John Locke And Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

John Locke And Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

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In The Social Contract philosophers John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau discuss their differences on human beings’ place of freedom in political societies. Locke’s theory is when human beings enter society we tend to give up our natural freedom, whereas Rousseau believes we gain civil freedom when entering society. Even in modern times we must give up our natural freedom in order to enforce protection from those who are immoral and unjust.
In The Social Contract, John Locke explains his social contract theory. Rousseau explains Locke’s philosophy as, “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” (R169). Both philosophers agree that no individual should ever be forced to give up his or her natural rights to a king or any other successor for that matter. Locke believed that all human beings began in the state of nature, a state of “peace, goodwill, mutual assistance, and preservation” (L13) where all people have perfect freedom and therefore are all equal because God made us that way. All people are born in the state of nature and all have morals while in this state. In the state of nature we follow the law of nature; the law of nature is known as not having the will or desire to harm others in life, health, liberty nor possession. Being in the state of nature, we have the right to defend ourselves in the law of nature by administering justice. The state of war on the other hand, is a violent state that is the act of enslaving or killing someone and/or make a person do something against their will and endangering their life in the process, breaking natural law. Eventually, man sought out society in hopes of receiving security for aggressors and to protect their natural rights. Locke believed the type of society that sh...


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...es. For example, the United States’ general will is codified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, meanwhile individual rights are distinguished in the Declaration of Independence.
John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau share some common opinions about the place of freedom in society. However, Rousseau’s lack of emphasizing individualism is what makes his social contract theory useless because it cannot adapt to our individual rights. Instead, we must alter our individual rights for Rousseau’s type of “utopian” society. A truly free society must protect the competing interests of all people and also each person’s natural born rights. We need a representative democracy to have people to settle all disputes and to represent all types of people. Locke exquisitely presupposed a government that protects the rights of all citizens, emphasizing on freedom and equality.

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