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The Social Contract Paperback – Jan 1 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Digireads.com (Jan. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420926950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420926958
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.5 x 20 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,638,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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MAN was born free, and he is everywhere in chains. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca on June 26 2004
Format: Paperback
This work attests to the application of human freedoms within the
context of organizational structures and governmental institutions . The author explains how the general or collective
will intervenes when it is proper to do so. In addition, the will
is believed to be omnipotent. In the long run, states tend to act in ways that promote self-preservation and perpetuation.
Governments are divided into democracies, monarchies, royalties
and in other organizational frameworks consistent with accomplishing a variety of missions. The State is far removed
from the family. Nevertheless, it is charged with promulgating
laws and conventions agreeable to the general or collective will.
This work is an important contribution to comparative governmental organizations and structures. It explains the
applicable rationale for implementing political distinctions
of virtually every variety and type.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chad M. Brick on Aug. 21 2001
Format: Paperback
Rousseau's treatise on the nature of people and their government has left a lasting imprint on political discourse. Though at times passionate and persuasive, most of the short book was simply too vague for Rousseau's semantic games to be indisputable, and sometimes even comprehensible. Some of his ideas are simply wrong, such as the "noble savage", while others quite clearly debatable, such as the social contract itself. I, for one, would fear to live in Rousseau's ideal world, where every right I have is only mine so long as the majority (who never can be wrong) wills it.
Whether you agree with him or not, plowing through Rousseau's 150 pages is a necessity for anyone who wants to carry on high-level political discourse.
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Format: Paperback
This is a valuable historical document, because it shows us the thinking that led up to the French Revolution. Rousseau wrote: "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains." What Rousseau means by this is that Man is born free in the State of Nature - it is society, government, and urban life that are the corruptive forces. Without those things, Rousseau argues, man would exist in peaceful co-habitation. What is striking to the modern reader about this claim is how blatantly wrong it is. Rousseau was trying to refute Thomas Hobbes who wrote that the State of Nature is the same as the State of War. Apparently Hobbes got the better of the argument because, as soon as the French Revolution took effect, peaceful liberty went out the window in favor of the Reign of Terror.
But, back to Rousseau. He claims that, even though men in nature peacefully co-exist, it is more beneficial for them to come together to form a society. Thus they SHOULD come together and form a Social Contract. The ideal contract for Rousseau would entail the individual GIVING UP ALL HIS RIGHTS on entering the contract with the understanding that he will get them all back from the Sovereign. Who is the Sovereign? Well, for Rousseau, the Sovereign is the People. If Rousseau's Ideal State were an organism, it would be a large one-celled organism with no differentiation. This is very much unlike Hobbes' Leviathan, with the Sovereign at the head and each part assigned its individual task. For Rousseau, only the SOCIETY AS A WHOLE has the right to govern.
Of course, this system is incredibly unwieldy, that is why - in Rousseau's world - there are a whole bunch of little city-states, like ancient Athens. HERE COMES THE SCARY PART.
Read more ›
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By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 17 2003
Format: Paperback
Deeply influential book, "The Social Contract" is a "must read" for anybody interested in the history of political ideas, or even in history. It had a big influence on the French Revolution, and in many movements after it that considered that the individual owes everything to the state.
After reading this book you will be astounded by the insight that Rousseau (1712-1778) showed. He explains us, among other things, the reason for the formation of political society, and the origin of the social contract.
I believe this is a good book to start a study on political ideas. It is simple and well written, it has had an important political impact and can make you curious enough to know more. If you are interested, read also a book about the history of political ideas (for example the one written by George Sabine), because it can guide you to other interesting books, and can give you a deeper insight into the ideas, circumstances and life of Rousseau.
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By G. F Gori on Jan. 8 2003
Format: Paperback
Jean Jacques Rousseau is truly a great intellectual.His Discourses and The Social Contract are some of the best in Enlightenment thinking. In the Discourses Rousseau exalts the "noble" savage free from the corrupting influence of modern civilization. He believes that civilization has corrupted man from his original, yet ignorant state. I found the Discourses to be a little flighty and unrealistic. The Social Contract was a different story altogether. This is a monumental work. In it Rousseau shows his vast knowledge of the Roman Republic and Empire and the reasons for it's rise and collapse. Rousseau also denounces monarchy and aristocracy as forms of government and exalts republicanism. He also decries the power of organized religion in the oppression of mankind. With his "General Will" theory of the social contract he shows true brilliance. A great buy.
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