One of the enduring dogmas in politics is the role of “human nature.” Adherents of this view express satisfaction/dissatisfaction with contemporary political arrangements depending on whether these arrangements reflect their own conception of ‘human nature.’ As we saw this semester, however, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, and Karl Marx each have three very different conceptualizations of human nature. In an essay, explain the three conceptions offered by these thinkers. How does their conception of ‘human nature’ support their ideal political arrangements? Which of these three conceptions do you find more compelling, and why?[Helpful Hints: You must explain – as briefly as possible – the ‘story’ these authors tell about the genesis of human nature (Rousseau’s social contract, Burke and Marx’s respective stories about development). An ideal paper would use elements from Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality and the Social Contract, Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and The Communist Manifesto].Instructions: Papers should be 4 pages in length, double-spaced, in twelve point Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins. Four full pages.Thesis (20 pts): Intro sentence should be “In this essay, I argue that…(statement)… because…”Next two sentences should be specifying things stated in the book that will help your argument. Final statement say whether you agree/ disagree with the philosopher and why.Textual evidence (30 pts): Use book quotes from PHILOSOPHERS ONLY that draw back to the reasons from your thesis. In-text citation should look like (Burke, pg#), (Rousseau, pg#), (Marx, class)Analysis of evidence (30 pts): Reconstructing author’s argument respectfully (10 pts), critically engaging Todorov (agree/ disagree/questioning) (10 pts), development of argument (10 pts)Argument structure (10 pts): How paragraphs smoothly flow into each other.Conclusion (10 pts): restate argument (5 pts), Bibliography that ONLY contains:Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract and Discourses. Everyman, 1993Burke, Pocock. Reflections on the Revolution in France. Hackett, 1987.BELOW I ATTACHED THE BOOK PDFs SO IT WOULD BE EASIER FOR YOU. PLEASE CITE QUOTES FROM THEM AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE. I NEED AN 80% ON THIS PAPER TO PASS SO PLEASE DO YOUR BEST
rousseau1762.pdf
communist_manifesto.pdf
reflections_burke_pdf.pdf
rousseau_inequality.pdf
Unformatted Attachment Preview
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Copyright © Jonathan Bennett 2017. All rights reserved
[Brackets] enclose editorial explanations. Small ·dots· enclose material that has been added, but can be read as
though it were part of the original text. Occasional •bullets, and also indenting of passages that are not quotations,
are meant as aids to grasping the structure of a sentence or a thought. Every four-point ellipsis . . . . indicates the
omission of a brief passage that seems to present more difficulty than it is worth. Longer omissions are reported
between brackets in normal-sized type.
First launched: December 2010
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Contents
BOOK 1
1. The subject of the first book . . . . . . . . . .
2. The first societies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3. The right of the strongest . . . . . . . . . . . .
4. Slavery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5. We must always go back to a first agreement
6. The social compact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7. The sovereign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. The civil state . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9. Real estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
BOOK 2
1. Sovereignty is inalienable . . . . . . . . . .
2. Sovereignty is indivisible . . . . . . . . . .
3. Can the general will be wrong? . . . . . . .
4. The limits of the sovereign power . . . . .
5. The right of life and death . . . . . . . . . .
6. The law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7. The law-maker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. The people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9. The people (continued) . . . . . . . . . . . .
10. The people (further continued) . . . . . .
11. Differences among systems of legislation
12. Classifying laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
BOOK 3
1. Government in general . . . . . . . . . .
2. The source of the variety among forms of
3. Classifying governments . . . . . . . . .
4. Democracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5. Aristocracy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6. Monarchy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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1
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2
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3
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6
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9
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27
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. . . . . . . .
government
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29
. 29
. . 31
. 33
. . 34
. 35
. 36
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The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
7. Mixed governments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. No one form of government suits all countries . . . . . .
9. The signs of a good government . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10. How government is abused. Its tendency to degenerate
11. The death of the body politic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
12. How the sovereign authority is maintained . . . . . . .
13. How the sovereign authority is maintained (continued)
14. How the sovereign authority is maintained (continued)
15. Deputies or representatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16. What establishes government isn’t a contract . . . . .
17. What does establish government . . . . . . . . . . . . .
18. How to protect the government from being taken over
Book 4
1. The general will is indestructible
2. Voting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3. Elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4. The comitia in ancient Rome . .
5. Tribunes . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6. Dictatorship . . . . . . . . . . . .
7. Censorship . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. Civic religion . . . . . . . . . . .
9. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . .
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54
. . 54
. 55
. . 57
. 58
. 63
. 65
. 66
. . 67
. 73
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39
40
43
44
46
46
47
48
49
51
51
52
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Glossary
agreement: The item that Rousseau calls a convention is
an event, whereas what we call ‘conventions’ (setting aside
the irrelevant ‘convention’ = ‘professional get-together’) are
not events but enduring states of affairs like the conventions
governing the meanings of words, the standards of politeness,
etc. So ‘convention’ is a wrong translation; and ‘agreement’
is right.
alienate: To alienate something that you own is to bring it
about that you no longer own it; in brief, to give it away or
sell it,
arbitrary: It means ‘brought into existence by the decision
of some person(s)’. It’s no part of the meaning here (as it is
today) that the decision was frivolous or groundless.
censorship: This translates Rousseau’s censure. It doesn’t
refer to censorship as we know it today; censure didn’t have
that meaning until the 19th century. Rousseau’s topic is a
role that certain officials had in some periods of the Roman
republic, namely as guardians of, and spokesmen for, the
people’s mœurs (see below). They could be thought of as an
institutionalising of the ‘court of public opinion’. On page 67
we see him stretching the original sense.
compact, contract: These translate Rousseau’s pacte and
contrat respectively. He seems to mean them as synonyms.
constitution: In this work a thing’s ‘constitution’ is the
sum of facts about how something is constituted, how its
parts hang together and work together (so the constitution
of a state is nothing like a document). Items credited
with ‘constitutions’ are organisms and political entities; the
mention on page 66 of the constitution of a people seems
aberrant.
magistrate: In this work, as in general in early modern
times, a ‘magistrate’ is anyone with an official role in government. The magistracy is the set of all such officials, thought
of as a single body.
mœurs: The mœurs of a people include their morality, their
basic customs, their attitudes and expectations about how
people will behave, their ideas about what is decent. . . and so
on. This word—rhyming approximately with ‘worse’—is left
untranslated because there’s no good English equivalent to
it. English speakers sometimes use it, for the sort of reason
they have for sometimes using Schadenfreude.
moral person: Something that isn’t literally person but is
being regarded as one for some theoretical purpose. See for
example pages 9 and 36.
populace: Rousseau repeatedly speaks of a ‘people’ in the
singular, and we can do that in English (‘The English—what a
strange people!’); but it many cases this way of using ‘people’
sounds strained and peculiar, and this version takes refuge
in ‘populace’. On page 4, for instance, that saves us from ‘In
every generation the people was the master. . . ’.
prince: As was common in his day, Rousseau uses ‘prince’
to stand for the chief of the government. This needn’t be a
person with the rank of Prince; it needn’t be a person at all,
because it could be a committee.
sovereign: This translates souverain. As Rousseau makes
clear on page 7, he uses this term as a label for the person
or group of persons holding supreme power in a state. In
a democracy, the whole people constitute a sovereign, and
individual citizens are members of the sovereign. In Books 3
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
and 4 ‘sovereign’ is used for the legislator (or legislature) as
distinct from the government = the executive.
able’, rather more strongly than whatever it is that you and I
mean by ‘wise’.
subsistence: What is needed for survival—a minimum of
food, drink, shelter etc.
you, we: When this version has Rousseau speaking of what
‘you’ or ‘we’ may do, he has spoken of what ‘one’ may do. It
is normal idiomatic French to use on = ‘one’ much oftener
than we can use ‘one’ in English without sounding stilted
(Fats Waller: ‘One never knows, do one?’).
wise: An inevitable translation of sage, but the meaning in
French carries ideas of ‘learned’, ‘scholarly’, ‘intellectually
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
1 2.
The first societies
BOOK 1
This little treatise is salvaged from a much longer work that I abandoned long ago, having started it without thinking about
whether I was capable of pulling it off. Of various bits that might be rescued from what I had written of that longer work, what I
offer here is the most substantial and, it seems to me, the least unworthy of being published. None of the rest of it is.
I plan to address this question: With men as they are and
with laws as they could be, can there be in the civil order
any sure and legitimate rule of administration? In tackling
this I shall try always to unite •what right allows with •what
interest demands, so that •justice and •utility don’t at any
stage part company.
I start on this without showing that the subject is important. You may want to challenge me: ‘So you want to write on
politics—are you then a prince [see Glossary] or a legislator?’ I
answer that I am neither, and that is why I write on politics.
If I were a prince or a legislator I wouldn’t waste my time
saying what should be done; I would do it, or keep quiet.
As I was born a citizen of a free state, and am a member
of its sovereign [see Glossary], my right to vote makes it my
duty to study public affairs, however little influence my voice
can have on them. Happily, when I think about governments
I always find that my inquiries give me new reasons for loving
the government of my own country!
If I took into account nothing but force and what can be
done by force, I would say:
‘As long as a people is constrained to obey, it does
well to obey; as soon as it can shake off the yoke, it
does even better to shake it off. ·If its right to do so is
challenged, it can answer that·: it gets its liberty back
by the same ‘right’—·namely, force·—that took it away
in the first place. Any justification for taking it away
equally justifies taking it back; and if there was no
justification for its being taken away ·no justification
for taking it back is called for·.’
But the social order ·isn’t to be understood in terms of force;
it· is a sacred right on which all other rights are based. But it
doesn’t come from nature, so it must be based on agreements.
Before coming to that, though, I have to establish the truth
of what I have been saying.
1. The subject of the first book
The most ancient of all societies, and the only natural one,
is the society of the family. Yet the children remain attached
to the father only for as long as they need him for their
preservation; as soon as this need ceases, the natural bond
is dissolved. The children, released from the obedience they
owed to the father, and the father, released from the care he
owed his children, return equally to independence. If they
remain united, this is something they do not •naturally but
2. The first societies
Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Here’s
one who thinks he is the master of others, yet he is more
enslaved than they are. How did this change come about? I
don’t know. What can make it legitimate? That’s a question
that I think I can answer.
1
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
1 3.
The right of the strongest
•voluntarily, and the family itself is then maintained only by
agreement.
This common liberty is an upshot of the nature of man.
His first law is to provide for his own preservation, his first
cares are those he owes to himself; and as soon as he can
think for himself he is the sole judge of the right way to take
care of himself, which makes him his own master.
You could call the family the prime model of political
societies: the ruler corresponds to the father, and the people
to the children; and all of them—·ruler, people, father,
children·—because they were born free and equal don’t give
up their liberty without getting something in return. The
whole difference is that •in the family the father’s care for
his children is repaid by his love for them, whereas •in the
state the ruler’s care for the people under him is repaid not
by love for them (which he doesn’t have!) but by the pleasure
of being in charge.
Grotius denies that all human power is established in
favour of the governed, and cites slavery as a counterexample.
His usual method of reasoning is to establish •right by
•fact [meaning: . . . ‘to draw conclusions about what should be the case
from premises about what is the case’]. Not the most logical of
argument-patterns, but it’s one that is very favourable to
tyrants.
. . . .Throughout his book, Grotius seems to favour—as
does Hobbes—the thesis that the human species is divided
into so many herds of cattle, each with a ruler who keeps
guard over them for the purpose of devouring them.
Philo tells us that the Emperor Caligula reasoned thus:
As a shepherd has a higher nature than his flock does,
so also the shepherds of men, i.e. their rulers, have a
higher nature than do the peoples under them;
from which he inferred, reasonably enough, that either kings
were gods or men were beasts.
This reasoning of Caligula’s is on a par with that of
Hobbes and Grotius. Aristotle, before any of them, had
said that men are not naturally equal because some are born
for slavery and others for command.
Aristotle was right; but he mistook the effect for the cause.
Every man born in slavery is born for slavery—nothing is
more certain than that. Slaves lose everything in their chains,
even the desire to escape from them: they love their servitude,
as Ulysses’ comrades loved their brutish condition ·when the
goddess Circe turned them into pigs·. So if there are slaves
by nature, that’s because there have been slaves against
nature. Force made the first slaves, and their cowardice kept
them as slaves.
I have said nothing about King Adam; or about Emperor
Noah, the father of three great monarchs who shared out
the universe (like Saturn’s children, whom some scholars
have recognised in them). [In Genesis 9 it is said that after the
flood Noah’s three sons ruled the world.] I hope to be given credit
for my moderation: as a direct descendant of one of these
princes—perhaps of the eldest branch—I don’t know that a
verification of titles wouldn’t show me to be the legitimate
king of the human race! Anyway, Adam was undeniably
sovereign of the world, as Robinson Crusoe was of his island,
as long as he was its only inhabitant; and this empire had
the advantage that the monarch, safe on his throne, had
nothing to fear from rebellions, wars, or conspirators.
3. The right of the strongest
The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master
unless he transforms •strength into •right, and •obedience
into •duty. Hence ‘the right of the strongest’—a phrase that
one might think is meant ironically, but is actually laid down
2
The Social Contract
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
1 4.
Slavery
4. Slavery
as a basic truth. But will no-one ever explain this phrase?
Force is a physical power; I don’t see what moral effect it
can have. Giving way to force is something you have to do,
not something you choose to do; ·or if you insist that choice
comes into it·, it is at most an act of •prudence. In what
sense can it be a •duty?
Since no man has a •natural authority over his fellow, and
•force creates no right, we are left with •agreements [see
Glossary] as the basis for all legitimate authority among men.
Grotius says:
If an individual can alienate [see Glossary] his liberty
and make himself the slave of a master, why couldn’t
a whole people alienate its liberty and make itself
subject to a king?
This contains several ambiguous words that need to be
explained, but let us confine ourselves to ‘alienate’. To
alienate something is to give or sell it. Now, a man who
becomes the slave of another does not give himself—he
sells himself at the rock-bottom price of his subsistence [see
Glossary]. But when a people sells itself what price is paid?
·Not their subsistence:· Far from providing his subjects with
their subsistence, a king gets his own subsistence only from
them. . . . Do subjects then give their persons on conditi …
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