This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Different Ideas Of Liberty In Rousseau's Thought.

2399 words - 10 pages

During the 17th Century, a fundamental shift in political thought began to occur within Europe. People began to grow disenchanted with the longstanding notion of divine right placed on their kings, ordained through the religious elite in power. In light of this, philosophers from the era started to look at new ways in which to understand the relationship between the individual, society and nature. Of particular importance was Jean-Jacques Rousseau's political doctrine regarding the 'social contract'. Built upon the theories of Thomas Hobbes, Rousseau called for a system whereby society would, for one, effectively be ruled by a government whom had attained authority through a willing consent on the part of the people, and not through religious authority as the convention had been in the past. In his attempt to explain the complex existence of man and his relationship to the world, Rousseau theorized that in the State of Nature (the state of man's harmony with nature, devoid of any structured social system), people were born good but soon turned corrupt due to their interactions with society and social expectations. Furthermore, Rousseau believed that, while the State of Nature allowed man to have natural liberty allowing him free license to do as he pleased, he was constrained by the very fact that his fellow man could just the same rob him of his possessions if the aggressor was physically stronger than he. Thus, while man was technically a free being, he did not truly have freedom. In realisation of this, Rousseau developed his now famous quote, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains" (1988, p.17). To rectify this tragic state of affairs, Rousseau proposed a 'social contract'. Since man needed to have social relations with his compatriots for the purposes of his own self-preservation, Rousseau's theory proposed a system whereby all men submitted themselves to a 'general will', of which they themselves would be the authors. Whilst the abdication of their natural liberty would be required in order for this social contract to work, Rousseau believed that through this system, man gained civil and moral liberty in its place, thus allowing man to truly be free. But how can man be free if he is constrained by a social contract?This paper will first analyse the 'State of Nature' and man's natural liberty, and demonstrate that while man's natural liberty does allow for him to do as he pleases, the chaotic nature of social interaction forces him to live in fear and diffidence, thus allowing him no real freedom to speak of. Thereafter, I shall analyse Rousseau's position on societies as corrupt and 'unfree', so as to establish the need to force them to be free through his social contract. The social contract itself will then be examined, with much focus on the style of government that Rousseau advocates. Lastly, I will attempt to demonstrate how, as Rousseau believes, man gains true freedom in the shape of civil and moral liberty, thus...

Find Another Essay On The different ideas of liberty in Rousseau's thought.

The Significance of Reason, discussed in John Locke's "The Second Treatise of Civil Government", and in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's, "Emile"

1353 words - 5 pages The significance of reason is discussed both in John Locke's, The Second Treatise of Civil Government, and in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's, Emile. However, the definitions that both authors give to the word "reason" vary significantly. I will now attempt to compare the different meanings that each man considered to be the accurate definition of reason.John Locke believed that the state "all men are naturally in ... is a state of perfect freedom" (122

The Definition of Liberty Essay

669 words - 3 pages , captivity, suppression, domination, or bullying. In conclusion, visiting the Statue of Liberty will not fully define the concept of what liberty truly means; an individual must understand the definition, the characteristics, the types, and what liberty is not. Liberty means different things to different individuals. Some individuals will see liberty as negative or positive, natural, civil, political, economic, or national. Other individuals will view liberty as freedom, hope, power, responsibility, and independence. Liberty is not absent from all restraints, but is absent from unjustifiable and tyrannical restrictions.

The Liberty of Freedom

1866 words - 7 pages The Limits of Freedom Liberty is the state of being free, to be able to speak and say anything freely. Liberty was not absolute for everybody. Back then and even today people still don’t have complete liberty in America. The early Americans put limits on freedom even when they were trying to create more freedom. They type of limits that the early Americans put on freedom were limits on freedom of speech, and much more. Even with the American

The Sound of Liberty

1333 words - 5 pages restricted the power of the federal government (Observing Constitution Day). All of these documents were written, criticised, analysed, and ratified to prevent any one group of people from having too much power. This was a result of the rule of the king of England which colonist escaped to forge their own nation. A nation that was built on the concept of freedom and liberty for every man. This is the theme of Drake's poem "The American Flag" in

The Fields of Freedom in the Land of Liberty

596 words - 3 pages to that of the powerful Greek wind god, Eolus. Wheatley instructs Washington to continue forward, to “Proceed” in the cause for independence (Line 39). She announces that even other countries watch, eager to see America succeed in its quest for liberty. Phillis Wheatley conveys America as an exemplary, independent country that deserves freedom through the use of personification, symbolism, similes, and diction. Phillis Wheatley personifies

How do the ideas and language of the speeches in this scene help to reveal different attitudes we observe in the play to Othello's blackness/otherness?

592 words - 2 pages How do the ideas and language of the speeches in this scene help to reveal different attitudes we observe in the play to Othello's blackness/otherness?The dialect in 'Othello' plays a vital role in the play as the audience understands how people treat Othello and how they subtly insult him. In an era where black people were mistreated and were not as equal to their white counter parts Shakespeare uses race as a key theme to distance Othello from

What is the Nature of the Liberty Desire in Singapore?

1288 words - 5 pages word ‘liberty’ was uttered, its meaning adapts to suit a new context like the flow of water meeting a new obstacle. So what is the nature of liberty from the perspective of Authoritarian city-state Singapore? In a country the size of Singapore, radical variations in style, culture, and preferences are few and far in between. As such, many of the different areas in which liberty can usually be applied to in places such as America may not be

The Question of Liberty and Freedom of Women in Islam

1735 words - 7 pages Islam essay A debated matter in contemporary society, which has evolved overtime, is the mounting question of liberty and freedom of women in Islam, with specific reference to the veil. In saying that, the controversial issue of the covering of the head will be discussed with close reference to the Quran, Authentic hadith, scholarly consensus (ijma^) and scholarly articles, particularly talking about the evolution of the matter as well as

Cross Pollination of Ideas in the Crusades

1008 words - 4 pages seems to encourage a higher than normal outpouring of ideas and creativeness. Also the restrictions in effect on certain areas are temporarily forgotten, such as the case with the Nazi medical experiments. These medical experiments were brutal and extremely cruel, but they did help medicine, especially in the areas of amputation and the grafting of body parts. The Crusades were no different in this respect; ideas and customs flourished and were

The Power of Thought

730 words - 3 pages . E. Richards Middle School. Rigor wasn’t the challenge that Philip faced, but it was his work ethic. School wasn’t a challenge for him, so all throughout elementary school, Philip lack a sense of competition. He’d never even thought about studying. Moving into middle school, he experienced things that he’d never experienced in elementary school. There were many people who made better grades than him. He still made all A’s so he was fine with

Ideas of Virute in Machiaveli's The Prince

782 words - 4 pages control in order to be an effective leader. Instead of the common phrase “Make Love, Not War”, the viewpoint in this book is “Make War, Not Love”. “When princes have thought more of ease than of arms, they have lost their states.” This quote from The Prince truly captures Machiavelli’s rough outlook on the leadership of leaders. Once they become soft they will not succeed, so the best thing to do is to be good at war.

Similar Essays

Jean Jacques Rousseau's The State Of War

1096 words - 4 pages . This is but one of the conflicting ideas ranged against Rousseau's rather pessimistically realist conclusion; others are certainly possible. In conclusion, Rousseau very convincingly points out the strengths of a confederation of states for ensuring peace, but overstates the case in discussing obstacles to the formation of such a union. He presents an elegant and appealing, but overly simple, explanation of the impossibility, giving no consideration to any other possibilities, including the historical example of the enlightened despot mentioned above.

Liberty In The History Of America

2498 words - 10 pages that was for the people and by the people (67). Tocqueville, in contrast to the Puritans, believed in the importance of popular sovereignty. This was an area that America could improve in because, during his time, many people were being excluded from voting and participating in government. He said, “The very essence of democratic government consists in the absolute sovereignty of the majority” (254), but he thought that this liberty of making

Use Of Colors To Symbolize The Many Different Intangible Ideas In The Book "The Great Gatsby" By F.Sott Fitzgerald

747 words - 3 pages like an artist. He uses colors to symbolize the many different intangibleideas in the book. He uses the color yellow to symbolize moral decay decadence anddeath. Then he uses the color white to symbolize innocence. He also uses the color greento express hope. Fitzgerald's use of the color green the strongest. Although these are notthe only colors that Fitzgerald uses for symbolism, they are the ones that he expresses themost. This book is a very

"Macbeth" "The Construction Of Macbeth In Different Media For Different Audiences Involves Much More Than The Adaptation Of Ideas And Form."

1323 words - 5 pages The different versions of "Macbeth" in various types of media does not just involve the adaption of ideas and form. It involves the different depiction of play interpretation, freedom of expressing one's self or the lack of it, the directors' and writer's points of view and the significance of theme portrayal by the writers and directors as they find suitable. Each production of Macbeth expresses the feelings of its time and culture and this is