Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
(?-1899)
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First Pub. Date
1881
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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1899
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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LIBERALISM

II.261.1

LIBERALISM. The word liberalism is of modern, almost of contemporary, introduction; but the thing thus designated is ancient, and springs from human nature itself, and from the very best roots of this nature, reason and benevolence. The word is complex, and admits of different acceptations, all of which, however, imply a certain loftiness of views and generosity of sentiment, and are based upon the idea that humanity, of itself and of its own dignity, by reason of its self-reliance and the capability and right which it claims of liberty and self-government, without, however, imagining itself infallible, can be enlightened by discussion, and improved by the very experience of its errors.

II.261.2

—Liberalism is the consciousness which a free man has of his rights, and of his duties as well; it is respect for and practice of liberty; it is toleration and freedom. "Live and let live" might be taken as its motto, but on condition that there be attached thereto no idea of skepticism or indifference, for liberalism professes one faith, faith in progress, the conviction that liberty is good, and tends to good, that truth is reached by discussion, and that indefinite improvement is the natural movement of humanity.

II.261.3

—In individuals we can distinguish a liberal temperament, a liberal spirit, and a liberal character. A liberal temperament is a spontaneous disposition to benevolence, generosity and equity; it may be either natural or acquired. A liberal mind necessarily implies a certain amount of education and instruction; such a mind is frank, well-balanced, is master of itself, and concedes to the reason of other men the rights it claims for its own. A liberal character results from the combination of a liberal temperament and a liberal mind; it puts liberalism into practice; it converts into acts the suggestions of sentiment and the orders of reason. Its rule of conduct is, "Do not to others what you would not they should do to you." The true and consistent liberal is the man who demands liberty even for his opponents, with the clear understanding, of course, that he reserves all rights of legitimate defense.

II.261.4

—There have always existed, among nations more or less refined, different shades and grades of liberal minds, characters, and professors of liberal sentiments. Still they have usually formed but exceptions to the general rule, and have been found only among very great minds.

II.261.5

—Society is liberal when it forbids preventive precautions in everything affecting individual free will, and makes use of repression no more than is absolutely necessary. Therefore is it that the mollification of the penal laws always goes hand in hand with the progress of liberalism. A religion is liberal when it does not excommunicate all other religions, and more liberal still when it urges, heals and strengthens consciences, instead of enslaving or weakening them. Christianity (see the article under this caption), though liberal in its principles, has in history shown itself in turn liberal and oppressive. A state is liberal when it respects the individual and collective acts of citizens as far as they do not encroach upon its own lawful rights, for the state also claims liberty for itself. But in the liberalism of states as well as in that of individuals there are degrees. Before the full bloom come the germs and the first development. There may be a certain liberalism even in what appears to be thoroughly illiberal. A religion intolerant in its principles may be to a certain extent tolerant, that is, liberal, in its practice. An absolute government may be relatively more or less liberal; it manifests a little of this liberality if it does not carry the exercise of its power to excess, and, by benevolence or calculation, allows a certain scope to the liberty of its subjects and to their manifestations of opinion; it is still more liberal if it encourages and extends education, or if it makes use of its power to introduce into its institutions motu proprio, liberty or the conditions of liberty. Thus, in our own time, the emancipation of the serfs of Russia was a liberal act of very great importance performed by an absolute government.

II.261.6

—On the other hand, a republic may not be liberal, although the republican form of government is in theory the ideal of self-government; it is not liberal if it does not guarantee its citizens their liberty, or if it allows the minority to be deprived of their liberty, or even restricted in its enjoyment by the majority, or if, finally, the greater part of those who are called to share in the government are incapable of such participation by their lack of education and of independence. In this last case, moreover, a republican state can scarcely live; the élite of the nation are swallowed up in the multitude, and the multitude, incapable of governing itself, voluntarily abandons its personality to a master. Democracy, if lacking in liberal capacity, is always on the very brink of Cæsarism: the history of Rome and of some other countries is proof of this.

II.261.7

—Thus we perceive that we must distinguish between a liberal and a democratic spirit. The two are often confounded, and are in fact often found participating together in great political movements, just as they were, for example, in the French revolution. But they can always be distinguished. Democracy attaches itself to a form of government; liberalism, to liberty and the guarantees of liberty. The two may agree; they are not contradictory, but neither are they identical, nor necessarily connected. In the moral order, liberalism is the liberty to think, recognized and practiced. This is primordial liberalism, as the liberty to think is itself the first and noblest of liberties. Man would not be free in any degree or in any sphere of action, if he were not a thinking being endowed with consciousness. The freedom of worship, the freedom of education and the freedom of the press are derived the most directly from the freedom to think. In the economic order, liberalism is the recognition of the freedom of labor and of all the liberties which pertain thereto, including the right of property, which is the legitimate extension of human personality. In the political order, liberalism consists, first of all, in the pursuit of the guarantees of liberty. It does not admit that men are bound, when they associate themselves together and create a political society, to sacrifice some portion of their individual liberty. Its idea of the social contract is quite different; liberalism regards it as an association of all in order to assure to each his individual liberty. Only it does not confound this liberty with arbitrary power, nor with the right to encroach upon the liberty of others. The liberty which it intends to guarantee is that which is suited to reasonable beings, capable of restraining and governing themselves, and it is precisely with a view to guaranteeing this liberty that it demands laws against license, arbitrary power and encroachments of all kinds, including those made by the state. Its chief desire is to surround the personal liberty of citizens with the strongest safeguards, so as to preserve it against every assault. This is the essential point, and it is not without reason that the English consider habeas corpus the very corner stone of their constitution. The right of assembly and association may be considered as an appendix of individual liberty, and should be inviolable, provided it does not aim at the subversion of the state.

II.261.8

—The chief guarantee of liberty of every kind is to be found in the constitutional limitation of the power of the state, and in the reciprocal balance of the constituted powers. Liberalism does not, however, any longer put absolute faith in Montesquieu's celebrated formula on the separation of the powers. In constitutional monarchies the executive power and the legislative power are separated merely by an abstraction; in fact, they are united and fused in the person of the responsible counselors of the crown, who are nothing more than delegates of the national representative assembly. The separation of the judicial power from the other branches of the administration is much more important, for the independence of the bench can not be too firmly established. The division of national representation into two chambers is likewise considered an almost essential condition of a liberal government. Liberalism loves to multiply the counterpoises and elements of resistance and equilibrium. The democratic spirit, on the contrary, is a leveling one.

II.261.9

—Another difference between the liberal spirit and the democratic spirit is, that the right to dispose of one's self, which is individual liberty, does not necessarily imply, according to the liberal doctrine, the right to dispose of the state, that is, to govern the state. Liberalism desires control and discussion; it desires also the progressive extension of political rights and the greater and greater participation of the citizens in the government, but it does not at all admit a priori the principle of the government of all by all, which is the aim par excellence of democracy. What it considers most important is, that the citizens should be free, and guaranteed their freedom; in other words, to obtain a maximum of liberty under a minimum of government. It desires that citizens should be masters of their persons and of their affairs, but it admits them to the management of the affairs of the nation only by reason of certain or at least presumed titles. Democracy considers only the right, while liberalism takes into account capacity also. Democracy desires to realize all at once an absolute ideal; liberalism does not recognize this ideal, but it tends to it by successive steps: it is just, in principle, that all should share in the administration of public affairs, but it is not always politic to allow it in practice. Democracy demands absolute equality; liberalism does not absolutely reject a distinction of classes, provided these classes are not exclusive castes. Democracy is revolutionary; liberalism is rather reformatory: it willingly respects historical facts, and does not crush those who oppose and refuse to submit to it, except when this is necessary to defend itself. But it must be active and vigilant, and be ever on the watch for possible and opportune reforms, if it does not wish to be outstripped by the eagerness of the democratic spirit. Democracy neither procrastinates nor reflects; it proceeds by bounds; and liberalism may find itself outstripped if it be at all sluggish. In this case it does not protest against accomplished facts, for it is no more reactionary than revolutionary; but it endeavors, by means of education, to fully instruct its citizens in the rights which they have prematurely acquired, and even under the very reign of democracy it preserves its peculiar character and its raison d'être. It knows that democracy can not develop and last except by becoming liberal, and it makes it its duty to render it liberal. The last word of pure democracy is the imperative mandate which is founded upon the false hypothesis of the equal capacity of all, and upon the idea—entirely logical if considered from the point of view of the absolute sovereignty of the people—of the superiority of the governing body over those who are governed. Liberalism never allows the imperative mandate; it does not imagine that all those who have the right to vote are able to govern; it merely recognizes in them the ability to determine who appear to them capable of taking part in the government. It considers election as an homage paid to superiority, and the representative form of government as the government of the nation by the most worthy, who have been chosen for this very reason by their fellow-citizens. A democracy which carries its logic as far as the imperative mandate, and adheres to it, can not last, for it is contrary to the nature of things, which will always avenge itself if it be not respected.

II.261.10

—Democracy tends necessarily to a republican form of government; liberalism is not averse to it, and does not desire its downfall when it is established. But it also accommodates itself very well to a constitutional monarchy, and it does not even occupy itself with the famous question, why does the king reign and not govern? This question, which has so frequently been made the subject of controversy, is wrongly formulated and entirely idle. The prince should not, and if he understand his own interests will not, organize a secret government, a camarilla behind his cabinet; but from the moment he consults with his ministers he shares in the government, and his share in it is exactly proportioned to his faculties and to his influence. Whether he persuade his ministers to carry out his plans, or be persuaded to acquiesce in theirs, does not concern any one, since the cabinet assumes the responsibility of the government before the national representatives. The true head of the government, whether prince or premier, will always be he whose genius renders him superior to the rest. The true formula of constitutional monarchy is the undivided administration of the government by the crown and the national representatives. The division of influence among those who exercise power is a matter to be determined by talent and authority, and not by formulas. Sir Robert Peel, king of England, would have brought about commercial reform quite as easily as Sir Robert Peel, prime minister, for he would easily have found ministers to serve him and a majority to support them, if public opinion were in his favor. The only difference between a constitutional sovereign and a despot is, that the former can not govern in opposition to public opinion; he may anticipate it or follow it, but he can not oppose it; and the only restriction placed upon him is, that he must abandon his own opinion when this opinion is found not to be in accord with the general opinion, and to change his responsible counselors when his cabinet has fallen into the minority. The duty of parliamentary government is not, as is commonly believed, to rob the sovereign for the benefit of his ministers; but it is always to confer power upon the most worthy, that is to say, upon the man who best expresses the sentiment of the nation and best answers the general needs of the moment. If the sovereign is most worthy, he rules his ministers; he both reigns and governs; if he is not the most worthy, his ministers, who have been elevated to power by public opinion, supply his place and govern him; he does not govern, and reigns only nominally.

II.261.11

—The essential thing, from a liberal point of view, is that the state occupy itself only about the general interests, and that these interests be regulated conformably to the general opinion. Under a monarchical form of government the predominance of public opinion is assured by means of the ministerial responsibility; in a republic, by the limited duration of the executive power. Liberalism equally accepts both these forms of government, and moreover, without overlooking the logical superiority of the second, it plainly admits the relative and historical reasons which may in many circumstances prevent it from prevailing over the first. It judges that the almost infallible selection by which the leaders of parties rise to power in a constitutional monarchy afford surer guarantees than the republican election which always admits of some intrigue, and which does not always give power to the most capable, as has been frequently proven by the presidential elections of the United States. But liberalism is never exclusive; it understands monarchical England as well as the republican United States, and explains the reasons which account for the continuance of monarchy in England, and those which have produced from the same race, upon American soil, a successful republic. But it does not understand a monarchy without ministerial responsibility, any more than it would understand a republic with an executive power whose term of office would be unlimited. In a republic the ministers should not be held responsible, since he by whom they are appointed periodically submits his administration to the verdict of the nation. In a monarchy they ought always to hold office at the discretion of public opinion, for the simple reason that the head of the government is never submitted to this opinion.

II.261.12

—Liberalism, although it has the same end in view as the democratic spirit, differs from it both in its philosophical belief and in its methods of procedure. It is, for still stronger reasons, opposed to socialism, which is an exaggeration of democracy. Socialism desires social equality, which is a chimera, and the methods which it imagines, would be, could they be made successful, outrages upon both liberty and property. It does not agree with liberalism upon any point; it ignores or overlooks the organic laws of progress and even the conditions of human nature. Liberalism must, therefore, of necessity, combat socialism whenever it meets with it; it can not enter into its spirit; it can not give it any direct satisfaction; but it is nevertheless forced to admit that socialism, along with much ignorance, allows of a certain amount of lawful aspirations, for it responds to the instinctive feeling of justice and the desire of happiness which are equally inborn in all of us, but to which mankind should resolve to grant only partial satisfaction although more and more approximative. Life, although constantly facilitated and bettered, will always be a struggle for liberalism; but equity, and still more, prudence, bind it not to compromise with socialism, which it could never do, but to watch it and disarm it as much as possible, on the one hand by enlightening it, on the other by applying itself to the economic reforms and social improvements which are compatible with the natural laws of progress. Everything that favors education, labor, economy and the acquisition of property, is liberal. Liberalism is not merely an affair of legislation, it is also and especially a matter of individual initiative. The characteristic principle of liberalism is not to expect anything from the state, but to require a great deal of activity and foresight of the citizens themselves.

II.261.13

—We must also call attention to the fact that the liberalism of a society may not be in exact keeping with its legislation. It may happen that there will be more liberalism in the public manners than in the laws. Thus in our times the almost unrestricted liberty which the press enjoys in England is more an affair of manners than of legislation. There are restrictive laws, but general tolerance on the one hand, and the moderation of the writers themselves on the other, have caused them to fall into disuse. This latter point is essential. A free mind may, if it is generous, go beyond its duty, but should never exceed its rights, and frequently it is not even prudent to do all that it lawfully may. Thus it will secure its own liberty without ever restricting that of others.

II.261.14

—We will conclude this brief theoretic exposé with some historical data.

II.261.15

—As we have already said, the liberal spirit has always been present and active in the civilized world. In antiquity Solon was a legislator more liberal than democratic; Cicero was a publicist and a liberal statesman. Most of the republics of classical antiquity began with a liberal and well-balanced republic, to turn from that to pure democracy, and fall at last into demagogy, and thence to princely rule, tyranny and Cæsarism. The liberalism of antiquity, however, was marked by the same essential traits as that of modern times. It conceded, especially among the Romans, less to the individual and more to the state. Individual property is to-day more extended, more distinct also and better determined. The modern individual feels that he has rights and relations entirely independent of the state. This change is due in great part to Christianity. Besides, the institution of slavery in ancient times made liberty, even the most elementary, the privilege of the few; and labor, which we honor in itself and in its results, was considered as degrading and servile. From antiquity have come down to us these altogether aristocratic expressions: liberal education, that is, education worthy of a freeman; and the liberal arts, as opposed to the mechanical arts—an opposition founded upon the ancient prejudice against the labor of the mechanic, and which continues in our modern society without any reason for its existence and by the sole force of habit.

II.261.16

—Modern liberalism is allied by an incontestable affiliation to the reformation, whose action has by no means been restricted to the domain of religion, nor to countries that have become Protestant. The France of the eighteenth century is greatly indebted to Protestant England for her fund of ideas; Voltaire and Montesquieu both bear testimony to this fact. It is France, however, that deserves the credit of giving to liberal ideas a European extension. England alone, and two states on the continent too small to exercise any great influence, Holland and Switzerland, had at that time (in the eighteenth century) a free government and liberal institutions; but under the impulse of French philosophy, most of the absolute states of the continent, some of their own deliberate choice, others out of pure enthusiasm, or to be in the fashion, allowed themselves to be drawn more or less into the current of liberalism. Joseph II., Leopold of Tuscany, and many other princes, belonged, after their own fashion, to the liberal school. Frederick II. was an example of a liberal absolute monarch. But France, where the movement originated, presented also the most perfect and complete expression of this liberalism before the revolution, which would perhaps have provoked the revolution if Turgot's power had equaled his genius and his will.

II.261.17

—The French revolution was itself the grandest and most generous explosion of liberalism of which history makes mention. Resuming, specifying, generalizing all that the eighteenth century and the preceding ages had accomplished, attempted or partially performed, it formulated, in what are called the Principles of '89, the code of the liberal gospel of humanity. The practical result, however, but very imperfectly responded to the theory. Liberalism found itself in opposition to the formidable task which circumstances had imposed upon it, for the very reason that it is of its nature rather reformatory than revolutionary. Contrary to its original plan, the revolution was obliged to completely rebuild a crumbled political edifice and upon ideal foundations, when even if all its ideas had been correct, it would perhaps have been unable to succeed, for political constitutions can not be treated like a geometrical problem, and the concrete world will not allow abstract theory to leave it out of consideration. The constituent assembly itself failed in the construction of a constitutional monarchy, not only because of the weakness of the monarch, but especially perhaps because it adhered too closely to the letter and wished to apply too rigorously the absolute theory of Montesquieu on the division of power and the separation of the executive and the deliberative branches of the government. This was still more strikingly illustrated when the Contrat Social had gained the ascendency over l' Esprit des Lois. It was principally the influence of Rousseau, combined with false notions of the political state of the ancients, that misled the revolution. The assemblies which succeeded the constituent assembly were democratic to excess, but by no means liberal. There should, it is true, be some account taken of the pressure of circumstances.

II.261.18

—It is a noticeable fact that among the various party appellations, so numerous at the time of the revolution, that of liberalism is not found, although no designation could have better served to characterize the constituent assembly as a whole, or certain of its most eminent figures, above all, Mirabeau, who is the statesman of liberalism. par excellence. The adjective from which the substantive liberalism is derived then had only its ancient Latin and aristocratic meaning. It was not until about the time of Napoleon's first consulate that a party originated who called themselves or were called liberals; but this is not the only example afforded by history of a tendency or an opinion existing from all time, which did not receive its proper definition until a given time arrived. We have seen the word Cæsarism invented in our own day, which corresponds to an idea anterior even to the proper name from which it is derived, the idea of a democratic society, which is incapable of governing itself, and prefers despotism to anarchy. It may be said, moreover, in a general way, that all things existed, and may have even existed for a long time before they were named.

II.261.19

—The word liberal was used for the first time to designate a party, or rather only a coterie, in a wretched epigram of the poet Ecouchard Lebrun (wretched in every sense of the word); which may be freely rendered, so as to retain the point of it, as follows: What is this word "liberal" which some men of a certain calibre are constantly using, whether good or bad? It is the diminutive of liber (free). These men of a certain calibre were probably the circle of Madame de Stael and Benjamin Constant, and it is not impossible that Lebrun wished by railing at them to pay his court to the first consul. In any case, this epigram shows that it is a question rather of something new than of men of a certain calibre taken in a bad sense. Sainte-Beuve formally attributes the invention of the term liberal to Chateaubriand, but he does not produce his proofs. The word is found, it is true, in the "Genius of Christianity"; but this work did not appear until 1802, and the epigram of Lebrun appeared earlier than that. Madame de Stael also makes use of the word liberal in its new acceptation in "Coriune," which was published in 1807.

II.261.20

—The empire was not made for liberalism, nor liberalism for the empire. There existed between them a reciprocal antipathy. The liberals were to Napoleon the worst of ideologists, and found themselves in the midst of the most refractory surroundings. Individual liberty, independence of thought, control discussion; in a word, the dignity of man, which they cherished most jealously, were the very things which Napoleon could not endure. He did not possess the first atom of liberalism, but, on the contrary, discerned with marvelous penetration all that in democracy is distinct from liberalism. A very striking illustration of this is found in a letter, in which when counseling his brother Joseph, king of Naples, how to govern, he thus describes the results that he expects from the civil code: "Tell me the titles you would wish to give the duchies in your kingdom. They are but mere titles; the principal thing is the value attached to them. They must be pledged for two hundred thousand pounds of revenue. I have also required that all those bearing titles should have a house in Paris, because Paris is the centre of the whole system, and I wish to have at Paris a hundred fortunes, all of which will have grown up with the throne, and will be the only large fortunes, because they are trusts; and let those that will not be thus considered, be scattered by means of the civil code. Establish the civil code at Naples, and all that will not ally their fortunes to yours will go to ruin in a few years, and those you wish to preserve will grow strong. This is the great advantage of the civil code. * * You must establish the civil code in your kingdom; it will consolidate your power, for by its means all fortunes that are not mere trusts of the crown will crumble, and there will remain no great houses but such as are fiefs to your royal self. This it is that has ever led me to preach the civil code, this it is that induced me to establish it."

II.261.21

—The meaning of the emperor was, that the ideal and mathematical justice of the civil code incessantly crushes and destroys acquired fortunes and positions, which have always to be begun anew, and under it the liberal elements never acquire sufficient consistency to offer a check to despotism. All the families, all the citizens, are too constantly wrapped up in their own affairs to be able to devote themselves carefully, independently and disinterestedly to public affairs: their aspirations can but renew the myths of Tantalus and Sisyphus, and despotism remains master of the field. This opinion of Napoleon is not without weight, and, following an instinct which is perfectly just, a part of the contemporary liberal school, without complaining of the right of primogeniture, demand the liberty of making a will. Equal division is much more democratic, and more conformable to the rules of abstract justice, but it is contrary to liberty, it violates the principle of property and the authority of the father of the family; it is productive of evil consequences both social and political. It is beneficial to the public weal that all have not their fortune to make, and that there are persons independently situated, whose position is firm and stable, who can resist the central power. The general interests should be intrusted to those who have no need to busy themselves about their own affairs. Moreover, between equal division in the midst of the family and equal division in the more extended family of the state, there is but a difference of more and less, and no difference of principle at all.

II.261.22

—Either by a chance coincidence, or being brought over from France, the word "liberal" underwent the same change of meaning in Spain under the empire that it had undergone in France under the consulate, and was at once employed to designate a great political party, which contributed not a little to its acceptation in this sense throughout all western Europe. The Spaniards assign the year 1810 as the precise date of this change of meaning. "Consider for a moment," says Benavides, in his discourse delivered upon his reception into the royal Spanish academy, "two words of most frequent use in modern times, liberal and liberty. Down to ten years ago liberal meant generous, splendid, magnificent; all Spaniards agreed upon this signification, and no one had the least doubt upon the subject." The Spanish liberals were the authors and defenders of the constitution of 1812, which was abolished by Ferdinand VII. in 1814, reestablished in 1820, and violated anew in 1823. They are also called the constitutional party, and it is a noticeable fact that from 1815 to 1830 the words "liberal" and "constitutional" have been synonymous, not only in Spain, but also in France, and in different neighboring states. Germany, particularly in the smaller states, had her liberals. The programme of these liberal parties may be briefly said to consist in demanding constitutional guarantees where they did not exist, and defending them against reaction where they already existed. The democratic movement, properly so called, had then but little importance. The pure liberal opinion was in the ascendant, and was content with a throne surrounded with constitutional institutions. Such has long been the form of government in England; but the English liberals have not on this account been idle; they had other reforms to bring about, especially the emancipation of the Catholics and the reform of the electoral system.

II.261.23

—In France, under the restoration, one might almost say that the liberal party was the entire nation. All that were not ultra were liberal, or at least called themselves liberal, for we must add that the flag of liberalism covered all sorts of merchandise, and especially a great deal of Bonapartism. The songs of Béranger are the expression of this strange combination of legend and the empire and of the Principles of '89. There were also by the side of such liberals as Royer, Collard and Benjamin Constant, who were content with the Charte and the dynasty, on condition that the latter should not conspire against the Charte, other liberals who wanted another dynasty, or who even, like Lafayette, favored the republic. The first of these only were consistent liberals, but the ordinances of July created a case of lawful defense, which united all sections of the party in common resistance.

II.261.24

—The revolution of July was the grand triumph of liberalism, and its effects, as is well known, were not confined to France; its action was felt even in England, where it brought the liberals into power and hastened reforms. A short time before the year 1848, an impartial witness, de Nesselrode, proved that the position of France in Europe had never been stronger than under the monarchy of July and under the influence of liberal ideas. Unfortunately, victorious liberalism was wanting in grandeur and in self-confidence. It became narrow and timid. The electoral ground, that is to say, the legally recognized territory, remained much too circumscribed, and those who occupied it shut themselves up in it as in a citadel. Liberalism appeared immovable and sterile, the democratic movement took the ascendant, and the governing class expiated its inertness and its lack of foresight by the revolution of 1848.

II.261.25

—But liberalism, although overthrown and worsted, did not on this account lose its raison d'être. It had never been able to raise any objections to universal suffrage but such as were based upon considerations of its inopportunity. Now that universal suffrage has got in the advance of it, its task should be to pursue and overtake it. In other words, a liberal government, the liberal party, liberal minds, should apply themselves above all things to instruct, enlighten and elevate universal suffrage; in a word, to arm it with the capacity requisite to the proper fulfillment of its duties.

II.261.26

—European liberalism will never admit that universal suffrage is infallible, nor that it is the form or the supreme guarantee of liberty, nor that a republic is the only good form of government. It professes, on the contrary, and always will profess that forms may vary according to historical data, and that the interests of liberty are not always directly and necessarily best served in proportion to the number of voters. But universal suffrage once established, it will put aside as illusory and dangerous every thought of reaction or restriction, just as it does under a monarchy; it will reject the expedient of revolution, because it does not wish to try the unknown. But it will not be content with words; it will demand liberty and the guarantees of liberty of the republic, just as it demanded them of the monarchy it will demand that the state be confined to its lawful limits, and it will not consider the despotism of a convention any better than the despotism of an individual. Contrary to the absolute logic of democracy, it will prefer two chambers of deputies to one single assembly, provided always that it find elements sufficient for a double assembly. In default of such an institution, it would seek other means of establishing an equilibrium, for it knows that a power without a counterbalance necessarily becomes absolute.

A. NEFFTZER.

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