Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
POLITICAL SCIENCE is that part of social science which treats of the foundations of the state and of the principles of government. It is closely connected with political economy, or, as it is sometimes called, the science of wealth; with law, be it natural or positive, which has principally to do with the relations of citizens to one another; with history, which furnishes it with the facts of which it has need; with philosophy, and, above all, with morality, which supply it with a part of its principles. Political science is either theoretical or applied. In theory it establishes general laws, which it draws either from experience or from reason, and which are as much the generalized expression of facts as the pure conception of an ideal more or less possible of realization. As applied science, it seeks the means of reducing to practice these general principles, taking into consideration time, place, manners, resources, in a word, circumstances. We shall speak here only of theoretical political science, and our intention is not to propound any particular doctrine, but to give a summary, following the order of time, of the principal theories which the history of the science has preserved to us.
—We may divide the history of political ideas into five periods: 1, the oriental period; 2, the Græco-Latin period; 3, the middle ages and the renaissance; 4, the modern period, which extends from the sixteenth century to the time of the French revolution; 5, the contemporaneous period.
—I. The East. We may say that the east (if we except China) was never acquainted with political science. Among most eastern nations, India, Persia, Judea, politics never succeeded in separating itself from theology. But if we discard the forms which are peculiar to oriental thought, we shall find in the religious books of the east social and political theories of the highest importance. For example, the system of caste and the theocratic system; such are the two principal ideas to which Indian politics, or, to use a better expression, Brahminical politics, may be reduced. We find, in the sacred book of the "Laws of Mann," a very striking expression of these two ideas. It is said there that the four castes, into which, from all antiquity, Indian society was divided, issued from Brahma, who produced them each from a different part of his own body; the Brahmins, or priests, from his mouth; the kshatryas, or warriors, from his arm; the vaisyas, or merchants, and laborers, from his thigh; and, finally, the sudras, or servants, from his foot. The theocratic theory appears in the same book in its most insolent form. "The Brahmin," it is said there, "is the lord of all beings; all that exists is his property; it is by the generosity of the Brahmin that other men enjoy the goods of this world." The book of Manu admits, indeed, the existence of royalty, and even, with oriental hyperbole, the monarch is called therein "a great divinity"; but this divinity is the slave of the Brahmins; he is obliged to "communicate to them all his affairs, and overwhelm them with benefactions and wealth." One sole fact describes this ignominious dependence in a very striking manner: "If the king finds a treasure," it is written, "he owes half of it to the Brahmins; if the Brahmin finds one, he keeps it for himself alone, without dividing it with the king."
—The Buddhist reformation profoundly changed this social system, not because in the beginning (as Burnouf has well shown) Buddha, or Sakyamuni, attacked the system of caste; but by proclaiming religious equality, he evidently gave it a mortal blow. "My law is a law of grace for all," he said. He called, above all, beggars and vagabonds to a religious life. These principles bore their fruits. In one of the oldest Buddhist legends, the system of caste is strongly and deeply attacked: "There is not between the Brahmin and a man of another caste the difference which exists between a stone and gold, between light and darkness. The Brahmin, in fact, did not spring from the ether or the wind; he did not rend the earth to appear in the light of day; he was born from the matrix of a woman, like the chandala (the vilest of creatures, inferior to the sudra)." By its hostility to caste, Buddhism has been able to extend everywhere in Asia, and principally in China, where the people appear never to have known this system; even where castes exist still, as in Ceylon, Buddhism has destroyed the theocratic character which the system had in India, and has changed it into a military and feudal system.
—I shall say nothing of Persia, of which we know so little, except that in the Zendavesta the system of caste appears in a singularly mild form; that the priests are there rather councilors of the king than his masters; and especially that, as this religion recommended above all agriculture as a sacred duty, there resulted a noticeable change of condition for the class of laborers; for the latter were ranked among the atharnés, that is to say, great.
—It is chiefly in China that we find something analogous to what we call in the west political science; not because Confucius, the most celebrated of Chinese sages, was much engrossed with this science; but his disciple, or rather the reformer of his doctrine, two centuries after him, Mencius, was an ingenious and liberal publicist, as the following anecdote proves. He was conversing with the king of Tsi. "What must be done," he asked him, "with a friend who has badly administered our affairs?" "Break with him," said the king. "And with a magistrate who has not well fulfilled his functions?" "Remove him," said the king. "And if the provinces are badly governed, what must be done?" The king, feigning not to understand him, glanced to the right and to the left, and spoke of something else. The political theory of Mencius consisted in a sort of conciliation between divine right and the sovereignty of the people. The emperor, according to him, does not appoint his successor, but he presents him to the acceptance of Heaven and of the people; a doctrine conformable to the traditions of the sacred books of China. We know, doubtless, what becomes, in the politics of absolute governments, of this pretended acceptance by the people; it is most generally a fiction. But what is not a fiction, is the right, recognized to exist in the people by Mencius, to rid themselves of the kings with whom they are dissatisfied; a right which the Chinese people seem to have exercised more than once, if we can judge by the number of their dynasties. Moreover, Mencius himself exercised a very bold right of censure at the courts of the different princes he frequented. He attacked tyranny under all its forms, and particularly because it was a burden upon property. He showed great sagacity in pointing out the bond which united order with property; in him there was no vestige of caste or of aristocracy. He divided society into two classes: those who work with the head, and those who work with their hands, and, which is indeed the sign of a laborious and industrial society, he endeavored chiefly to show that intelligence is itself labor, and that manual labor can not be exacted from all; a manifest proof that the latter was not despised nor sacrificed, since a wise man was obliged to apologize for the former.
—However curious and new the study of the political theories of the east may be for science, these theories have had so little influence upon our destinies, or at least an influence so indirect and so little apparent, that we must pass on to Greece, that is to say, to the cradle of western civilization.
—II. Græco-Roman Period. The little space which we have at our disposal forces us to reduce political science in antiquity to three names Plato, Aristotle and Cicero.
—Nothing is more common than to consider Plato as a political dreamer, who was deceived because he did not take experience into consideration, and because he wished to construct society on an impossible basis. An important distinction must be drawn here, one without which we can not understand Plato, nor do his genius the justice which it deserves. A distinction must be drawn between utopian politics and ideal politics. The first consists in combining artificially, and by means of the imagination, the elements of which all society is composed, and thus creating an arbitrary mechanism, which has no life, no reality, no possible application, either present or future. Such are the utopias of Sir Thomas More, of Campanella, and of some of our modern reformers. Ideal politics, on the contrary, consists in forming a true idea of the state, in conceiving it in its perfection (as much so, of course, as the limits of the human mind permit), finally, in presenting to societies a model, as morality presents one to individuals. No state will ever reach that perfection, any more than any hero or any saint has ever attained or will ever attain moral perfection. But if we do not forbid morality to propose an ideal to men, why should we forbid politics to present one to peoples and to governments? Now, there is in the politics of Plato a utopian part and an ideal part. The first is dead, and will not revive; the second is eternal. It is utopism, in Plato, to consider society as divided into four stereotyped classes, like the Indian or Egyptian castes; it is utopism to believe that the state will have more unity, more harmony, more patriotism, because you have suppressed the family and property; it is utopism to have considered woman as like to man, and as capable of the same functions as man, for instance, of bearing arms and of governing the state; it is utopism to suppress the laws in the state, and to replace them by education alone; it is utopism to make philosophers the governing class, and thus to confound speculation with practice; finally, it is utopism to exclude poetry from the republic, to reduce music and the fine arts to the servile obedience of a fixed type, protected by tyranny, jealous of its arbitrary censure. But what is not utopism in Plato, is to have conceived justice as the true end of society, and to have made justice consist in the concord and harmony of the citizens. What is not utopism, whatever the politics of Machiavellism may say to the contrary, is to have asserted that the true strength of the state is virtue, and that the true principle of virtue is education. Education can not, then, replace the laws, but it is education that gives soul and spirit to the laws. For what is the use of a law which is not observed? And what can sustain the laws, if not morals? What is not utopism, moreover, in Plato, is to have perceived, before Aristotle, that it was in a well-moderated and well-balanced constitution that the only guarantee of liberty resided; to have exacted of legislators that they should give the reasons for their laws when they promulgated them; finally, to have demanded for criminals not only punishment, but amendment and amelioration.
—Still, an important element is lacking in the Platonic ideal; it is the idea of liberty. In his "Republic," Plato gives liberty no place; and if, in his dialogue of the "Laws," much wiser, as we know, if he gives it a place, it is in a certain manner despite himself and against his real feelings. This is easy of explanation. Plato had witnessed at Athens the excesses of liberty, and he had suffered from those excesses. By a natural illusion, which we have often seen again, he considered the sovereign good to lie in the very opposite of what he had witnessed near at hand, and he idealized Sparta, Crete and even Egypt, rather than appear to consider the laws and customs of his own country right; a kind of blindness habitual with the school of Socrates, and of which Xenophon is still more culpable than Plato.
—If Plato founded ideal politics (not without an admixture of utopism), Aristotle founded experimental politics. Not that there are no facts in Plato, and that Aristotle is destitute of ideality; but we must characterize each of them by his most striking traits. What there is newer and absolutely lasting in the politics of Aristotle is, first, his method; that is, the analysis of facts, the reduction of a complex whole to its elements. For example, the state is the object of politics. Now, the state is evidently a whole composed of a very great number of elements. The analysis of this whole, of its integral parts, of its divers forms, of its successive phases, is political science. Such is the method of Aristotle; it is the most rigorous, the most scientific, that can be employed. It is that which, later, all the great publicists of the experimental school followed—Machiavelli, Bodin, Montesquieu, Locke and de Tocqueville. Aristotle took so much into account the conditions of the experimental method applied to politics, that, before writing his great work, he had collected, we are told, the constitutions of 360 republics or governments, and had analyzed them in a book unfortunately lost. In them he found the materials for his political doctrine; from them he took his examples; from them, doubtless, he drew his admirable analyses of the constitutions of Sparta, of Crete and of Carthage, models of political judgment.
—We may say, also, that it is Aristotle who has fixed the frame, the great lines, the principal divisions, the principal problems, of political philosophy. The theory of sovereignty, the division of governments, the analysis and criticism of their different kinds, the theory of execution, the theory of revolutions: such are the different matters which the "Republic" of Aristotle treats of, after an introduction devoted to some questions of natural law and to a criticism of the most celebrated constitutions, real or imaginary. It is the strong sentiment of reality and the observation of the nature of things which led Aristotle to discover all the falseness of Platonic utopias, and in particular of that vain fraternity, which made of all citizens the indistinct children of unknown fathers and mothers. "It is better," says Aristotle, wittily, "to be a cousin in the actual system, than a brother in the system of Plato." He said, further, that "the affections were lost in a community, like a few drops of honey in a vast extent of water." No modern economist has recognized better than Aristotle the emptiness of that abstract and chimerical unity which absorbs the individual in the state. "It is wishing to draw harmony," says Aristotle again, "from one single chord, to have rhythm with a single measure." He shows that the suppression of property would not suppress quarrels and trials at law. There are as many quarrels between owners of goods in common as between those who have personal goods. Besides, the greatest crimes are not occasioned by the absence of possession. "Tyranny does not usurp anything for the purpose of guaranteeing itself from the inclemencies of the air."
—It is the same lively feeling of the reality and the observation of the nature of things which caused Aristotle to discover this great truth, that man is naturally born for society, or, as has been so often said, is a political animal. Without society, man would be either a god or a beast. Society is composed of families. The family is distinguished from the state, in that the state is composed of men free and equal, while the family rests upon inequality. But it is a delicate achievement of Aristotle that he distinguished conjugal power from paternal power, the first of which is, he says, more like republican power, and the second more like royal power.
—In politics, properly so called, Aristotle admirably grasped the principle of the responsibility of power. "It is not the cook," he says "it is the guest who judges the banquet." He prefers the guaranty of the law to that which rests only in the wisdom of a prince. "To demand the absolute sovereignty of a king," he says, "is to declare sovereigns both the man and the beast." While appreciating with the utmost correctness the strength and the weakness of the different governments, he pronounces, as far as he himself is concerned, in favor of government by the middle classes. According to him, the great do not know how to obey, and the low do not know how to command. Both always wish to be tyrants. The middle classes, leaning as much to one side as to the other, hold alternately in check these two natural enemies, the nobility and the people. It is here, in fact, in the natural hostility of the rich and the poor, of the strong and the weak, of the great and the people, that Aristotle sees the principle of all revolution. The one party desires inequality everywhere, even where it is unjust; the other wishes equality everywhere, even where it is absurd and impossible; and hence all states toss about between arbitrary inequality and a violent equality. Hence, the revolts of the people in aristocracies and of the great in democracies. The advice given by Aristotle, to escape these dangers, is that no government should abuse its principle. Democracy perishes by the excess of democratic institutions. And so with monarchy and oligarchy. On the contrary, the people, in democracies, should appear occupied only with the interest of the rich; and, in oligarchies, the great should have in view only the interest of the people. Even in tyrannies, power can not exist, except on the condition of its being moderate. All these principles, so sensible, so practical, so frequently proven, are summed up in the excellent maxim of eternal application, "Authority is more lasting in proportion as it is less extended."
—But if the method of observation and of experience revealed to Aristotle so many remarkable and profound laws, it unfortunately also contributed to close his eyes to one of the greatest injustices of ancient society, to slavery. Always preoccupied with the finding of the reason of facts, and much less with weighing the justice of them, Aristotle sought to explain slavery; and in explaining it, he justified it. He was rather inclined to extend than to restrain the practice of it, for he lays it down as a principle that there are two classes of men; one made to obey, and the other to command. The former are the slaves, the latter freemen. It is not war, nor law, nor covenant, which makes slavery; it is nature. And if we ask Aristotle who are the men that nature has thus condemned to slavery, he answers that they are those who are good only for manual labor; he seems to believe that nature herself designed them to be slaves by giving them an entirely material vigor, necessary for the coarser work of society, while she reserved for freemen nobility and beauty. It often happens, however, that there are men who have only the body of the freeman, while others have only his soul. It is easy, therefore, to be deceived.
—Contempt for manual labor is the greatest prejudice we meet with in the politics of Aristotle. He even goes so far that he has attempted to confound the laborer with the slave, and in more than one place he divides society into two classes: the freemen, who have the necessary leisure to devote themselves to war, politics and philosophy; and the artisans, or slaves, who produce the means of subsistence for the former. A free society, that is to say, an imperceptible oligarchy, maintained by a slave society, that is to say, by the mass of men—such is Aristotle's ideal. Nevertheless, if we compare the politics of the latter with Plato's, it can not be denied that it is more true, more sensible and more practical than Plato's.
—Cicero is not an original publicist; and the Romans, great politicians in practice as they were, did not produce in this respect great theorizers. Still, it is in Cicero that we find best developed that great idea of a mixed government which was the hope and the desire of many sages, until it found realization in the English constitution. After having set forth and compared the advantages and inconveniences of the different forms of government, Cicero decides in favor of a mixed government, or of a supreme and royal power, united to the authority of a distinguished class, and to a certain liberty of the people, which satisfies both the demands of order and those of equality that exist together in human nature. This government would be the most stable of all, because of its moderation and temperament. It is the condition of all that is temperate to last a long time, "and extremes are readily changed to their contraries." Cicero, following the example of Polybius, believed that the Roman government was an example of a mixed and temperate government. The government at Rome was at first monarchical. Royalty, overthrown by the revolution of Brutus, reappeared, divided and diminished, under the name of the consulate. In this second period, the constitution was wholly aristocratic. A new revolution, that of Virginius, introduced the people into the government. Henceforth, the consulate, the senate, and the tribuneship of the people, accompanied by many other institutions, some aristocratic, and some popular, represented, in their union, that form of temperate government, a mixture of monarchy, aristocracy and republic, which Cicero extols as the best and most secure of all forms of government. Without contesting his opinion upon this point, we content ourselves with observing that it is only by twisting the sense of the words, that we can make the consulate pass for a monarchical institution; and that, in reality, the Roman government was never anything but an aristocratic constitution, slowly transforming itself into a democracy.
—III. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The period which extends from the end of antiquity to the middle of the middle ages, that is, to the thirteenth century, that period so great in the religious history of the human mind, has not the same importance in politics; it is only necessary to call attention, in its beginning, to Christian politics, by comparing it with Hebrew politics.
—The politics of the Hebrews, in the beginning, or at least from the time of Moses, was theocratic politics, although not sacerdotal. God was the only king, the only lord, the only proprietor of the land. It was with him that the people covenanted through the mediation of Moses. But the priests were not, as in India, the governing class. The tribe of Levi was excluded from a share in land, with the exception of certain cities which had been given to them. The priests were a family, not a caste. The priesthood extended through all the tribes, and was an instrument of unity. It had, moreover, considerable political influence, serving as an intermediary between God and the people. After Moses, power appears to have been patriarchal and democratic, concentrated only in critical moments in the hands of a military chief. The disorders which resulted from this state of things led the Hebrews to desire a monarchical government. It is probable that the priesthood little favored this institution; for we see Samuel strongly reproving the people upon this occasion, and threatening them, on the part of God, with the most frightful despotism. Still, in becoming monarchical, the government did not entirely lose its theocratic character. Consecration and anointment sufficiently prove this. The sacerdotal power continued to remain powerful; finally, outside of the established church, there were always immediate envoys of God, who, without any other title than divine inspiration, admonished the kings and held their ambition in check. These were the prophets, a sort of popular opposition, which was, however, as often directed against the people themselves as against the royal authority.
—Such were the sources at which, later, Christian politics drank. But in the beginning, like all great religious doctrines, Christianity was not political. It was an entirely moral kingdom that it wished to found; it was in this moral kingdom that the first were the last and the last first. Christ meant by this, not that it was necessary to change the social order, but that the social and political order was as nothing compared with the true order, the moral and religious order of things. But he did not ask to change anything here below. His kingdom was not of this world. The apostle Paul sums up the same ideas in these celebrated words: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be, are ordained of God." Christian politics was, therefore, in the earliest times, only the politics of obedience and of submission to the established powers. The only revolution of which it thought was the reform of souls.
—It is not our province to investigate here the social consequences of Christianity. We know the great influence it had in the greatest social fact of modern times, the abolition of slavery. We shall limit ourselves here to political doctrines. Now, one of the questions that Christian politics gave rise to, is that of the relations of church and state. We know how that question is solved in the Gospel: "Render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's." All the primitive church remained faithful to this maxim, tempered by these words of the apostle: "We ought to obey God rather than men." Later, when the state became Christian, the church showed very great power of resistance and very great ambition. We know that the whole of the middle ages was the struggle of these two powers. This struggle, which fills up history, fills up, also, all the writings of the time; on the one side the writings of the theologians, and on the other of the jurisconsults. We can scarcely give a summary of such a controversy, which has filled vast numbers of books, but we can point out the principles involved in it. It is to be remarked that in this struggle, in which were appealed to in turn the principle of the divine right of kings and the principle of the sovereignty of the people, it was chiefly the laymen or jurisconsults who appealed to the former, and the theologians to the latter. The partisans of the civil power were interested in making the origin of power flow directly from God, in order that they might not appear to hold it from the hands of the church. The church, on the contrary, was interested in demonstrating the human origin of this power, in order to rule more easily. Hinkmar, Gregory VII., Innocent III., John of Salisbury, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Giles of Rome, were the defenders of the ecclesiastical power in the middle ages. The jurisconsults Dante, Occam, and Mariel of Padua, were the principal defenders of the civil power. The thirteenth century witnessed the triumph of the theocratic school. The fourteenth century witnessed its ruin.
—But new ideas and new light are spread among the people. The reading of ancient writers, now resumed, freed the mind in every sphere. Scholasticism drooped and died; more experience, more reflection, more curiosity, gave birth to new methods and to a new language. Politics was the first of the sciences to profit by this revolution, but not without injury to morality. We have met Machiavelli.
—Machiavelli substituted in politics, for the wholly syllogistic method of the schools, the method of observation and of experience, such as we have already seen it in Aristotle. Still, there is a difference in the methods of these two great minds. In Machiavelli the method was rather empirical than really experimental. To explain: the great experimental method, as understood by Aristotle and Montesquieu, consists in gathering together, on a very large scale, the most general facts of the political order and converting them into laws. The division of governments, the division of powers, the forms and conditions of sovereignty, the laws according to which governments are formed, grow and decay—such are the objects of political science; and experience is the method which serves to discover them. Machiavelli did not seek such general results. His end was much nearer home, and was always reduced to this practical problem: How is it necessary to act under such and such circumstances? Politics, as he understood it, is less a science than an art; he gathers together tentatively certain examples, and he advises us to act after certain models, whose acts he relates. Hence, instead of general laws, founded upon the analysis of facts, he gives us precepts, founded upon examples: this is empiricism, not science.
—We know, too, what an indifference to good and evil, to justice and injustice, Machiavelli introduced into politics. Cruelty and bad faith, those weapons so familiar to the Italian politics of the fifteenth century, seemed to him most innocent, and he recommended them with the most perfect indifference. It has been said that these criminal counsels which fill the book of the "Prince" were only a feint, whose object was to render tyranny odious. But it is difficult to admit such a theory. For, in the first place, the "Prince" has by no means the character which is ascribed to it; and, besides, we find the same maxims both in the correspondence of Machiavelli and in his discourse on Titus Livius, a work infinitely superior to the "Prince" in its political bearing, and in the elevation of its ideas. Finally, Machiavellism was not only the doctrine of a man, but of a century. Machiavelli disclosed the secret of his age; and it must be avowed that there is always more or less of Machiavellism in the politics of all times. (See
—From the purely political point of view, Machiavelli seems to have two doctrines: the one popular and republican, in his "Discourse"; the other tyrannical and monarchical, in the "Prince." This contradiction is explained by the empiricism of Machiavelli, who was more occupied with studying facts and explaining ways and means, than with exposing principles. In one of these works he studies popular governments; in the other, princely governments, and particularly that of new princes. He points out what experience has taught him in regard to the means of elevating and making prosperous these two forms of government. It has been conjectured that in the book of the "Prince" he advises tyranny only in the interest of liberty: tyranny would be to him only a democratic dictatorship. It is difficult to discern this idea in the "Prince," though some passages of the "Discourse" may authorize it. Let us add that the more popular and more liberal politics of the "Discourse" appear much more conformable to the real thoughts of Machiavelli than the politics of the "Prince."
—The sixteenth century was especially a century of politics. The great religious reformation, excited by Luther, was of profit to the science of the state. When the foundations of religious belief had been submitted to examination, the time was not far off when political beliefs would have to undergo the same examination. Hence nothing is more interesting in this respect than the political writings of the sixteenth century; for the first time a bold examination was made of the foundations of the right of sovereignty; those rights of the people and of kings, which, according to Cardinal de Retz, "never accorded so well with one another as in silence," were laid bare. The Protestant schools gave the signal. Hotman in his Franco-Gallia, Hubert Languet in his Vindiciœ contra tyrannos, Buchanan in his De jure regni apud Scotos, propounded the principles of a system of politics holdly revolutionary and democratic. Hubert Languet, in particular, first brought to light the principle of contract, which was later to become so famous in the hands of another Protestant and republican, J. J. Rousseau. Before long the Catholics, drawn into the struggle, rivaled the Protestants in revolutionary ardor. They even pushed anarchical principles so far that they even authorized and defended regicide. The writings of the Jesuits, and, in particular, the celebrated De Rege of Mariana, prove this. Among all these polemical writings, which have as much excited minds as perfected science, we must single out one of the greatest monuments of political science, the République of Bodin. This book, composed almost upon the plan of Aristotle's "Politics," and which, in its vast compass, contains and sums up all the problems of politics, is remarkable for the number of its facts, of its historic examples, for its judicial and even economic knowledge, for its moral elevation and its political moderation. But we can not say that it contains truly new and original principles. What is most remarkable in it, is a very fine polemic against slavery; a polemic which was then only too timely, the discovery of America having brought about a sad increase in the evil of slavery. We must not forget to mention, finally, the eloquent appeal of L'Hospital in favor of freedom of conscience.
—IV. Modern Times. The seventeenth century scarcely produced any great publicists, save in England. For it is only where liberty exists, or at least where it is a matter of dispute, that politics acquire new light. Two names arise above all others in this strife of parties and of political schools: Hobbes, the defender of absolute power; and Locke, the heir of the doctrines of Buchanan and of Languet, and the defender of the sovereignty of the people.
—Hobbes takes as his point of departure the principle that man has the absolute right of self-preservation by all possible means; and according this same right to all men, he very logically concludes that the state of nature is a state of war of all against all. He has no difficulty in making it appear that this state is a threatening one for everybody; for the weak in the first place, who are oppressed by the strong; and then for the strong, who may be oppressed by the weak leagued against them. In this common state of disquietude the only means of guaranteeing the security of all is for each one to resign the absolute right which he has over all things, and transfer that right, with all its consequences, to a central power (prince, assembly or people), which thus becomes sovereign. The sovereign is, then, a public personage, invested, through the renunciation of their rights by the members of society, with absolute power. Hobbes is not exclusively a partisan of the power of one man. Doubtless he prefers monarchy to the other forms of government. But he admits them all; the only principle to which he holds, is the principle of absolute power, in whatever hands this power may be placed. He makes no reservation of the rights of citizens or of subjects, and he abandons them, bound hand and foot, to the absolute arbitrary power of the state.
—Such are the principles contained in the De Cive, or the "Leviathan," the most audacious pleas which have ever been written in favor of absolute power. Hobbes had witnessed the English revolution; he had taken sides with the Stuarts, and it was to defend them that he composed these vigorous but detestable works. Locke, a partisan of William of Orange, and defender of the revolution of 1688, wrote, to refute the writings of Hobbes, of Filmer, and of other apologists of absolute power, the "Essay on Civil Government," one of the best treatises on politics that we possess.
—He maintains, against Hobbes, that even in the state of nature there is a primitive, law which does not permit each to do anything, no matter what, for his self-preservation. The state of nature is nothing but the state in which men live when they have no superior to settle their differences. In this state they have none the less reciprocal rights; and if it is permitted them to use force, it is not for attack, but for defense. Among these natural rights, anterior to civil law, Locke puts in the first rank, property, which he bases upon human labor; a doctrine entirely new then, and which has since become almost hackneyed. Liberty of person and liberty of labor are also natural rights of men. Hence Locke energetically combats slavery. Finally, his conclusion is, that the civil power, far from being based upon the renunciation by the citizens of all their rights, is, on the contrary, instituted for the protection of these very rights. It has been sought to derive the civil power from the paternal power; this was the theory of Filmer, in his "Patriarcha," in which he considered all the princes of the earth as heirs of Adam. Algernon Sidney, in his "Discourse upon Government," had already refuted this strange theory. Locke shows that the paternal power itself is instituted in the interest of the children, and does not extend beyond the time when the son has become a free man at his majority. The civil power, neither resting upon force nor upon the paternal right, Locke derives from popular consent; and from this principle he draws unhesitatingly the gravest consequence which it contains, namely, the right of insurrection, which he calls the right of appeal to heaven.
—The seventeenth century was more fruitful, so far as political science was concerned, in England than in France. La politique tirée de l'Ecriture sainte, by Bossuet, is the only work of any consequence written by the pen of a Frenchman at that time. It is an apology for absolute power and for the divine right of kings. Yet, if justice is to be done to Bossuet, he must not be confounded with Hobbes. The former endeavored to distinguish arbitrary power from absolute power. He recognized certain fundamental laws, which are the natural limit of power; he excepted life and property from the absolute power which the sovereign possesses; finally, while according him all rights, he did not overlook his duties. But even with these restrictions, the politics of Bossuet is none the less among the most absolute that we know. Let us add, that he understood nothing of the freedom of conscience, and that slavery itself appeared to him to be a legitimate institution. Such were the political doctrines of France. Fenelon, indeed, was more liberal minded than Bossuet, but rather from an aristocratic than from a popular point of view.
—After Louis XIV. and after Fenelon, minds were freed little by little, and turned to the examination of religious and of political affairs. The Lettres persanes and the Lettres anglaises were the signal given by the two masters of the century, Voltaire and Montesquieu; the former submitting all things, and, in particular, penal matters, to the great freedom of his judgment, so sensible and so penetrating; the latter, after the first brilliancy of the Lettres persanes and the vigorous masterpiece, Considérations sur la grandeur et la décadence des Romains, collecting his thoughts during twenty years to raise up for political science one of its most magnificent monuments, the Esprit des lois.
—The Esprit des lois is one of the most difficult books to analyze, for it does not contain, properly speaking, any system but there is not one of its pages which is not full of sense and of profundity; we may criticise his division of governments and his theory of their principles; but what is beyond all admiration is the profound and penetrating judgment which he brings to bear upon each one of them; his analysis of monarchy, founded upon honor and upon the privileges of the intermediary bodies, is a great truth. He has perceived with genius that the suppression of the intermediary powers would lead directly to despotism or to the power of the people. Nothing can be finer than what he has written upon the corruption of governments. Finally, when he says that monarchy rests upon honor, and the republic upon virtue, he advances indeed a maxim which is subject to restriction, but the basis of which is true. What constitutes the difference between aristocratic monarchy as it existed in France in the seventeenth century, and despotism as it exists in Turkey and in the east, is, that the power which is not limited by the laws is necessarily limited by manners and customs. It will be said that in Turkey even there are manners and customs which limit the empire of the sovereign. But that only proves that nowhere, not even in Turkey, is there absolute despotism. As for the principle of virtue, it is perfectly clear that popular governments have more need of it than other governments. Read, for example, the chapters of Montesquieu upon the corruption of democracies, and you will see what difficult duties await citizens the day they wish to be free. We learn there that the love of equality becomes the ruin of equality itself, if it does not know how to confine itself within its true limits; if, not content to be equal as citizens, we wish to be so also as sons and as brothers, as young and as old, as subjects and as magistrates. We learn also how obedience to the law is necessary in a country in which the law is made by the citizens themselves. We may find that Montesquieu yields too much to ancient prejudices, in considering frugality necessary in democracies: but it must be granted him that a certain sobriety, a certain moderation in enjoyment, is one of the guarantees of liberty; and that where the disordinate love of the pleasures of the senses rules, the country and the law run the risk of being held of little account.
—Moved by the desire to oppose the temperate and circumspect politics of Montesquieu to the rash and adventurous politics of J. J. Rousseau, the conservative spirit of the former has been frequently much exaggerated, as well as the revolutionary spirit of the latter. Montesquieu said: "I have not naturally a disapproving spirit." It has been concluded from this, that he was more ready to counsel the maintenance of abuse than the overthrow of the established order. Nothing could be more incorrect than such a view. The moderation of his tone ought not to close our eyes to what is bold and impassioned in the Esprit des lois. Montesquieu wished, as much as any man of his time, for a new society, so new indeed that we can still desire a part of what he dreamed of. If we except the venality of offices, which a remnant of domestic prejudice led him to spare, and which was besides a sort, of guaranty against arbitrary power, there is not a single abuse which Montesquieu did not attack with as much force as any philosopher of his time. Before Voltaire and Beccaria, he demanded the reform of the penal code, and the proportionment of punishments to offenses. Before Rousseau and Raynal, he eloquently attacked the institution of slavery. Before the Encyclopédie, he pleaded the cause of toleration.
—But among the greatest of the new things in Montesquieu must be reckoned the principle of the separation of the powers, the checks and balances of governments. Before him it had been indeed seen that there was in society a power to make the laws, a power to declare or interpret them, and a power to execute them; in a word, three powers, the legislative, the judicial and the executive. This division had already appeared in Aristotle; and there was an analogous one, although a little different, in Locke. But no one, not even Locke, had perceived that the separation of these powers is the essential condition of liberty; that if the power which makes the laws is also the one which executes and interprets them, it is of necessity a tyrant; for nothing is opposed to its authority. The safety of the citizens is only guaranteed by the separation of the powers. Power checks power. Such is the principle which Montesquieu discussed in the constitution of England, and which has often been confounded, although it is profoundly different from it, with another principle, which does not properly belong to Montesquieu, the principle of mixed governments. These are two distinct things, for the separation of powers can take place in a simple government, for example, the American republic; and on the other hand, in a mixed constitution, the powers may be confounded, for example, in the Roman constitution. Of these two principles, the first, we may say, is eternal and universal; the second depends on circumstances. Wherever political society exists the powers should be separate; else the citizens are oppressed. But it is not absolutely necessary that monarchy or aristocracy should be united to democracy. Finally, among modern publicists, Montesquieu is one of those who have insisted most upon the greatness and importance of political liberty in the state. Locke had already done so; but it is perhaps owing to Montesquieu that the idea was promulgated throughout the world, and that it was added, as an indestructible element, to the patrimony of universal reason.
—To the politics of Montesquieu is naturally opposed the politics of J. J. Rousseau. His politics have been so often criticised, that it will be to the point, perhaps, to set forth its merits rather than its defects. This is not saying that we approve of the whole of the Contrat Social. There are in that book very dangerous and very bad opinions: in the chapter upon civil religion, an admiration beyond bounds for the very imperfect republics of antiquity, and an unintelligent aversion for the very wise principle of representation, the only means of establishing liberty in our modern societies. But, all reservations made, I find that the maxims of the Contrat Social are often interpreted in an incorrect manner, and that there is more truth in the book than it is the custom to acknowledge.
—It is constantly advanced as an argument against Rousseau that he has said that human society, in general, had its origin in an agreement, in a contract. But it has not been sufficiently remarked that in the Contrat Social Rousseau treats only of civil and political society. It is that, according to him, which has its origin in contract. He seeks, he says, with judgment and precision, "the act by which a people is a people." Now, it is this act, which, in his opinion, is a contract.
—To thoroughly appreciate the value of this principle it is necessary to be informed that Rousseau does not examine what is, in fact, the principle upon which civil society rests, but what is in law, in abstracto, the principle of any political order whatever, all particular circumstances being left out of consideration. This is a political metaphysical investigation, one which may be dangerous in its consequences without being false in itself. For the truest principle may be wrongly interpreted and wrongly applied. Besides, Rousseau seems himself to have taken precautions in advance against the abuse which might be made of his principles, by frequently repeating, in his work, that the best government is that which is most conformable to the character of the people for whom it is made, that there is not a priori a perfect and absolute form of government; that all depends upon circumstances, etc. Consequently, even although the principle of the social contract should be admitted, it would not follow that Rousseau authorized the application of it hic et nunc without restriction; the person who should rashly try to apply this principle, would only have himself to blame for the consequences, like a mechanic who rigorously applied a mathematical formula without taking into account friction and resistance.
—The truth of Rousseau's principle may be demonstrated by many incontestable facts. How, for example, can naturalization be explained, if the principle that it is of my own free will that I may form part of any political society whatever is not admitted? Without doubt, I can not free myself from human society in general (and yet what prevents me from going to live as a hermit in uninhabited places?); but I can cease to be a Frenchman, to become a Russian or a Turk, if I please, and vice versa. This is, in truth, only making use of my own individual free will. But we have seen this practice pass from individuals to nations; and, although we may contest the actual application of it, we can not contest its legitimacy. How, except by the principle of contract, can the recent acts of annexation by popular consent be otherwise explained? Was this not openly to proclaim that a people is a people only by the free consent of its members? It is by virtue of the same principle that in the United States a new state is admitted to the Union; and if the right of secession was discussed there by armed force, it is because the interpretation of conventions has not always been agreed on. Even in kingdoms, which are created by conquest or by family alliance, national unity exists only when there is a real or supposed consent of the population. There is in such a case a sort of tacit contract between the conquering and the conquered peoples. Where such a contract does not exist, the conquest is always ruinous, and the people are always ready for revolt. Is such a state legitimate? Why, to-day, do all enlightened people want a constitution? It is because they intend to fix the fundamental conditions of their association. A constitution is nothing else than an act of society. The social contract, in truth, is not an historical fact; it is not a fact of the past, it is a fact of the future. Nations can not appeal to a primitive contract; but they aspire to a sort of ideal contract, which should establish, in some sort, the conditions of the reciprocal action of men toward one another, and of the sovereign toward his subjects. What are the laws, if not the special provisions of these contracts? Why is it desired that the laws should be passed by the representatives of society, if it is not because it is only the mandatories of society who can contract for society?
—J. J. Rousseau has been reproached, not without reason, for his doctrine of the omnipotence of the people. But this doctrine is independent of the theory of the social contract. Whatever origin may be attributed to public power, whether divine right, patriarchy, conquest, or popular consent, we may always suppose it absolute. Now, the doctrine of the absolute power of the state was universal before J. J. Rousseau. He borrowed it from tradition. Only he placed the people in the place of the prince; that is all the difference. Quidquid principi placuit legis habet vigorent. Such was the doctrine of the juris-consults. Replace principi by populo, and you have the democratic thesis. Doubtless, it is no truer under this form; but if Rousseau's claim to the expansion which he gave to the right of sovereignty may be contested, that is no reason to deny this great truth, that society rests upon an express or tacit contract of all its members.
—By the side of Montesquieu and Rousseau, we should, if space allowed, show the part which the economic schools of the eighteenth century, the physiocratic school in France, and that of Adam Smith in England, had in the progress of political ideas. The economists have, above all, contributed to spread the principles of natural law; and although many among them, as Quesnay and Mercier de la Rivière, were partisans of absolute power, yet they excepted from the exercise of that power the natural rights of citizens, and, above all, the right of property. Hence, although they were not advocates of political liberty, they accustomed minds to free a certain number of objects from the frequently tyrannical protection of the government. Their principle, Laissez faire and laissez passer, which was applied only to commerce and to industry, was soon to be applied to conscience and to thought. Turgot was, together with Voltaire and Montesquieu, the most serious defender of toleration. I may add, that from Turgot and Condorcet dates one of the greatest and most powerful ideas of modern society, the idea of the perfectibility of the race and of progress. This idea, perceived by Pascal and by Bacon, in its relation to the sciences, is in some sort the last word of the eighteenth century; it is the word of the French revolution.
—During the revolution the political schools gave place to parties, theories to action, and struggles of thought to struggles in the tribune and of the scaffold. Science, without doubt, has profited by the French revolution, not while it lasted, but after it.
—V. Contemporaneous Period. The political schools of the nineteenth century may be reduced to four principal ones: 1, the aristocratic and royalist school; 2, the constitutional and liberal school; 3, the democratic school; 4, the socialist school.
—1. The royalist school defends in general the old régime as opposed to the new, monarchical and aristocratic institutions as opposed to liberal and popular institutions. But, within these limits, what a variety of opinions! What a distance, for instance, between de Bonald and Chateaubriand; between the Législation primitif and the Monarchie selon la Charte! The former will have nothing but the political society of the old régime: to him it is absolute society. The unlimited power of one alone, supported by two privileged orders, the one charged with the defense, the other with the education of society: such was his ideal of the social and political order. Chateaubriand, on the contrary, while deploring the revolution, and demanding the re-establishment of entailment, and the restitution of their property to the clergy, was, at the same time, an impassioned partisan of English institutions, a defender of the initiative of Parliament, of the liberty of the press, of the responsibility of ministers, and counseled the aristocracy of his country to make use of new institutions, to take place and rank in those institutions, instead of arming itself against them, and seeking to recover possession of its privileges under the shadow of restored despotism.
—2. From Chateaubriand to Royer-Collard, the transition appears scarcely perceptible; the one is the most liberal of royalists, the other the most royalist of liberals. Yet we enter here into a new world, into the world of the French revolution, represented at first by the constitutional school. This school is divided into many branches, the doctrinarian school, the liberal school, the economic school, bound together by common doctrines, but at the same time separated by sufficiently important shades of difference. The first of these schools was represented by Royer-Collard, the Duc de Broglie and Guizot; the second by Benjamin Constant; and the third by Comte and Dunoyer. What distinguishes the doctrinarians from the pure royalists is, that they accept without reserve the civil order resulting from the French revolution, that is to say, the equality of partition and the secularization of the state. They oppose the law of the right of primogeniture and the law of sacrilege. Besides, they are in favor of political liberty, the liberty of the press and the control of the government by assemblies. But if they accept democracy in the civil order, and if they give it a certain share in the political order, they are no less alarmed at its progress; they detest it in its violent form, the revolutionary form; they even doubt it when regulated and modified in the government of the state. To the dogma of the sovereignty of the people, which, according to them, would only substitute one tyranny for another, they opposed the doctrine of the sovereignty of reason. They thought monarchy necessary to restrain democracy and to preserve liberty itself. Above all, they wished to assure a certain preponderance to the distinguished classes, to what they called the superiorities, and to give to the government of democracy more sequence, more unity, more foresight, more of the spirit of justice, and more of the true liberal spirit; the love of liberty being incompatible with the lack of intelligence. Such were the ideas of the doctrinarian school; those of liberalism did not differ essentially from them. The liberal school admitted, with the doctrinarian school, the necessity of royalty, the division of the legislative body into two chambers, and the limitation of the electoral body. But it made the part of royalty much less; it was opposed to the hereditary character of the upper chamber, and demanded the progressive extension of the electoral right. These differences concealed a capital dissent; the doctrinarians considered the mixed government, composed of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, as the absolute ideal; they saw in such a government a definitive and good régime. The liberals on the contrary, seemed to consider that régime as a preliminary step to something else. To the former, royalty and aristocracy were necessary elements of all society; to the latter, they were only useful moderators, whose importance was decreasing every day, and whose authority it was necessary to reduce more and more. Of these two schools, the former, therefore, allied itself to the royalist and aristocratic school, and the latter to the democratic school. One of the important branches of liberalism was the school of the economists. The economists thought that the political institutions of a people have doubtless great importance; they were very much attached to a system of constitutional guarantees, but they added that institutions are means, not ends; that the principal thing is not, who shall govern, but, how be shall govern. They thought that the principal end of governments is to assure the well-being of the people. Only they thought that governments take a wrong course to assure that well-being. For governments believed it was by regulation, protection, authorization, that they could favor the progress of industry and intelligence. But this is only to substitute for the old yoke of the corporations, a new yoke, that of the state, a vast, abstract, impersonal, irresponsible unity, which has inherited all the powers of absolute monarchy. The economists are the first among the partisans of the new society, who discussed this idea of the state, and who have opposed individual right to collective right. Later, when it was necessary to combat socialism, recourse was had to their arguments. But, in the beginning, they were almost alone in battling against the prestige exercised over minds by the vague and obscure notion of the state, which was no less dear to the democrats than to the partisans of absolute power.
—3. The democratic school has had two phases. In the first, it was only the last echo of the expiring revolution: it was the school of the ideologists, represented by de Tracy and Daunou. This school was allied not to '93, but to '95, and remained faithful to the constitution of the year III. A divided executive power, suffrage of two degrees, a conservative senate (an element borrowed from the constitution of the year VIII.): such were the principal characteristics of the political system of Destutt de Tracy, in his Commentaire sur l'esprit des lois. In this book we see the democratic school freeing itself little by little from the yoke of Rousseau, and setting up in opposition to the old republics, which it was commencing to consider semi-barbarous, societies, our modern laboring, commercial and industrial societies, which have need of order and of liberty, and not of sumptuary laws. At the restoration the ideologic school was merged in the liberal school, as we may perceive by the too little known work of Daunou upon "individual guaranties," a work whose principles are entirely in accordance with those at that time maintained by Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer in the Censeur Européen. There are few things in common between the school of ideologists and the democratic school, the issue of the restoration. The first was radically hostile to the committee of public safety and to the régime of '93. The second seems to be connected by a subterranean filiation with Jacobinism. Its principal passion was to rehabilitate the men and the acts of the reign of terror and of the convention. It displayed in this respect an incredible stubbornness, without suspecting the injury it thus did to its own ideas. Yet it was not entirely subjugated by these blind and extravagant passions, and the intelligent minds who controlled it had other views. In general, it was less a school than a party. It was more given to fighting than to thinking. Armand Carrel, its most celebrated name, was a great journalist, but not a publicist. Very strong and very energetic in his polemics, he was weak in his theory. But be it said in his honor, that he never sacrificed liberty to democracy, as may be seen from his vigorous polemic against the "Tribune," an ultra revolutionary journal, edited at that time by Armand Marrast. Another eminent man, a greater writer and a more powerful-thinker than Carrel, brought to the aid of the democracy about the same time his stirring eloquence, his bitter denunciation and ardent imagination; but he did not supply democracy with an idea. It would be impossible to discover a political view of any originality in the Paroles d'un croyant, in the Livre du peuple, or in the Esclaive moderne. The only ideas which have any weight in these writings are borrowed from the socialist schools, richer in thinkers than the democratic school. But not to have the appearance of seeking to depreciate a great mind, I hasten to add that Lamennais should be studied not only in his democratic writings. There is a political question which he has touched with penetration and depth, and on which he has left his mark; I mean the relations of church and state; it is by that and by the journal L'Avenir that Lamennais has a right to an important place in the history of the political ideas of the nineteenth century.
—4. As for the socialist school, it has passed through many curious phases, difficult to describe with precision. The first period of socialism was what I shall call the industrial period. It was the time of the first writings of Saint-Simon. In this first period the socialist school was only an offshoot of the economist school. Saint-Simon appealed to the authority of Adam Smith and of J. B. Say, and gave himself out as their disciple. His idea was that the first class in the state was the industrial class, and that the government belonged to it. Some attacks had already been made on proprietors, stockholders, idlers, but not on property itself. As for capital, it was not only spared, it was glorified. The first dream of the Saint-Simonian was a plutocracy. But Saint-Simon died; his disciples developed or confused his ideas. Fourierism succeeded him. Fourierism and Icarianism were propagated. This was the second period, the utopian period. The idea which ruled in this second period was this: society was given over to anarchy, it needed to be organized. The idea of organization took hold of all minds. Each presented his plan, his dream, and demanded that the state should furnish him with the capital necessary to make social experiments, or to make them itself at its own expense. Despite these dreams the socialist school appeared harmless, because it confined itself to speculative constructions, and remained more or less aloof from political parties. But there came a time when the democratic school and the socialist school joined hands, recognized each other as sisters, and embraced. This encounter and this alliance were one of the gravest events of the century. Separated from each other, the school of social revolution and the school of political revolution offered only a mediocre danger to the partisans of a regulated liberalism. United, and associating together their passions and their hopes, they might overthrow everything. However this may be, the third period of socialism was the revolutionary and democratic period. The idea which ruled in this third period was '89 was the revolution of the bourgeoisie against the nobility; to-day it is necessary for the people to make a revolution against the bourgeoisie. This idea, so simple and so logical, which connected the cause of socialism with that of the revolution, which went straight to a precise end, and boldly attacked property and capital, is due, above all, to Louis Blanc and Proudhon. But arrived at this point, socialism took two separate, and even absolutely contrary, routes. According to some, this revolution must terminate in a new organization of society, under the empire of a popular, energetic and concentrated government. According to others, government must only serve to produce the revolution, to destroy the tyranny of capital, as Richelieu destroyed the tyranny of the nobility. But this end once accomplished, the government must disappear in its turn, as being the last of the privileged bodies. Hence democratic socialism was divided into two branches: communist socialism and anarchical socialism.
—Such are the principal political schools of the century. But by the side of and outside these schools, some free and enlightened minds, not wishing to connect themselves with any of them, cultivated political science in an abstract and general manner, and followed the traditions of the great theorizers, whose ideas we have related. Such is the rôle of de Tocqueville, whose celebrity has been gradually increasing, and whose importance has been more and more appreciated, since facts have confirmed many of his gravest predictions. What can not be doubted, is that his Démocratie en Amérique must be considered as one of the finest monuments of political philosophy.
—The point of departure of the studies of de Tocqueville seems to have been these celebrated words of de Serres: La democratie coule à pleins bords. He thought that the democratic revolution was inevitable, or rather, that it was accomplished; and instead of reasoning a priori upon the justice or injustice of this great fact, he thought that it was better to observe it; and leaving to others the task of praising or blaming it, he restricted himself to getting acquainted with and understanding it; in a word, considered democracy as an object, not of demonstration, but of observation. This was an entirely new view. Most publicists had written for and against democracy systematic and abstract books; but no one, since Aristotle, had made it the object of attentive observation. Montesquieu himself, the greatest political observer of modern times, did not understand democracy; he saw it only as it existed in antiquity, and, almost like Mably and Rousseau, he had not the least presentiment of modern democracy, as it issued from the American revolution or from the French revolution.
—What results did de Tocqueville reach? This, in a few words, is about the balance sheet which he furnishes of the good and evil in democracy: The principal advantages in the democratic system are the development of well-being, the spreading of intelligence, the progress of sociability, the sympathy for human misery, and, finally, a very great display of activity and energy. In a word, in democracies, except at certain critical moments, men are generally more enlightened and happy. But these advantages are counterbalanced by disadvantages. The principal disadvantages are the instability of the laws, the inferiority of merit in those who govern, the abuse of uniformity, the excess of the love of well-being, and finally, and above all, the tendency to tyranny. It is principally this last characteristic which de Tocqueville has developed. He is one of those who have insisted most on the tyranny of democratic majorities, he has also shown the confusion which attaches to the two fundamental ideas of democracy, equality and liberty; he has demonstrated that these two things are not always in direct proportion to each other, that the progress of equality is not always the progress of liberty. Finally, he has strongly pronounced against centralization; and he was one of the first, while he entirely recognized the necessity of society's advancing in democratic ways, to assert the rights of individual action and to call attention to the encroaching tendencies of popular sovereignties, whether they are exercised under the republican or monarchical form.
—It is principally this last problem which science has applied itself to study and to solve in recent times. The events of 1848 in France, socialism, the energetic concentration of the French government in 1852, have led minds to be seriously preoccupied with the relations of the individual to the state. We have seen that the question of the right of sovereignty is not all of the question of politics, but that it is necessary to know, besides, within what limits sovereignty should be exercised, and what are the true functions of the state. This question has given rise to very fine dissertations. Mill, in England, although a radical, was chiefly preoccupied, in his excellent work on "Representative Government," with the means of counterbalancing the omnipotence of the unenlightened classes, and of giving to the superior classes a share of influence commensurate with their intelligence. In his book on "Liberty," he has vindicated to its fullest extent the principle of free thought. At the same time, in the "Principles of Political Economy," he renounces the individualist rigorism of the economic school, and admits the principle of education by the state. In France individualism has had for an original, energetic and impassioned defender, the highly intellectual Frédéric Bastiat; and in different degrees individualism is the spirit which is manifested in the new political school, that of Jules Simon, Laboulaye, Lanfrey, Prévost-Paradol, most of the economists, etc. On the other hand, it must be acknowledged that the principle of centralization and of the state has found an eminent apologist in Dupont-White, who, faithful to the traditions of the democratic school, maintains the predominance of the state over the individual, and separates the principle of political liberty, to which he is most strongly attached, from the principle of laissez faire and laissez passer, which, from the writings of economists, has passed into those of publicists. Such are the questions which political science is discussing in our day.
Return to top