Rousseau on slavery,

Essay by tunetown187University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2002

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Jean Jacques Rousseau led a turbulent life. His mother died at his birth and his father deserted him shortly thereafter. Running from one set of friends to another as a young man he did settle long enough to do some serious writing from time to time. The Social Contract is considered one of his best works. This essay describes the relationship of man with society. Contrary to his earlier work, Rousseau claimed that the state of nature is "brutish condition without law or morality, and that there are good men only a result of society's presence. In the state of nature, man is prone to be in frequent competition with his fellow men. Because he can be more successful facing threats by joining with other men, he has the impetus to do so. He joins together with his fellow men to form the collective human presence known as `society.'" "The Social Contract" is the `compact' agreed to among men that sets the conditions for membership in this society (phil/rousseau.html).

Rousseau, considered a frontrunner of modern socialism, was one of the first modern writers to seriously attack the institution of private property, and therefore is considered a forebear of Communism as well. He questioned the assumption that the will of the majority is always the correct one, and he argued that the goal of government should be to secure freedom, equality, and justice for all within the state, regardless of the will of the majority.

One of the most important principles of Rousseau's political philosophy is that politics and morality should not be separated. Rousseau felt that when a state fails to act in a moral fashion, it ceases to function in the proper manner and ceases to exert genuine authority over the individual. According to Rousseau as well, the second...