Liberty and independence: Rousseau’s real freedom examined: Jimena Hurtado
Introduction Addressing an audience at the Athénée Royal in Paris in 1819, Benjamin Constant pronounced what came to be known as one of the most important discourses in the liberal tradition.2 In “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with That of the Moderns”, Constant explains the new liberty individuals enjoy in a commercial society and its advantages. Thanks to this new liberty, individuals have
the right to be subjected only to the laws . . . to express their opinion, choose a profession and practice it, to dispose of property, and even abuse it; to come and go without permission . . . to associate with other individuals . . . to exercise some influence on the administration of government.