Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract: Section 92

Every malefactor, attacking the social right, becomes by his crimes a rebel and traitor to his fatherland; he ceases to be a member of it by violating its laws, and even makes war against it.

Commentary on Section 92

  1. Ambrose Mnemopolous Post author

    In discussing “crimes against the state” Roussau here follows John Locke, who, in discussing rebellion, holds that, properly, it is governments that rebel against the properly constituted state, rather than private individuals who rebel against the government. When governments rebel against the sovereign citizenry, this breaks the social contract and returns individuals to a pre-social state of natural liberty, equated with a war of all-against-all.

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) was a Genevan social philosopher. His exerted a profound influence on the social and political thought of the Enlightenment in France and across Europe, including aspects of the French Revolution. Many of his ideas were foundational in the overall development of modern political and educational thought.