Essay on Rousseau 's Discourse On The Origins Of Inequality

Essay on Rousseau 's Discourse On The Origins Of Inequality

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Rousseau argues in his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality that inequalities are created by social construction. Naturally, inequalities do not exist, but because man creates boundaries and distinguishes one another, political and moral inequalities are created. Since the 18th century, during Rousseau’s time, the history of inequalities have changed, and ideas of imperialism, racism, and sexism have shifted between then and the 20th century.
Private property was a leading cause of inequalities according to Rousseau. Owning property created differences between man, as they could be arranged on different ranks, and the more land one owned, the more powerful. The need to expand for power created the need for imperialism. During the industrialization period near the end of the 19th century, imperialism grew as it translated to European dominance and power. In the 1870’s, most of the European colonies spanned the coastlines of Africa, but by 1914, the entire continent of Africa was colonialized, with the exception of Liberia and Ethiopia. Competition between European nations escalated and greater levels of inequality affected whole countries, comparing the rulers with the oppressed. Civilization superiority became the most problematic aspect of Western Civilization, as they dominated smaller countries in Africa and Asia. According to Jules Ferry, “to support this proposition, is that in fact, just as in word, the policy of colonial expansion is a political and economic system,” therefore imperialism was justified as it improved the political and economic conditions of his own country, whether it be at the expense of another country (Lualdi 187). Even through World War I, imperialized countries aided in the war effort. A condition...


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...lity after the wars did not allow for this expected lifestyle as women continued to maintain jobs to provide for their families. Women are still paid less than men.
Since Rousseau’s era, inequalities through imperialism, racism, and sexism changed. As ownership increased between nations, there became a growing inequality gap between rulers and their colonies, it wasn’t until the decolonization after World War II that lessened this gap. Inequalities based on race grew to extremes as slavery, imperialism, and anti-Semitism gained popularity. Sexism throughout the 18th through 20th century fluctuated, allowing more inclusive roles for women through the workforce and suffrage, yet many of these new roles were looked down upon and unsponsored. Inequality gaps continued to widen, but it today’s society, have been recognized and motivated to help improve upon inequalities.

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