The Social Contract By Jean Jacques Rousseau

Good Essays

‘The Social Contract’ was written in 1762 by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Often viewed as one of the most important philosophers during the Enlightenment Era, Rousseau wrote ‘The Social Contract’ to explain his theory of how society originated, as well as how much authority government should have over those under its power. He also explained why people within a society should have more authority when it comes to establishing laws. Rousseau concluded that Legislative and Executive bodies must be established within government to help regulate laws and the people. Throughout his writing Rousseau was able to clearly establish what the social contract actually is, as well as what the roles of governments and citizens under those governments are. By studying ‘The Social Contract’ a better understanding of how Rousseau’s ideas helped change Absolutist governments can be achieved.
Perhaps one of the most important ideas Rousseau described in ‘The Social Contract’ was what the social contract actually is. He did this in Book I chapter 8: Civil Society. Rousseau began this chapter with a little bit of background explanation by saying that men will be changed as a civil society gradually evolves from its original and natural state. Speaking of the social contract he then claimed that, “it puts justice as a rule of conduct in the place of instinct and gives his actions the moral quality they previously lacked.” (Contract, p20). Rousseau quickly continued by explaining that men will stop

Get Access