Benjamin ConstantBenjamin Constant, [Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque] (1767-1830) Swiss-born thinker, writer and French politician.

Benjamin Constant Quote

“Thus arbitrary power will have divided men of superior intelligence into two groups: the former will be seditious, the latter corrupt...”

Benjamin ConstantBenjamin Constant
~ Benjamin Constant

The Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation (1814), reprinted in Political Writings, translated and edited by Bancamaria Fontana (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 126. Later editions than the 1814 one had "despotism" instead of "abitrary power."

Ratings and Comments


David L Rosenthal

Superior intelligence is not a prereqisite of either corruption or sedition.

Joe, Rochester, MI

Our government is corrupt and could use a little rebellion.

J Carlton, Calgary

Absolute power corrupts absolutely...it is irrelevant who or how it corrupts. Our Founders recognized this and did their best to give us a Constitution that would not allow absolute power. Sadly, very low information voters and voter fraud have now given us a regime hell bent on destroying the last vestiges of that Constitution. The King is busy signing executive orders that allow for the government to kidnap and murder and somehow we've failed to recognize this want to be dictator for what he really is..."A Clear and Present Danger" to the security of the nation. But there's hope! People are waking up in droves...

jim k, Austin, Tx

"The latter corrupt" part describes most of the U.S. Congress but not the "superior itelligence" part. Maxine Waters alone would drop the average intelligence of any group at least 50 points.

Mike, Norwalk

kinda funny, as observed, too true, too often.

E Archer, NYC

Anyone who doesn't follow the establishment party line is now considered mentally incompetent -- it's easier to put intelligent dissenters into straight-jackets that way.

empty pockets, Mandeville

The more arbitrarily the power is used, the more likely "sedition" will be merely disagreement with the corruption.

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