Rousseau’s Social Contract

This paper argues that Rousseau did not develop his Social Contract as a means of protecting the individual against the evils of society but as protection from them weaknesses of human nature.

This paper states that Rousseau describes liberty as being attained only when each man is independent and is not ruled by the private interests of any individual or group. The paper discusses the process by which Rousseau believes people make the transition from the state of nature to civil society by forming of the social pact, or social contract. The author believes that Rousseau truly wanted man to be free, and his concepts had the best interest of society in mind.
Refuting the doctrine of Locke, Rousseau argues that concepts such as morality, justice, and equality do not stem from human nature, but arise from the development of society. Rousseau’s view of human nature was of a savage, uncivilized creature and, a circumscribed and stupid animal. Only the progression from the savage, amoral state of nature to a civil society would lead to mankind, substituting justice for instinct, giving to his actions a moral character which they lacked before, and preserving his independence within a framework of liberty and equality.