The Social Contract | Study Guide

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Book 1 an is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. The Enlightenment European thinkers embraced rational thought as a means for improving human life in the 17th and 18th centuries. Divine Monarchs During the Enlightenment, people questioned the divine right of monarchs to rule. Context Revolution Rousseau wrote just before an era of revolutions aimed at creating limited government and justice for the masses. Immanuel Kant A foremost philosopher, Kant argued that people have a duty to enter into a social contract to protect their right to freedom. Romantic Naturalism 19th-century Romantic artists embraced Rousseau's idea of the state of nature. Constitutions The United States and France created social contracts, or constitutions, after their revolutions. We the People Rousseau’s Influence Sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius by Leo Damrosch, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc. The Social Contractby the Numbers Age when Rousseau ran away from his home city of Geneva after being locked out for violating curfew 15 Years after his death that Rousseau was interred in the Panthéon in Paris as a hero of the French Revolution 16 Year Rousseau started living as a fugitive after the Genevan authorities ordered his arrest for writing The Social Contract 1763 Rousseau was an 18th-century philosopher and novelist who dramatically influenced the French Revolution and the political philosophy of the Enlightenment. Born in Geneva, Rousseau was influenced by both the French philosophic tradition and the democratic practice of the Swiss city-states. JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU1712–78 Author By the mid-18th century, the divine right of monarchs to rule was under serious scrutiny. What could replace monarchies? According to Rousseau, a sovereign people need not rely on a ruler. They can instead agree to give up some rights to freedom for governmental protection of their rights to life and property—a social contract. What Makes a Just Society? MAIN IDEAS Contract Rousseau used the metaphor of a contract to explore the relationship between individuals and their societies and legitimate government. General Will The ability to govern can only be legitimate if it comes from the people. Parliamentary Assembly Government needs to be separate from the people in order to maintain impartiality and legitimacy. State & Property One of the legitimate exercises of state power is the protection of property. Individual Freedom Protecting individual freedom must be balanced with creating an ordered society that best serves all interests. French Original Language 1762 Year Published Jean-Jacques Rousseau Author The Social Contract Philosophy Nonfiction

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