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Journal 4 Revolutions in Western Politics

Journal 4 Revolutions in Western Politics - Journal Part...

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Journal Part Four: Revolutions in Western Politics 1. Rousseau Espouses Popular Sovereignty and the General Will  2. The United States Declaration of Independence  3. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen  _______________________________________________________________ _ 1. Rousseau Espouses Popular Sovereignty and the  General Will  Jean-Jacques Rousseau  (1762)  Background to the Document Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was one of the most gifted, and most difficult,  philosophes. Born in Geneva, Rousseau, the son of a watchmaker, rejected a mundane  career as a notary or an engraver. Ultimately, Rousseau made his way to Paris, where he  earned a living as a secretary, copyist, and writer. As he struggled to make a name for  himself in Paris's salon society, he accumulated various grievances against other  philosophes (including Denis Diderot, Baron Frederick Melchior Grimm, and Voltaire)  that would estrange Rousseau from mainstream Enlightenment society. Despite (or  maybe because of) his personal demons, Rousseau would produce a body of very  influential writings. His range of interests included educational theory, child-rearing,  psychology, political economy, and, of course, political philosophy. Unlike most other  Enlightenment writers, Rousseau rejected strict rationalism and endorsed the importance  of feelings and emotions as necessary complements to rationalism. As a result of his  emphasis on emotion, Rousseau is often considered one of the forerunners of the  65
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Romantic movement. His works include Emile: On Education (1762),  La Nouvelle  Heloise  (1761), his autobiographical Confessions (1781-1788), and articles in the  Encyclopedia; he is most famous for The Social Contract (1762). This work, which is  excerpted here, espouses a radical political system, democracy, and a form of  representation--the general will--which would resonate throughout the nineteenth and  twentieth centuries. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, in Translations and Reprints from the  Original Sources of European History (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,  1902), 1/6:14-16. Primary Source Document Since no man has any natural authority over his fellowmen, and since force is not the  source of right, conventions remain as the basis of all lawful authority among men. [Book  I, Chapter 4]. Now, as men cannot create any new forces, but only combine and direct those that exist,  they have no other means of self-preservation than to form by aggregation a sum of  forces which may overcome the resistance, to put them in action by a single motive  power, and to make them work in concert.
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