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The Social Contract

by Jean-Jacques Rousseau


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The eighteenth-century philosopher's landmark treatise against monarchy that inspired the French and American Revolutions.
"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."

With these stirring words, Jean-Jacques Rousseau begins The Social Contract—the first shot in a battle of ideas that would set the stage for the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. In the feverish days of the Enlightenment, Rousseau took aim squarely at the all-powerful French monarchy, proclaiming that no despot, no matter how powerful, had the right to terrorize his people. He laid out a plan for a new kind of government—an idea that was radical then, and remains so now.

The Social Contract is a landmark document from a fascinating period in world history and an invaluable guide to the foundations of modern democracy.

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Philosophical Library/Open Road
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Author)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was one of the leading figures of the French Enlightenment. The author of popular novels such as Emile, or On Education (1762), he achieved immortality with the publication of philosophical treatises such as The S...

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