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Bentham, Byron, and GreeceConstitutionalism, Nationalism, and Early Liberal Political Thought$
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F. Rosen

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198200789

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198200789.001.0001

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Constitutional Theory I: From the Fragment to the French Revolution

Constitutional Theory I: From the Fragment to the French Revolution

(p.40) 3 Constitutional Theory I: From the Fragment to the French Revolution
Bentham, Byron, and Greece

F. Rosen

Oxford University Press

In the Fragment on Government, Jeremy Bentham posed the general question of how free and despotic governments differed. Bentham's list is important for this chapter's purposes in two respects. Firstly, in the last two ‘circumstances’, liberty of the press and public association, he clearly linked security with liberty and used this formulation to define an extensive framework for constitutional liberty. Secondly, in concentrating on general ‘circumstances’, Bentham established that he was not looking at particular institutions, such as the British constitution, as the source of liberty but more broadly to general principles. To understand the development of Bentham's idea of constitutional liberty, however, it will be best to took at his critique of William Blackstone's own account of the British constitution where current ideas of constitutional liberty might be found.

Keywords:   Fragment on Government, Jeremy Bentham, despotic governments, liberty, security, constitutional liberty, William Blackstone, British constitution

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