Republican Types in Russian Political Culture, 1815–1825
Republican types are understood here as a project of state order that implied seizing political power from a monarch and giving it to the people by means of a coup—either a peaceful or a military one. It is this circumstance that puts republican models aside from projects of state-initiated reforms intended to liberalize but not replace the monarchical regime. A monarch who granted a constitution to his subjects enhanced their rights and liberties, but he did not change their status, since a granted constitution did not imply discussions and approbation by the people. For example, if a benevolent lord replaced socage with rent payments, he enhanced liberties of his serfs, but they did not become free people because of it. On the other hand, republics could have strict laws that limited rights and liberties of individual citizens, but it was thought that the laws resulted from the will of the people, thus the people as a whole remained free. In the first case, liberty was understood as an act, and in the second—as a status.
Unlike constitutional monarchies, which set spatial limits to hereditary power (the private life of the people was supposedly not regulated), republics had temporal limits for elected power, while citizens’ private lives could also be subjected to its control. Titus Livy spoke of a change from a monarchy to a republican regime and explained that “you may reckon...