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Rousseau's 'Social Contract'


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Rousseau's 'Social Contract'

  1. 1. Rousseau’s “Social Contract” A.K.A. ‘How to Fix France...Maybe!’ 1
  2. 2. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Born 1712, Died 1778Most popular and influential of the‘philosophes’ prior to and duringthe French Revolution!Published “The Social Contract” in1762. 2
  3. 3. Rousseau’s ‘Problems’Can there be legitimate political authority?How is freedom possible in civil society? 3
  4. 4. A Few Assumptions...Our Nature = total physical freedom, norestraints on behaviourT be human, we must be active in a ‘society’ oEach member of society must enter into a‘social contract’ with all of the others 4
  5. 5. What is a ‘social contract’? the agreement through which each person enters into civil society The contract binds people into a community that exists for mutual preservation. We sacrifice physical freedom to gain civil freedom (rational thought!) 5
  6. 6. In the political sphere...Everyone will be ‘free’ because everyone willforfeit the same amount of freedom andreceive the same amount of responsibility. 6
  7. 7. Administration: T Parts wosovereign - the voice of the law and absoluteauthority within the state. In Rousseau’swords, the sovereign is “the people speakingtogether” (GENERAL WILL)government - charged with application ofthe law toward particular matters(PARTICULAR WILLS) 7
  8. 8. Quotes“Man is born free, and everywhere he isin chains.” 8
  9. 9. Quotes“The Sovereign, having no force otherthan the legislative power, acts only bymeans of the laws; and the laws beingsolely the authentic acts of the generalwill, the Sovereign cannot act save whenthe people is assembled.” 9
  10. 10. Quotes“Every law the people have not ratifiedin person is null and void -- is, in fact,not a law.” 10
  11. 11. Quotes“The legislative power belongs to thepeople, and can belong to it alone.” 11
  12. 12. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity“For a young people to be able to relish soundprinciples of political theory and follow thefundamental rules of statecraft, the effect wouldhave to become the cause; the social spirit, whichshould be created by these institutions, would haveto preside over their very foundation; and men wouldhave to be before law what they should become bymeans of law.” 12
  13. 13. Liberty, Equality, FraternityHow can liberty, equality, fraternity bewritten into law if man does not alreadypossess these values/attributes? If theFrench people have NEVER experiencedthese things before, how equipped arethey to institute them ? 13