'Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains' These are the famous opening words of a treatise that has not ceased to stir vigorous debate since its first publication in 1762.
Rejecting the view that anyone has a natural right to wield authority over others, Rousseau argues instead for a pact, or 'social contract', that should exist between all the citizens of a state and that should be the source of sovereign power.
From this fundamental premise, he goes on to consider issues of liberty and law, freedom and justice, arriving at a view of society that has seemed to some a blueprint for totalitarianism, to others a declaration of democratic principles.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 27/06/1974
- Category: History of Western philosophy
- ISBN: 9780140442014