Summary: "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains."
These are the famous opening words of a treatise which, from the French Revolutionary Terror to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, has been interpreted as a blueprint for totalitarianism. But in The Social Contract Rousseau (1712-78) was at pains to stress the connection between liberty and law, freedom and justice. Arguing that the ruler is the people's agent, not its master, he claimed that ...show more laws derived from the people's General Wit. Yet in preaching subservience to the impersonal state he came close to defining freedom as the recognition of necessity. ...show less
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