Essay on Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau’s interpretation of liberty was that of true, unlimited freedom. However, this form of liberty only exists in the state …show more content…
Unlike Rousseau, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty discusses the 19th century notion of social or civil liberty, or the “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual” (2008, pg. 5). This individual-centric concept of social liberty distinguishes itself from the ideas of political liberty found in Rousseau’s time. While Rousseau’s social contract proposes that individual liberty should be sacrificed for the sake of the whole, Mill suggests the opposite, suggesting that individual liberty is crucial to the functioning and progress of society. Thus, the formation of liberal democracy that protects the liberty of the individual through law and legislation would be the ideal environment for cultivating individuals and their ideas.
Yet why is the role of the individual so crucial to Mill? The individual is a valuable source of challenging ideas, which oppose the ruling idea of the majority and have the potential to develop society further. The conflict arising from interaction of