Essays on The Social Contract

The Social Contract
Original title The Social Contract
Author Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Genre Treatise
Language French
Characters Jean, Jacques Rousseau, Emile, Julie
Published 1762
ISBN 978-0-14-024315-2
Book Summary
Essay Examples

Table of Contents

About The Social Contract

In The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau proposes that government is not a natural outgrowth of society, as many Enlightenment thinkers believed, but is instead a human invention. He further argues that government can be legitimate only if it is based on the consent of the governed.Rousseau begins by asking what the purpose of government is and what legitimate authority it could possibly have. He contends that the only legitimate authority is that which is based on the consent of the governed. Government, he argues, is a human invention, not a natural outgrowth of society.Rousseau then goes on to discuss the different types of government, and how they relate to the different types of societies. He argues that there are two types of societies: those based on fear and those based on trust.

Government, he argues, can only be legitimate if it is based on trust.Rousseau then goes on to discuss the different types of government, and how they relate to the different types of societies. He argues that there are two types of societies: those based on fear and those based on trust. Government, he argues, can only be legitimate if it is based on trust.Rousseau then turns to the question of how such a government could be established. He argues that the only way to establish a government based on the consent of the governed is through a social contract.

In the final section of the book, Rousseau discusses the different kinds of social contracts that could be used to establish a government. He ultimately argues that the only kind of social contract that could work is one in which the people agree to be governed by the general will of the community.

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