Introductory and Applications
The struggle between Liberty and Authority is the most conspicuous feature in the portions of history with which philosophers are earliest familiar, particularly in that of Greece, Rome, and England. But in old times this contest was between subjects, or some classes of subjects, and the Government. Liberty has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of the political rulers. A time, however, came, in the progress of human affairs, when men ceased to think it a necessity of nature that their governors should be an independent power, opposed in interest to themselves. In political and philosophical theories, as well as in persons, success discloses faults and infirmities which failure might have concealed from observation.