Comparing Rousseau's Ideals Of Political Freedom And Equality

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s intuitive as the ideals of political freedom and equality have become in many parts of the world, these ideas were revolutionary when first pondered by philosophers. Thinkers Jean Jacques Rousseau and John Locke both pioneered these concepts in their works, and though their theories of a legitimate state mirrored each other in certain regards, their ideas also differed about what freedom and equality should look like. While both agree that a legitimate state must eliminate societal inequality, Rousseau believes that it should increase the freedom of men, and Locke argued for the necessity of men giving up their natural freedoms in order to be protected by the state.
Rousseau distinguishes between two kinds of inequality, which he identifies as “natural” and “moral or political” (Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality 77). In discussing his theory of state, the latter type is more important, as it refers to inequalities among men established by “some sort of convention” and relies on men to perpetuate these inequalities (Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality 77). In his second discourse, Rousseau argues that moral inequality does not exist in the state of nature, and therefore it should not exist in a legitimate state.
Men by nature possess
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In this way, it seems to be an influence to Rousseau’s theory of state in that it also involves an agreement between the people and the governing bodies, and it involves a trade-off in terms of individual’s freedom. However, Rousseau builds on this idea in saying that the freedoms lost in the social contract were never freedoms to begin with, but rather obligations imposed on men by convention. However, both philosophers demand equality for all men in a given state, and thus their ideas represent a break from previous political thinkers that massively influenced the manifestations of political thought after

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