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Single Idea 19791

[catalogued under 25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life]

Full Idea

Men are not naturally enemies, for the simple reason that men living in their original state of independence do not have sufficiently constant relationships among themselves to bring about either a state of peace or a state of war.

Gist of Idea

Natural mankind is too fragmented for states of peace, or of war and enmity


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], I.4)

A Reaction

He sees people in a state of nature as more or less solitary, and certainly in groups any more organised than a small family. One might then be in a state of permanent feud, rather than war, but without settlements people can move away.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.145