Analysis Of Rousseau's The Social Contract

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Rousseau’s, The Social Contract, describes his theory on how to establish a successful society with the problems that are commonly faced in a commercial society. He also aims to determine if, in a civil society, whether freedom is possible or not. Rousseau opens his book by stating, “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains” (1), meaning, that although man is born free in terms of nature, society places holds, or chains, on citizens, restraining them from their natural freedom and behavior, with rules and regulations. Although we would all worship to be free, Rousseau questions whether it is possible to have the freedom we desire when we also require a government. Without laws and government, individuals would be more interested in …show more content…
The author says that the larger the population of a society, the fewer magistrates there should be. Rousseau begins by describing a democracy. He says that this type of government is best suited for small states with a small population, where all or most of the citizens can be magistrates. Rousseau is more cynical about this particular type of government as opposed to the other two. He argues that it is almost impossible for a person to dedicate all of their time into public affairs, which a true democracy would require. Therefore, “if we take the term in a strict sense, there never has been a real democracy, and there never will be” (Rousseau 45). Rousseau claims that in order to have a successful democracy, the society would need to be small, with straightforward, modest citizens. In addition, Rousseau declares that there is no other government more exposed to civil strife than a democratic society by stating that “it may be added that there is no government so subject to civil wars and intestine agitations as democratic or popular government, because there is none which has so strong and continual a tendency to change to another form, or which demands more vigilance and courage for its maintenance as it is” (45). Next, Rousseau discusses the different forms of aristocracy; Natural Aristocracy, where the elders or the heads of the families govern the society, Elective Aristocracy, where those with power, riches or those who are best suited for the position governs the society, and Hereditary Aristocracy, where certain families govern the rest of the society, which Rousseau believes is the worst type of government. An ideal aristocratic government should consist of a society where fewer than half the citizens are magistrates. Rousseau believes that an aristocratic government is the best form of government, if and only if the magistrates

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