The Social Contract (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

The Social Contract (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
     
 

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"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." With those words, quite possibly the most famous in all political thought, Jean-Jacques Rousseau launches The Social Contract. It is a work that loomed over the French Revolution, haunted subsequent generations, and stalks the twenty-first century. Composed in the autumn of the Old Regime, The Social

Overview

"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains." With those words, quite possibly the most famous in all political thought, Jean-Jacques Rousseau launches The Social Contract. It is a work that loomed over the French Revolution, haunted subsequent generations, and stalks the twenty-first century. Composed in the autumn of the Old Regime, The Social Contract presents a radical new form of political community composed of free and equal citizens who collectively retain ultimate authority; today it remains the most compelling counter-model to modern representative liberal democracy. Complex and deeply unnerving, The Social Contract challenges its readers to rethink their understanding of freedom and servitude, the common good, and the very legitimacy of contemporary governments.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781411428799
Publisher:
Barnes & Noble
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Series:
Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
720,729
File size:
672 KB

Meet the Author

Democratic hero, literary cult figure, victim of political persecution, founding father of the Romantic Movement, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) remains a figure of titanic cultural significance. Rousseau was born in Geneva, and at sixteen, he left for Bourbon France where he worked his way up from lackey, to tutor, to secretary, finally to writer and literary celebrity. When he turned to examine society and politics, he did so from the perspective of people at the bottom, the poor, the disadvantaged, and others without hope of improving their lot in life.

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The Social Contract 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
JohnDubberley More than 1 year ago
I had to read this particular book along with a few others that concerned the social contract theory including "Leviathan" by Thomas Hobbes, and work by people such as John Locke and the like. Being a philosophy major, I am constantly reading works that take all of one's will power to follow. Whether the ideas in the books aren't all that straight foward, or the writer just wasn't an interesting writer (most philosophers aren't. We're usually philosophers first and writers second or third). However, when I sat down to read this text, which is small and not daunting in the slightest, I was pleased to find that this book was a very easy read. Not only was it easy to read, it was easy to follow, and the ideas were set in clear and concise order. "The Social Contract" by Rousseau explains the social contract theory in a way different from Hobbes, who said that before government the world was in an anarchy with people doing what they wanted when they wanted. For Hobbes, the social contract saved us. However, Rousseau takes another route. He says that human beings were at peace before the social contract, and that the contract made us slaves. Through it we made the laws, or chains, that bind us, hence the saying: Laws are the chains the bind us. All in all, whether you're an aspiring philosopher, or you're simply into politics, I would reccomend that you read this book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book my junior year in high school, and it astonished me. I found myself having to read over paragraphs multiple times to merely understand the intense concept of his writing. A must read for anyone with an interest philosophy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Should be required reading in our schools... could lead to informed citizens who think for themselves.