The Social Contract & Discourses (Paperback)
The Social Contract, or Of the Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right (French: Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique; 1762) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is a book in which Rousseau theorized about the best way to establish a political community in the face of the problems of commercial society, which he had already identified in his Discourse on Inequality (1754). The Social Contract helped inspire political reforms or revolutions in Europe, especially in France. The Social Contract argued against the idea that monarchs were divinely empowered to legislate; as Rousseau asserts, only the people, who are sovereign, have that all-powerful right. The stated aim of The Social Contract is to determine whether there can be a legitimate political authority, since people's interactions he saw at his time seemed to put them in a state far worse than the good one they were at in the state of nature, even though living in isolation. He concludes book one, chapter three with, "Let us then admit that force does not create right, and that we are obliged to obey only legitimate powers," which is to say, the ability to coerce is not a legitimate power, and there is no rightful duty to submit to it. A State (polity) has no right to enslave a conquered people.