Rousseau

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Law, Contract Law
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The Origin of Civil Society Jean Jacques Rousseau

The Social Contract-or • “It is my wish to inquire, whether it be possible, within the civil order, to discover a legitimate and stable basis of Government.”

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” • People think they are masters of others, but really just equally enslaved. • People feel constrained to obey a “master,” but the sooner they “shake off “ this “yoke,” the better.

“Of Primitive Societies” • Oldest form of society is the family. • Father and son eventually “return to a condition of independence.” • Father—monarchy/ Child—people • Father—mother country/ Child—colony • “As soon as a man attains the age of reason he becomes his own master.” Extended metaphor • It is not human nature to be enslaved.

“Of the Right of the Strongest” • “However strong a man, he is never strong enough to remain master always, unless he transform his Might into Right, and Obedience into Duty. • Like Jefferson, Rousseau believed that we have obligation to only the LEGITIMATE powers of the states---that might doesn’t always mean right.

“Of Slavery” • Agreement is the only natural social contract. • Monarchs will say that he or she can guarantee peace for its people; however, wars fought in the name of a monarch often cost more lives. • Rousseau believes that being born free is selfevident and unalienable; if man doesn’t fight for his own liberty, he renounces his humanness.

War… • “is something that occurs not between man and man, but between States.” • Should not produce prisoners of war or slaves.

“Of the Social Pact” • Why is there government to begin with? How is it formed? • A “concentration of powers can be brought about only as a consequence of an agreement reached between individuals.” • A social compact should protect the person and property of each individual involved and allow the person free will. • Any violation of the agreement should render the compact void and allow the parties to revert to their natural liberty.

The strength of any governing body is only as good as each individual.

“Of the sovereign” • As a member of the people of a nation, a ruler owes a duty to each citizen and the nation as a whole. • A ruler should earn the loyalty and respect of its governed body in order to assure the people’s duty.

“Of Real Property” • “All men have a natural right to what is necessary to them.” Sounds like “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” doesn’t it? • Sovereigns often try to control the land to control its people. Colonization? • In the end, a social contract should ensure equality.

Essay Question • Discuss the principles that Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence shares with Jean Jacques Rousseau in The Origin of Civil Society. Compare and contrast specifically the fundamental demands of the Declaration of Independence with Rousseau’s conceptions of liberty and independence.

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