Locke And Rousseau Individualism Analysis

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Developed in historical circumstances of chaotic and dramatic social and change of the Glorious Revolution in England and French Revolutionary thought , the ideas of Locke and Rousseau demonstrate profoundly the Enlightenment notion of individualism - self-reliant belief in the sanctity of human independence. Assumed natural rights - those inherent from birth as a consequence of a natural evolutionary and mental superiority are demonstrative of both the society to which they are related, and the development of political society. Rousseau and Locke therefore follow a logical progression of complexity, beginning with the necessity of civil society to protect the inherent individual rights threatened by pre-societal chaos, highlighting the necessity …show more content…
Political rights, therefore, come as a result of a persons position as a consenting member of a society, and are also intricately accompanied by responsibilities. The idea of societal responsibility is most prominently displayed in Rousseau, where the right to political participation is accompanied by the expectation of citizen contribution. His statement that “ the engagements which bind us to the social body are obligatory only because they are reciprocal,” (174, Rousseau) highlights the intrinsic necessity of participation in the political process in order to fulfil obligations as part of the social contract. Political rights; the rights to equal political participation and free voice, are therefore conditional. The basis those rights being that society expects something in return for its exercise of the general will. Contrarily, Locke’s expectation of political engagement is sorely limited by his perception of power - the holding of property is the greatest designation of power, and exercising of equal right is limited by representation. Elected representatives (implying the right of suffrage) are expected to demonstrate their power for “the public good of society” (159, Locke), and citizen input is restrained to simple acceptance of the consented authority so far as it fulfils its duties as a given by the consent. Political right of revolution is delicately outlined by Locke as the overthrowing of a government who has committed tyranny by the “exercise of power beyond right” (Locke, 189), and therefore long represent citizen interests. Political rights lie in a delicate balance based on the nature of the society to which they are related, outweighing the efficiency of resistance against the ability to maintain clear and

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