This article attempts to identify the agreements and disagreements between Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville on the question of how to found a political order that respects liberties and, at the same time, assumes and projects the revolutionary rupture. In other words, how to articulate order, freedom and politics. Our thesis is that the difference in the way of approaching the question is rooted in different conceptions of history. For the purposes of evaluating historical processes, Constant never entirely abandons certain progressive intuitions. Tocqueville, on the other hand, always kept his distance from the different versions of the philosophy of history. To illustrate the argument, our paper is divided into four parts. In the first, we set out the relationship between the two authors and their conception of the historical movement. Then, we examine how each of them understands the concept of perfectibility, always in the light of the first difference. In the third part, we explore Constant’s notion of anachronism, and Tocqueville’s more or less implicit criticisms of this idea. Finally, we will analyse the different conceptions of politics that can be deduced from each of the systems.
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