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Single Idea 19840

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 4. Citizenship]

Full Idea

The words 'subject' and 'sovereign' are identical correlatives, whose meaning is combined in the single word 'citizen'.

Gist of Idea

A citizen is a subject who is also sovereign


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract (tr Cress) [1762], III.13)

A Reaction

'Citizen' was the favourite post-revolutionary label, probably based on this remark. I've heard foreigners tease Britons for being 'subjects' of the monarch, where they are pure citizens. But we are all subject to the law, made by others.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.196