The Social Contract

Author(s): Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Ideas & Philosophy

'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.


Product 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.

General Fields

  • : 9780140442014
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : May 1974
  • : 198mm X 129mm X 11mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • : 192