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: 38,795

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.

Table of contents

The Social Contract Translator's acknowledgments Introduction Foreword Book I Book II Book III Book IV