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The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right

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First published in 1782


Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique


Translated in 1920 from the French, and with an Introduction by, George Douglas Howard Cole (1889-1959), English political theorist, economist, writer and historian.


Edited by Ernest Rhys


Foreword:

This little treatise is part of a longer work which I began years ago without realising my limitations, and long since abandoned. Of the various fragments that might have been extracted from what I wrote, this is the most considerable, and, I think, the least unworthy of being offered to the public. The rest no longer exists.


"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they. How did this change come about? I do not know. What can make it legitimate? That question I think I can answer."--from the Subject of the First Book


Fœderis æquas
Dicamus leges.--(Vergil, Æneid XI.)



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Recent Forum Posts on The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right

Rousseau help...

According to Rousseau was civil disobediance a legitimate course of action????:confused:

How social is The social contract?

I have recently encountered a rather elegant accusation of Rousseau's excluding women of his social equality cause and if anywhere implied in The Social contract I have obviously ignored it in reading the work.../ I suspect my motivation of reading it was somehow low, being exposed to constant threats/..Double standarts in Rousseau?...If indeed a part of his works, could the condescending attitude towards women be overlooked in Rousseau only for his well-built "masculine" social contract? How far does it depreciate the other efforts of the author, if in this case an appreciation is relevant at all? I welcome any information and comments...

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