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Single Idea 19822

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 9. Population / a. State population]

Full Idea

The ratio of the sovereign to the subject increases in proportion to the number of citizens. The larger the state becomes, the less liberty there is.

Gist of Idea

If the state enlarges, the creators of the general will become less individually powerful


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], III.01)

A Reaction

This is because we remain equally subjected to the state whatever its size, but have less power to influence if there are more citizens. In modern states we all feel pathetically powerless, because of the numbers.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.174