Analysis Of The Social Contract By Jean Jacques Rousseau

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“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains” (Rousseau). This apparent paradox was the first sentence in The Social Contract, and shares Jean Jacques Rousseau’s thoughts on the balance between freedom and confinement, which we will see as an ongoing theme throughout the book. In other words, Rousseau theorizes about the best way to establish a political community while addressing the flaws of a government that implements natural authority and force. Rousseau’s political views can be best described as the natural goodness of humanity. From reading a few excerpts from The Social Contract, it is clear that Rousseau is trying to establish how freedom can be attained in a civil society. To do this, he traces back freedom to the state of …show more content…
When Rousseau was writing The Social Contract, the term “liberty” was not new. In fact, Hobbes and Locke already used and had their own definitions of these terms (another similarity between the three philosophers). He used this term to introduce to us the current problem of “What would it take to bring a man out of the state of nature into an organized society?” Some people, liberals, would say that the incentive of protection would cause them to move toward this type of lifestyle. However, Rousseau’s definition of liberty was a little different. He believed that dropping the state of nature into an organized society should allow more than just protection. He defined liberty as having a voice and participation within this organized society. This led me to think about why Rousseau was advocating an organized society if he was so fond of the state of nature. Upon further reading, it is understood that although Rousseau describes the state of nature as good, he does not mention that they are essentially capable of living on their own. Earlier on, he proposes the situation of a father and a son as a key example of the exchange of liberty for protection. While trying to understand the question of why Rousseau promotes an organized society, I referred back to the father and son example. Rousseau stated that the state of nature is all good, but at the same time those …show more content…
This system could not be swayed by any group or sovereign because it represents the entire body. It is unclear how the general will is accounted for, but this leads me to guess that the system would be fully democratic. However, if this was the case, a fully democratic system would pose a problem in 18th century Europe. It would mean that democratic voting would have to take place, which would limit the size of a society. Why is this? With further research, Rousseau also mentions that the “sovereign, which is only a collective being, can only be represented by itself.” This means that all members of the society must take an active role in the sovereign, but at the same time the power is not transferable. So the citizens can only be represented by themselves. A country such as Canada could never be ruled without some form of representative democracy, but since Rousseau feels that these powers are inalienable, we could therefore never enter into such a social

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