political rulers. The rulers were conceived (except in some of the populargovernments of Greece) as in a necessarily antagonistic position tothe people whom they ruled. They consisted of a governing One, or agoverning tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance orconquest, who, at all events, did not hold it at the pleasure of the governed,and whose supremacy men did not venture, perhaps did not desire,to contest, whatever precautions might be taken against its oppressiveexercise. Their power was regarded as necessary, but also as highlydangerous; as a weapon which they would attempt to use against theirsubjects, no less than against external enemies. To prevent the weakermembers of the community from being preyed upon by innumerablevultures, it was needful that there should be an animal of prey strongerthan the rest, commissioned to keep them down. But as the king of thevultures would be no less bent upon preying on the flock than any of theminor harpies, it was indispensable to be in a perpetual attitude of defenseagainst his beak and claws. The aim, therefore, of patriots was toset limits to the power which the ruler should be suffered to exerciseover the community; and this limitation was what they meant by liberty.It was attempted in two ways. First, by obtaining a recognition of certainimmunities, called political liberties or rights, which it was to beregarded as a breach of duty in the ruler to infringe, and which if he didinfringe, specific resistance, or general rebellion, was held to be justifiable.