If Men Are Equal By Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

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If men are equal, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau claims in the preface to his discourse on inequality (40), why do some men live in large lavish houses, while others struggle on the street, unsure of their next meal? The distance between the rich and the poor has been increasing steadily over the last decade, but in reality it has been expanding ever since man separated from Rousseau’s original state of nature. The state of nature is different than that which is natural, and within Rousseau’s state of nature, physical inequality is the only thing separating a man from another. Therefore, disregarding physical inequality, nature for man was equal and the state of nature provided an equal playing ground. As early as the preface, Rousseau realizes that in order for one to understand inequality, one must first attempt to understand man (39). This man that we are understanding could be classified into two different groups, man in society and man in the state of nature. It is tough to understand the way that man in the state of nature lived and conducted himself, since “little care [was] taken by nature to bring men together through mutual needs and to facilitate their use of speech” (60). If nothing was written down or spoken concerning pre-societal man, much of what we assume to be true may have been fabricated by Rousseau or historians in order to prove a point. Digressing and assuming that what has been written about man in the state of nature is true, there are many different…

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