Discourse on Political Economy

Discourse on Political Economy

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This title is among the permanent classics of political theory. Influenced by Montesquieu's "Spirit of Laws" (1748), it argues that the basis of any legitimate society must be the agreement of its members. Censored in its own time for its revolutionary tendencies, and still controversial in many respects, it is a main source of democratic belief. Rousseau is essentially a radical thinker, and in a broad sense a revolutionary. His doctrine states that as humans are born free, their subjection to government must be based on analysis of "the general will", his greatest contribution to political theory, which attempts to show how individuals can be united by self-interest, and so validate the society in which they live and the constraints which it imposes on them. Christopher Betts is the editor of "Rousseau: 'Discourse on Inequality'", and the translator of "Persian Letters" (Montesquieu).show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 245 pages
  • 116.84 x 185.42 x 10.16mm | 158.76g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0192827502
  • 9780192827500

Table of contents

Book I: the subject of the first book; the first societies; the right of the strongest; slavery; that it is always necessary to go back to an original convention; the social pact; the sovereign; the civil state. Book II: that sovereignty cannot be transfered; that sovereignty cannot be divided; whether the general will can err; the limits of sovereign power; the right of life and death; the law; the legislator; the people; the same continued; the same continued; the various systems of legislation; the categories of law. Book III: government in general; the constituent principle of the various forms of government; the classification of governments; democracy; aristocracy; monarchy; mixed forms of government; that not all forms of government are suitable for every country; the signs of good government; the abuse of government and its tendency to degenerate; the death of the body politic; how sovereign authority is maintained; the same continued; the same continued; deputies or representatives; that the institution of a government is not a contract; the institution of government; a means of preventing government from usurping power. Book IV: that the general will is indestructible; voting; elections; the Roman "Comitia"; the tribunate; the office of dictator; the office of censor; the civil religion. Appendix: the general society of the human race.show more

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132 ratings
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2 5% (6)
1 1% (1)
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