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Political Writings

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  49 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
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 f ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Cambridge University Press (first published November 10th 1988)
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Nicholas Bobbitt
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
As a book I was assigned for class, it's certainly not the worst, but it does nothing to stand out in my mind. I did not enjoy his writing style but I certainly found less issue with it than I did with Burke. The common thread with many European philosophes is necessarily coming across as important and that you know more than your audience, but I'd rather not be spoken to through a book in a condescending manner. At least it's not a bloody letter and is actually organized, despite its repetitive ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Good stuff, I really like the commentary about the different kinds of liberty (ancient and "modern").
Craig Bolton
Constant: Political Writings (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) by Benjamin Constant (1988)
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Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque was a Swiss-born, nobleman, thinker, writer and French politician.

Constant was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, to descendants of noble Huguenots who fled France during the Huguenot wars in the early 16th century to settle in Lausanne. He was educated by private tutors and at the University of Erlangen, Bavaria, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. In the co
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“There is indeed in the contemplation of beauty of any kind, something which detaches us from ourselves by making us feel that perfection is worth more than we are; and that, through this conviction, by inspiring us with a momentary disinterestedness, awakens in us the power of sacrifice, which is the source of all virtues. There is in emotion, whatever its cause, something which makes our blood flow faster, which communicates to us a kind of wellbeing which doubles the sense of our existence and our powers, and that, by doing so, renders us capable of a greater generosity, courage, or sympathy, than we normally feel. Even a corrupt man is better when he is moved and as long as he is moved.” 1 likes
“Consoler of our misery, religion is at the same time the most natural of our emotions. Unknown to us, all our physical sensations, all our moral feelings, awake it in our hearts. All that appears to us without limits, and that generates the notion of immensity - the sight of the sky, the silence of the night, the vast extent of the seas- all that leads us to tenderness or to enthusiasm - the consciousness of a virtuous action, of a generous sacrifice, of a danger bravely confronted, of the pain of another aided or comforted - all that stirs up in the depths our soul the primitive elements of our nature - the contempt for vice, the hatred of tyranny - feed our religious feeling.
This feeling is intimately connected with all the noble, delicate and deep passions. Kike all these passions, it has something mysterious about it: for common reason cannot satisfactorily explain any of these passions.”
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