The Social Contract / Edition 1

The Social Contract / Edition 1

3.8 18
by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
     
 

With the publication of The Social Contract in 1761, Jean-Jacques Rousseau took his place among the leading political philosophers of the Enlightenment. Like his contractarian predecessors (Thomas Hobbes and John Locke), Rousseau sought to ground his political theory in an understanding of human nature, which he believed to be basically good but corrupted by the… See more details below

Overview

With the publication of The Social Contract in 1761, Jean-Jacques Rousseau took his place among the leading political philosophers of the Enlightenment. Like his contractarian predecessors (Thomas Hobbes and John Locke), Rousseau sought to ground his political theory in an understanding of human nature, which he believed to be basically good but corrupted by the conflicting interests within society. Here self-interest degenerated into a state of war from which humanity could only be extricated by the imposition of a contract. As a party to the compact, each individual would find his true interest served within the political expression of the community of man, or the "general will."

What is the content of human nature and how does it compel mankind to come together to create a civil society? What form does this society take? What benefits does it offer its citizens, and what must each individual sacrifice to reap its rewards? How does sovereign power manifest itself, and what consequences follow for those who choose not to abide by the "general will"? Does Rousseau's political theory set forth a blueprint for democracy-one that results in equality, universal suffrage, and popular sovereignty-or is it a recipe for central state totalitarianism? These are just a few of the complex questions that will confront readers of The Social Contract. Whatever their intent or ultimate result, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's views on the state and man's relationship to it have culminated in one of the most powerful and compelling pieces of political philosophy ever written.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780879754440
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
03/28/1988
Series:
Great Books in Philosophy
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
137
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.31(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword11
Book I
ISubject of the First Book14
IIThe First Societies14
IIIThe Right of the Strongest16
IVSlavery17
VThat We Must Always Go Back to a First Convention21
VIThe Social Contract22
VIIThe Sovereign24
VIIIThe Civil State26
IXReal Property28
Book II
IThat Sovereignty Is Inalienable31
IIThat Sovereignty Is Indivisible32
IIIWhether the General Will Is Fallible34
IVThe Limits of the Sovereign Power36
VThe Right of Life and Death39
VILaw41
VIIThe Legislator44
VIIIThe People48
IXThe People (cont.)50
XThe People (cont.)52
XIThe Various Systems of Legislation55
XIIThe Division of the Laws57
Book III
IGovernment in General59
IIThe Constituent Principle in the Various Forms of Government64
IIIThe Division of Governments67
IVDemocracy68
VAristocracy70
VIMonarchy73
VIIMixed Governments78
VIIIThat All Forms of Government Do Not Suit All Countries79
IXThe Marks of a Good Government84
XThe Abuse of Government and Its Tendency to Degenerate85
XIThe Death of the Body Politic88
XIIHow a Sovereign Authority Maintains Itself89
XIIIHow a Sovereign Authority Maintains Itself (cont.)90
XIVHow a Sovereign Authority Maintains Itself (cont.)92
XVDeputies or Representatives93
XVIThat the Institution of Government Is Not a Contract97
XVIIThe Institution of Government98
XVIIIHow to Check the Usurpations of Government99
Book IV
IThat the General Will Is Destructible103
IIVoting105
IIIElections108
IVThe Roman Comitia110
VThe Tribunate120
VIThe Dictatorship122
VIIThe Censorship125
VIIICivil Religion126
IXConclusion137

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