return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19795

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / e. General will]

Full Idea

The act of association is a reciprocal commitment of public and private individuals, and each individual, contracting with himself, is under a twofold commitment, as a member of the sovereign to individuals, and as a member of the state to the sovereign.

Gist of Idea

The act of association commits citizens to the state, and the state to its citizens


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], I.7)

A Reaction

This seems to be expressed in modern terms as a mutual entailment of rights and duties. Where the traditional social contract is just between individuals, this seems to be a contract with a unified abstraction, of state commitment to citizens.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.149