Free Essay About Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau had a radical political agenda, radical for his time, the main idea of it was the democratic organization of public life through the "social contract". The idea that the state arises on the voluntary union, noted in his "Discourse on Inequality", described in more detail in the "political economy" and later the "social compact." In his works, Rousseau explores not only the origin and development of the state, but also the principles of public law, in other words - the basis of a legitimate state.
Rousseau distinguishes natural and social inequality. Of course, he recognizes that nature creates different people, but not these differences are responsible for social inequality - its cause is private property. It is worth emphasizing, because it was a revolutionary idea, something new brought to the problem of understanding the causes of inequality: the inequality is public; it was an inevitable historical event; it is due to the appearance of private property.
How did the private property appear? Rousseau makes a number of interesting guesses. First, make initial seizure of territory. Secondly, he links the emergence of private property with the increase in labor productivity, which made it possible to produce a surplus product, and hence the possibility of exploitation of the subject by others. Private property was the basis for the future of civil society and the cause of the economic and political inequality.
The state and the government appeared after the appearance of social inequality. Under the excuse of the need to establish civil peace the "rich", according to Rousseau, offered the "poor" to form authority and the “poor” did not refuse, after all, they needed the peace and comfort that state provides, although the creation of state promised preferential benefits to the “rich”.
Rousseau emphasizes that true social contract is republican, as an expression of the general will, despite the fact that the form of government can be different: either aristocratic or oligarchic or democratic. For small states democracy is more acceptable, for large - aristocracy. The most significant at the conclusion of the social contract, according to Rousseau, is that it established the sovereignty of the people, which is indivisible and inalienable. These characteristics lies the conviction Rousseau that power should only belong to the people, that it cannot be alienated from the people. That accepting or rejecting the laws only people alone can, because only in this way is the general will expressed.
The main provisions of the theory of the social contract are:
Every person is born free and is its own master, no one is able to subdue a person without its consent. Rousseau emphasized that a person owes nothing to those, whom he promised nothing;
Only treaties and agreements can serve as a basis of law. In contrast to natural law Rousseau put forward the idea of political rights, that is based on contracts;
The basis of any legitimate authority among the people can only be agreements: legal authority arises from the voluntary agreement of free and virtuous people. In this case, the divine origin of power is rejected;
As a result of the social contract an association of free and equal individuals is formed: freedom and equality of all parties to the treaty provides a unified nation in an indivisible whole, whose interests may not conflict with the interests of private persons;
Under the terms of the social contract, sovereignty belongs to the people. In this case, the people's sovereignty is understood as the common will of the people. It is inalienable and indivisible. Rousseau emphasized that power can be passed, but not the will;
The essence of the theory of the social contract is the transfer of power from the people to the state. Such social contract, according to Rousseau, gives the authority (the state) unlimited power over all citizens;
In all forms of government sovereignty and legislative power belongs to all the people, which are the source of power;
People have a right not only to change the form of government, but also to terminate the agreement itself and again to regain the natural freedom;
Emphasizing the indivisibility of sovereignty, Rousseau opposed the separation of powers.
Even the deputies Rousseau considers as semi-authorized representatives of the people - they are not and can not be his representatives totally, but they are only its commissioners and cannot decide or proclaim anything themselves. However, Rousseau felt that the idea of self-government of the people is not always possible, therefore suggests that such management may be only possible in small states.
Rousseau believes, that if the state provides unlimited authority of the people - it ensures the rule of law, justice and is therefore sustainable.
Rousseau’s progressive views on the establishment of the supreme authority with social contract did attract worldwide attention. Principles of his theory were partly put into practice the adoption of the "Declaration of the Rights of Man" in August 1789 in Paris, as well as the Constitution of the United States of America. In addition to defining the principles of public law, that is the foundation of a legitimate state, Rousseau expressed the most important benchmarks for determining the socio-political conditions of the rights and freedoms of the individual. Thus his influence on contemporary states and law is undeniable and the fact that his ideas are still relevant only proves that there`s not much to disagree.
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