Essay about On whether America still exists

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s critique of representative governments in The Social Contract raises important questions about our own government. Clearly the United States allows representatives for groups of people in the law making process, so do we, as a nation, still exist? I think I can safely say without citations that we do, indeed, still exist. However, to leave the question answered like that would be naive and uneducational. For that reason, I will delve deeper into Rousseau’s arguments to decipher what he is driving at when he writes, “ soon as a nation appoints representatives, it is no longer free; it no longer exists.”(101) Hopefully America will still exist in the end. The key to Rousseau’s argument on representation is …show more content…

Every body has an equal share in the sovereign power, and everybody is equally responsible to obey its commands. It is the people, therefore, that compose all of the laws, i.e., all the people are the legislators. Rousseau insists, though, that while the people must create the laws, the sovereign power must not include enforcing them, this role is left to the government. The notion of government is a very simple one for Rousseau, he takes all of the legislative power away from it, leaving it only executive power. He defines it explicitly as, “an intermediate body established between the subjects and sovereign for their mutual correspondence, charged with the execution of the laws and with the maintenance of liberty both civil and political.”(60) The sovereign power of the people still prevails through the general will, though, meaning Rousseau created a government that delegates powers that can be withdrawn by the people at any time. With these terms defined, we can now move on to the question of what Rousseau meant by his maxim on representative governments. Rousseau spends an entire chapter explaining why the sovereignty is indivisible. Obviously, this is an important point in his political theory. Thankfully he sums it up nicely in the very beginning of the chapter where he says that the reason is

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