Category: Liberty & Dignity

By Jean Jacques Rousseau

Published in 1797

Reference #0298

First American Edition. First published in 1762 in French, Rousseau’s chief work, ‘Social Compact,’ also known as ‘The Social Contract,’ is a treatise on the origins and organization of government and the rights of citizens.

His thesis states that, since no man has any natural authority over another, the social contract, freely entered into, creates natural reciprocal obligations between citizens. The individual, as basic political unit, surrenders his rights to the State, and is legally equal to all other members.

Some critics assert that the injustices of collectivism and “democratic despotism” during the French Revolution and later in the 19th and 20th centuries were, in part, derived from his work.