No mere whig historian, Condorcet recognized that alongside wonderful, liberty-maximizing inventions like printing came modern states and global slavery.
For our author, the print revolution ushered in both an unstoppable flood of progress and the massive, abosolute, bureaucratic central state.
Whether rationalists or empiricists, the first modern philosophers gave us all good reasons to doubt the dictates of either kings or priests.
Rounding out his history of the Early Modern period, Condorcet explains the linkages between philosophy and politics on both ends of the Atlantic.
Like many of us, Condorcet got a bit carried away with praise for the Enlightenment. Unlike many of us, he tempered it with a dose of realism.
Though our author wrote in hiding from a terroristic regime, his saw unlimited potential for human accomplishment.
Condorcet ends his greatest work with the confident assertion that progress cannot be stopped.
In this excerpt from Agrarian Justice, Thomas Paine argues for using land taxes to fund what we would today call a universal basic income.
In his first of several letters to the citizens of the United States, Thomas Paine calls into question the legitimacy of the Federalist Papers.
“O! Thomas, you have had a long nap, and spent a great number of years in ease & plenty, upon our hard earned property.”
Constant shows how the idea of liberty has changed, from the ancient conception of freedom as part of a collection to the modern, individualist view.
Address Delivered at the Request of the Committee for Arrangements for Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence
John Quincy Adams argued that any government that attempted to compel others to adopt its values by force risked undermining liberty at home.
Ingersoll moves to discuss the American contributions to practical life in an era when great efficiency yielded greater power and influence.
Ingersoll concludes by examining religious liberty in America. He goes so far as to single out Catholics for their enormous contributions to American life.
Presaging the Young Americans a generation later, Ingersoll argues that an exceptional degree of liberty can produce exceptional contributions to civilization.
“Let us attach ourselves firmly [to] civilization — justice, legality, publicity, Liberty; and let us never forget [that we] are under the eye of the world.”
“In modern Europe the diversity of the elements of social order, the incapability of any one to exclude the rest, gave birth to the liberty which now prevails.”