Ancients vs Moderns

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It seems that in today’s world of the radio, TV, and the internet we have a wealth of knowledge at our finger tips. With all this knowledge that we have we are constantly reminded that we have many liberties and freedoms to enjoy, yet when Election Day rolls around we can receive only around 60% of the American population out to vote, and that is on a good day. Is Benjamin Constant correct when he say’s “Our freedom must consist of peaceful enjoyment and private independence.”?(Democracy 110) Is that it, or is there more to the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy? I would like to know when we know that we have done enough to help out our freedoms and liberties, or if we need to do more.

Democracy has had its share of people that are for it and against it. In Athens you had to be born into the system if you wanted your vote to count. And with an oligarchy the rich are in control. So how does that differ then the world that we live in today? Benjamin Constant talks of this in the liberty of the ancients compared with that of the moderns. He states “the ancients were ready to make many a sacrifice to preserve their political rights” (Democracy 110) so how different is that from us today? Is it not considered a sacrifice to go and vote or is that just not enough? Aristotle said “Whether these three functions – war, justice and deliberation- belong to separate groups or to a single group, is a matter which makes no difference to the argument. It often falls to the same persons both to serve in the army and to till the fields.” (Democracy 30) Both in the ancient and modern accounts more is need and everyone needs to be involved. One is not greater than the other but in reality they did not live in those conditions.

Machiavelli talked about the laws and how as long as you followed the laws you had all the freedoms you need. Yet he believed in that a Democracy would work as long as the masses would follow those laws. He states that...
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