lasting means of real happiness, of assured peace, of ordered activity, of improvement, of tranquillity and durability.