many examples of government in which the power of control was concentrated in the hands of but one, or of a few individuals, which afforded its subjects the highest amount of essential liberty.
To this day, “the freedom of the British Constitution
” --as much as we justly prefer our own — is by no means an idle boast.
It is a great mistake to suppose that a government which deposits the sovereignty among the great mass of the people, is the only free government.
We are constrained to acknowledge that it is better to be oppressed by one
, or by a few tyrants, than by a multitude of tyrants.
It is not this
or that kind
of government that makes the subject essentially free.
But it is the fact that the controlling power, whether wielded by one or by many, secures each man in the enjoyment of his natural rights — affords him that system of appliances which develops and matures the self-acting power of his will — discourages all abuse of this power, and fully protects him in the proper exercise of it in the pursuit of the essential good.
It is this that makes him free
We prefer, for those to whom it is applicable, a democratic republic; because it is a more secure government, and less liable to an abuse of power; not because it is necessarily a more free government than any other.
Another form of government may secure equal freedom in every essential