The Social Contract

An analytical essay on Jean Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract.

The paper defines and analyzes Jean Jacques Rousseau’s treatise about the civil government entitled, “The Social Contract”. It shows how this treatise introduces to us the concept of a the social contract which serves as an agreement between the people, called the Sovereign, and the appointed leader of their newly formed civil government. The paper discusses the huge responsibility of the civil government which serves as legislator. The paper refers to an example of this tremendous responsibility which was illustrated in a speech delivered by Franklin Hall in a Symposium Lecture in Lynchburg College, where Hall explains what makes a legitimate government.
“By saying that a government becomes “legitimate” only when it is consented by the governed, meaning by the people or the Sovereign, Hall reflects the truth behind Rousseau’s premise that it takes the approval of the Sovereign for a government to be effective and legitimate in its function for the State. Hall also was quoted saying that a social compact of Rousseau, should be of consent from the people up, not from the top, down (italics provided by the author). Again, he refers to Rousseau in pointing out the power of the people in implementing, even approving the laws that will be formulated by the legislative government. This statement is also a reflection of the power of people during elections. The election process is an example of the social compact Rousseau talks about and Hall refers to in his speech.”

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