The Social Contract
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The Social Contract

By (author) Jean-Jacques Rousseau , Translated by Maurice Cranston

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'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.

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  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 124.46 x 193.04 x 15.24mm | 136.08g
  • 27 Jun 1974
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0140442014
  • 9780140442014
  • 46,370

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Author Information

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) the French political philosopher and educationalist, is the author of A Discourse on Inequality, and Emile. Maurice Cranston was Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and wrote and published widely on Rousseau, including two volumes of biography.

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