Social Contract Study Guides

  • The Social Contract

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    The Social Contract is a 1762 work of political philosophy by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. As a follow-up to his Discourse on Inequality, which examined the sources of inequality and suffering occurring in civilized society, here Rousseau examines the question of what government bests allow people to live in freedom and harmony. Rousseau argues that a social contract, individuals' free submission to certain rules and societal compromises, must be the basis of any political system. Examining various governments, Rousseau argues that small city-states governed by an elected aristocracy allow the most freedom.