The standard source of the distinction between two senses of “liberty” is a speech in 1819 by the great political theorist Benjamin Constant. The first, “the liberty of the ancients,” consists in having a voice into the policies and representatives that govern us. The second, “the liberty of the moderns,” is the right to pursue our private interests free from state oversight or control. "Is the United States a ‘Racial Democracy’?" (New York Times, Opinionator), JASON STANLEY and VESLA WEAVER.
Stanley and Weaver, treat these as "two different aspects of the conception of liberty at the heart of American democracy, rather than distinct concepts."So, throughout their piece (recall my comment), they rely on the distinction between, on the one hand, two "senses" or "notions" or "aspects" of liberty, and, on the other hand, the one "conception" of liberty. In their hands, liberty as such can be removed; and a system of laws can be unworthy of liberty.
I started reflecting on Stanley and Weaver's tacit distinction because I was surprised that while mentioning Constant they did not mention Isaiah Berlin, the twentieth century thinker responsible for revival of interest in Constant and his distinction. When I turned to Berlin's famous essay, Two Concepts of Liberty, and looked for the famous passage on Constant, the distance between Stanley and Weaver and Berlin (and Constant) become transparent at once. Berlin writes, "No one saw the conflict between the two types of liberty better, or expressed it more clearly than Benjamin Constant" For Berlin (and Constant), if liberty were one it would be in constant tension with itself. Stanley and Weaver are liberty-monists, while Berlin is a Liberty-dualist (or -- if we read him as allowing even more concepts -- even a Liberty-pluralist).
De Grouchy makes the same move for equality, which is both a source of positive rights (of, say, entry to the professions, rights to inheritance of property, free movement, etc.) as well as a source of the negative right to protection from submission to others. In her Letters, De Grouchy also treats liberty itself as follows (quoting from the translation by James McClellan and Karin Brown): "In some ways a right like liberty is a negative right, since it exists only on the supposition that someone wants to attack my freedom." This is, as Stanley and Weaver, say "more familiar to Americans." But from context it is clear that liberty can in other ways be a positive right for De Grouchy without becoming at odds with itself. So, while Constant, Berlin, and (as Michael Gill has argued), Adam Smith are Liberty-pluralists, De Grouchy has in this respects more in common with Stanley and Weaver.
In her Letters, De Grouchy is not a champion of voting rights. But in fairness to her (she had suffered greatly under the Reign of Terror--her husband killed and she and her daughter reduced to abject poverty), while her life was not threatened anymore, she could not say all she believed without risking prison or worse.
* Constant knew De Grouchy personally and was well read in Adam Smith.