Jean Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract, 1763
The social contract’s terms, when they are well understood, can be reduced to a single
requirement: the individual member [gives] himself totally to the whole community
with all of his rights. This is first because conditions will be the same for everyone when
each individual gives himself totally, and secondly, because no one will be tempted to
make that condition of shared equality worse for other men….
Once [the people are] united this way into a body, an offense against one of its
members is an offense against the body politic*. It would be even less possible to injure
the body without its members feeling it.
quot;the body politic, n. – everyone in society, when taken together as one whole group
3. According to Rousseau, when individuals agree to the social contract, what happens to their rights?
4. Do you believe that the structure of Rousseau’s society will benefit people overall? Provide a specific
example of why or why not.History