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

Legitimate And Illegitimate Government For Jean Jaques Rousseau

1659 words - 7 pages

Jean-Jacques Rousseau begins his "Social contract" with the classic statement "Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains." Upon making this statement Rousseau means that after man leaves the state of nature and enters civilization he subjects himself to new restrictions that never infringed on his personal liberty in the natural state. Rousseau's social contract had a principal goal of showing how although man has to be governed and abide laws, liberty can be maintained and political institutions can be and must be legitimate. If the laws or regime are illegitimate, by design, they should not be supported and they should be repealed. Rousseau realizes that a return to natural liberty like that in the state of nature is an impossibility at this point in civilization. However, man can regain another type of liberty, moral liberty. Moral liberty allows each individual to be "masters of themselves". Human beings are essentially free, and were free in the State of Nature, but the progress of society has created subservience to others, through dependence for socioeconomic needs and how we view ourselves through comparison with others. Therefore the problem that the social contract seeks to solve is how we can live free while are lives are intertwined amongst each other in society. In this paper, I intend on exploring the concepts of legitimate and illegitimate government.Rousseau discusses the idea of "might makes right" in book I of the social contract. Rousseau is revealing that personal liberty and freedom are at stake under an absolute monarch. Rousseau believes that if an individual is coerced into an act of obedience to a ruler that does not necessarily confer any legitimate power to the ruler because the only reason he is obeyed is the threat of force that will force individuals to oblige. This concept can be defined as orders backed by threats or coercive force. For Rousseau as well as most logical people if a gunmen demands that you hand over your wallet you will oblige him, however the act of robbery will never be viewed as a moral act. For most philosophers like Rousseau, something that is tainted from the beginning or immoral cannot end up being moral or viewed as just. Moreover, if might makes right conferred power to an individual or an alliance of individuals as soon as the people could overthrow the government they would have rightly staked their claim as the stronger and would be the rightful heir to its power for they would have displayed their collective might over government. If this is not true then the might was not a legitimate claim to rule to start with. Therefore, the ability to rule by force or strength is no right at all. Rousseau states that as long as a people are forced to obey and they comply they do well; however, he also claims that if the people can shake off that yoke their situation will be superior to the former. Therefore, subjects in a state should follow the coercive commands of a tyrant for...

Find Another Essay On Legitimate and Illegitimate Government for Jean Jaques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke: Their Relevance for American Society

2166 words - 9 pages In Second Treatise on Government and The Social Contract, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau each present and describe their own perceptions of what allows for equality, freedom and democracy. Of the many major ideas developed throughout these texts, the two main distinctions between the two philosophers are natural freedom versus civil freedom and individualism versus collectivism. John Locke, who provided the framework that would allow for

John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau on Equality and Democracy

1567 words - 6 pages of the sovereign's will. It is all people asking what is good for the community, making decisions for that good and not themselves, says Rousseau (Porter 411).The legitimate necessity for government is explained by Rousseau: "All justice comes from God; He alone is its source. But if we knew how to receive it from on high, we would need neither government nor laws." Though our human reason can derive universal justice, "This justice must be

Inferring Freedom and Equality. Speaks of Jean Jacques Rousseau

992 words - 4 pages Many of Earth's organisms and processes depend on each other to survive the natural world. Jean Jacques Rousseau employed this aspect of natural dependency to connect the ideas of freedom and equality together. Rousseau theorized many ingenious ideas for an upcoming legitimate government. The American Constitution and the basis of this nation's bureaucracy adopted many of his opinions, along with John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, into the making of

Comparison of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1269 words - 5 pages Human nature and its relevance in determining behaviors, predictions, and conclusions has caused dispute among philosophers throughout the ages. Political philosophy with its emphasis on government legitimacy, justice, laws, and rights guided the works of the 17th and 18th century philosophical writings of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Through Thomas Hobbes world-renowned publication Leviathan and Rousseau’s discourses on basic

The Life and Philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

841 words - 3 pages Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an influential French philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. Rousseau was born on the eighteenth of June 1712 and died in 1778. During his lifetime, this philosopher brought about many new thoughts and ideas that help create the societies of most countries today. Some of his ideas helped contributed to concepts such as civilization being responsible for corrupting humanity's nature, child development, possibilities of

Comparing John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

2042 words - 8 pages Comparing John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all dealt with the issue of political freedom within a society. John Locke's “The Second Treatise of Government”, Mill's “On Liberty”, and Rousseau’s “Discourse On The Origins of Inequality” are influential and compelling literary works which while outlining the conceptual framework of each thinker’s ideal state present

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and The Essence of Human Nature

1757 words - 7 pages . But, he does not necessarily persuade the reader man is good. He needs not persuade the reader in truth. He needs only to create doubt in the minds of the readers so that the individual may question the need for society. In this purpose, Rousseau accomplishes his task. He created a natural world in which the natural man is good leaving the societal man to question his role in society. Is equality necessary? Is authority necessary? These are the questions the reader must answer. Works Cited Rousseau, Jean-Jacques and Victor Gourevitch. The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Questionaire: Jean- Jacques Rousseau and The Social Contract

1266 words - 5 pages Ques: “The problem is to find a form of association… in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before.” Does Rousseau have a convincing solution to the problem he poses? In the 1700’s Jean- Jacques Rousseau wrote The Social Contract. During this time, the social contract was fairly new theory. It stated in order to have a democracy laws were needed which caused everyone to give up

Comparison of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1147 words - 5 pages Rousseau says is that a strong central government is not necessary for a society to thrive peacefully and successfully. If you look back throughout history though this is not true. For example, the United States Revolution in the late 1700’s. After the American colonies had gained freedom from Great Britain, the leaders of the United States enacted the Articles of Confederation. These documents had no strong central authority. Because of this the first

Rousseau and the "Government of Poland"

903 words - 4 pages saved and all Poles to be happy and free.Rousseau thought that Poland could in fact be saved but it would take some time and effort. Rousseau didn't suggest to the Polish government to build armies because he believed that national armies were only good for obtaining more land, thus taking land would create more self interest in the people of Poland. Once Poland started obtaining land, they would most likely become hungry for more, and finally

In what ways and to what extent is an understanding of historical context important in approaching the works of David Rousseau and Jaques Louis David?

1201 words - 5 pages In what ways and to what extent isan understanding of historical contextimportant in approaching the works of(a)Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and(b)Jacques-Louis David.In this essay I will attempt to illustrate how an ahistorical approach to the works of David and Rousseau is possible. I will discuss how a historical approach adds to this and as such assess its importance in fully appreciating their work.We can approach David's paintings with a purely

Similar Essays

How Does Rousseau Argue That The Exercise Of Force Cannot Provide A Legitimate Basis For Social Order? The Areas Of Shared Concern Between Rousseau And David's Brutus

1135 words - 5 pages Jean-Jacques Rousseau argues that the exercise of force (physical power) cannot provide a legitimate basis for social order; some may say that the strongest always win, but how do they win and will they always win? The power produced by force doesn't create duty, only obedience. Let's take for example a wealthy land owner; do his employees work hard for him at all times or just when they are being watched? His power over them is their wages

Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

2132 words - 9 pages Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed theories on human nature and how men govern themselves. With the passing of time, political views on the philosophy of government gradually changed. Despite their differences, Hobbes and Rousseau, both became two of the most influential political theorists in the world. Their ideas and philosophies spread all over the world influencing the creation of

Jean Jacques Rousseau And Political Powers Essay

990 words - 4 pages The proper use and limits of governmental power have different implications for each theorist that we have studied. Some see its power as all-encompassing, while others see it as more narrow, controlled and regulated. For this essay, I chose to examine the philosophies of the theorists with whom I disagree with the least: Rousseau, Locke, and Rawls. One can always recall Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s famous line: “Man is born free, and everywhere he

Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

2212 words - 9 pages Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have very different views on the social contract largely based on their fundamental views of the state of nature in humanity. These basic views of natural human nature cause Hobbes and Rousseau to have views on opposite sides of the spectrum, based on two controversial speculations, that human is inherently good or that human is inherently inclined towards egotism and perpetual insecurity. Due to his