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The Social Contract



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Author: Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
ISBN: 9780140442014
Publisher: Penguin UK
Year First Published: 1998
Pages: 192
Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 15mm
Format: Paperback / softback

‘Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains’ These are the famous opening words of a treatise that has not ceased to stir vigorous debate since its first publication in 1762. Rejecting the view that anyone has a natural right to wield authority over others, Rousseau argues instead for a pact, or ‘social contract’, that should exist between all the citizens of a state and that should be the source of sovereign power. From this fundamental premise, he goes on to consider issues of liberty and law, freedom and justice, arriving at a view of society that has seemed to some a blueprint for totalitarianism, to others a declaration of democratic principles.