The Ideal Society In Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Origin Of Civil Society

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Society has been struggling to find order ever since its conception. The idea that perfection could be achieved has long been dismissed, but societies still strive for something at least resembling functionality. Some of the fundamental problems faced within the genesis of a nation stem from the establishment of a government. How would one control and provide for the citizens in an effective way? Why would anyone willingly submit to governmental control? These are questions that Jean-Jacques Rousseau attempts to answer. In his “The Origins of Civil Society”, Rousseau presents his ideas on how the ideal society would run. He is able to effectively organize his thoughts in such a way that enables understanding and camaraderie with his audience, convincing them of the ways in which the quintessential society would function. …show more content…

At the time of its publication, Rousseau had withdrawn from Paris and was living with a noblewoman. His location allowed him to write with little concern for the controversy surrounding his two previous Discourses, and the period was one of the most productive of his life (Delaney). He wrote as a way to address the ideas he had been accumulating from years traveling around Europe. His observations led him to argue that the rights of the people are violated in a civil society, and this should be changed under a social contract. After observing numerous governments, he concludes that people should only be governed by the Sovereign, a body with one collective will. In any other system, the people give up their freedom without any reason; it should be created only if all agree to it. The social contract would exist for the purpose of self-preservation, pushing the common will of the Sovereign. To convince his audience of these complex ideas, Rousseau must stay organized and be intentional in his rhetorical

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