Jean Jacques Rousseau And The Social Contract Essay

971 Words Jan 20th, 2015 4 Pages
Ryan de Haseth
History 214 Merrill
"Man Is Born Free and Everywhere He Is In Chains": Break the Chains

Men and women of Madame Geoffrin’s Salon, we must support our fellow reformer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau! His recent treatise, The Social Contract, outlines the solution to our need for government. He bravely proclaims in the very first sentence of his treatise, “Man is born free; and everywhere he is chains.” Rousseau aims to show how the necessary constraints of government can be legitimate so that they are compatible with the indispensable freedom that man requires. However, this government needs to be for the betterment of the general will alone and all decisions need to be made for the general will. As reformers we must frame the general will and ensure that our laws are derived from reason alone, not by a selected group of individuals who possess vested interests. We require government to provide structure and order to our Enlightened society. For this government to be successful, we must all participate as citizens and obey the reasonable laws, which are provided by the general will, for the general will. The Social Contract advances a singular idea--the only government that can be effective for everybody is a government made up of everybody, a participatory democracy. We are held in illegitimate chains under Louis XV’s rule. This inadequate, self-righteous tyrant sits upon his extravagant palace at Versailles, while mistresses such as Madame de Pompadour…

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