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Single Idea 19785

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / a. Slavery]

Full Idea

The jurists who have gravely pronounced that the child of a slave woman is born a slave, have decided, in other words, that a man is not born a man.

Gist of Idea

If the child of a slave woman is born a slave, then a man is not born a man

Source

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Part II)

A Reaction

The hidden premise of this enthymeme is that man is born free. A key issue of liberalism is the status of children. Are the children of religious believers automatically members of that sect? Can I be born a West Ham supporter?

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.74