The Social Contract

The Social Contract

Paperback Penguin Classics

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

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  • Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 193mm x 15mm | 136g
  • Publication date: 27 June 1974
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140442014
  • ISBN 13: 9780140442014
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 44,894

Product description

'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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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.