(For Western Civ Class) Primary Sources: Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract (1762) and John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1689). What are the authors' views and how are they different? What are they responding to? What do they think politics should look like? Etc.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract which was written in 1762 is a book which revolutionized the society and it outlook. He states that the civil society does nothing to ensure the individual birth rights of an individual. So, only a legitimate political authority according to Rousseau is the only way people can come together to achieve that. Social contract is where people come together to protect the natural rights of each other and it is very mutual. He argues that people may have their individual opinions and wants but when they come to a common place they will be ruled by a general will or sovereignty which will determine the social behavior. Rousseau also brings in the idea of the consent of the ruled by which he says that any form of government should seek the public opinion before deciding on the laws and people need to vote for or against according to the general will not by their personal opinions. His questioned the divine power of the monarchs by saying that only people have the sovereign power and not anyone else.
John Locke in his famous work Two Treatise of Governments, states that men are naturally free and equal. He argues that people entrust some of their rights to the government in order to make sure that all of their other rights are protected. He refused to accept the divine power of the monarchs by saying that the real power lies with the people. He says that a real government is one which goes with the consent of the people. His primary argument that people in a natural state do not required to seek permission from anyone as they will be acting according to the nature’s way where everyone will be equal.
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