The Social Contract (tr. Cole)

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The Social Contract (1913)
by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, translated by George Douglas Howard Cole
Jean-Jacques Rousseau68815The Social Contract1913George Douglas Howard Cole
For other versions of this work, see The Social Contract.


introduction by G. D. H. Cole v


In which it is inquired why man passes from the state of nature to the state of society and what are the essential conditions of the compact.
I. Subject of the first Book 3
II. The first Societies 4
III. The Right of the Strongest 6
IV. Slavery 7
V. That we must always go back to a first Convention 10
VI. The Social Compact 11
VII. The Sovereign 13
VIII. The Civil State 15
IX. Real Property 16
Which treats of legislation.
I. That Sovereignty is inalienable 20
II. Thar Sovereignty is indivisible 21
III. Whether the general Will is fallible 22
IV. The Limits of the Sovereign Power 24
V. The Right of Life and Death 27
VI. Law 29
VII. The Legislator 32
VIII. The People 35
IX. The People (cont.) 37
X. The People (cont.) 39
XI. The various Systems of Legislation 42
XII. The Division of the Laws 44
Which treats of political laws, that is to say, of the form of government.
I. Government in General 46
II. The constituent Principle in the various Forms of Government 51
III. The Division of Governments 53
IV. Democracy 54
V. Aristocracy 56
VI. Monarchy 58
VII. Mixed Governments 63
VIII. That all Forms of Government do not suit all Countries 64
IX. The Marks of a good Government 69
X. The Abuse of Government and its Tendency to Degenerate 70
XI. The Death of the Body Politic 73
XII. How the Sovereign Authority maintains itself 74
XIII. How the Sovereign Authority maintains itself (cont.) 75
XIV. How the Sovereign Authority maintains itself (cont.) 76
XV. Deputies or Representatives 77
XVI. That the Institution of Government is not a Contract 80
XVII. The Institution of Government 81
XVIII. How to check the Usurpations of Government 83
Which treats further of political laws and sets forth the means of strengthening the constitution of the State.
I. That the general Will is indestructible 85
II. Voting 87
III. Elections 89
IV. The Roman Comitia 91
V. The Tribunate 100
VI. The Dictatorship 102
VII. The Censorship 104
VIII. Civil Religion 106
IX. Conclusion 116

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in 1913, before the cutoff of January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1959, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 64 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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