When in popular assembly a law is proposed, what the people is asked is not exactly whether it approves or rejects the proposal, but whether it is in conformity of the general will, which is their will. Each man in giving his vote, states his opinion on that point , and the general will is found by counting votes. When therefore the opinion that is contrary to my own prevails, this proves neither more not less than that I was mistaken and that what I thought to be the general will was not so. If my private opinion had prevailed, I would have done something other that what I had wanted. In the case I would not have been free
Social Contract Bk4 Ch2 (p206)
2. Jaques Louis David The Lictors returning To Brutus the Bodies of his Sons'
3.Caspar Friedrich - Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog
These three works were completed over a forty-six year period which marked turbulent times in Europe.
Rousseau published the social contract in 1762, twenty seven years before the 'Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen which is believed by many to have been inspired by Rousseau's work. David was completing 'The Lictors returning To Brutus the Bodies of his Sons' as the declaration was published. Viewers of the piece would have been aware of any 'messages' contained within the painting. Friedrich's 'Wanderer above the Sea of Fog' was unveiled in 1818, a mere four years after the German States had routed the Napoleonic invasion. This was a time of great patriotism, where many were looking for the states to unite to form a single country. Despite the differences in time, nationality and social situation, each of these pieces carries a message of individual responsibility to the state.