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Single Idea 19856

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

Full Idea

The law is the expression of the general will. All citizens have the right to take part in person or through their representatives in its formulation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or whether it punishes.

Gist of Idea

The law expresses the general will, and all citizens can participate


Mirabeau and committee (Declaration of the Rights of Man [1789], 06)

A Reaction

Now you are wondering who qualifies as a 'citizen'. Rousseau would have been excited until he found that the citizens could send 'representatives', instead of voting themselves. Rousseau aimed at foundational laws, not all of the laws.

Book Reference

'Les Philosophes', ed/tr. Torrey,Norman L. [Perigee 1980], p.285