Sample Article Review on Discourse on the Social Contract by Jean-Jacques

Political Theory

Jean-Jacques Rousseau in ‘Discourse on the Social Contract,’ starts by acknowledging the fact that though human beings are born free, and are ideally free indeed. In reality, however, he states that men are bound by chains which they cannot get away from. In this article, Rousseau takes the position that the society has bound human beings ensuring that they do not attain the liberty that they are entitled to. To explain the need for these he proposes a social contract theory. This theory supports an administration that is agreed to by all people as the only legitimate form of government. This government ideally gets into a social pact with the people. In this contract, the people give the government the right to govern them. In return, the government is to undertake certain activities which benefit the people for example ensure their security. Two important political theories held by Rousseau come out in the article. Firstly inequality can only be justified if it is as a result of differences that can be physically seen among people. The second theory comes out in the last part of the article. This is that, instead of leading to the betterment and improvement of human morality, the sciences and the arts have led to increased corruption of human morality.

These articles by Jean-Jacques Rousseau are important in the contemporary world. Some of his theories are brought to play in the present day politics. The social contract theory, for example, has seen to the preference of democratic governments in the world. Such governments, which are the majority, are elected by the people and are expected to work to make people’s lives better. On inequality, Rousseau’s view is of importance especially when considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Inequality though natural if caused by the physical difference between people, it has been held universally that it should not be a cause for discrimination. Rousseau’s take on the importance of arts and sciences, has received numerous criticisms. Differing opinions to Rousseau’s seems to have taken a stronger hold in the world generally as can be seen from the promotion of sciences and arts in learning institutions.