Show Summary Details
Political ThinkersFrom Socrates to the Present

Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present (3rd edn)

David Boucher and Paul Kelly
Page of

Printed from Oxford Politics Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 12 April 2024

p. 28616. Rousseaulocked

p. 28616. Rousseaulocked

  • David Boucher


This chapter examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's political thought. It first provides a short biography of Rousseau before discussing varying interpretations of his ideas, suggesting that, because of his emphasis upon civic virtues and freedom as lack of an insidious form of dependence, the republican tradition best reflects Rousseau's concerns. It then considers Rousseau's distinctive contribution to the idea of the state of nature, noting that the springs of action in his state of nature are not reason are self-preservation and sympathy. It also explores Rousseau's views on private property, social contract, inequality, natural law and natural rights, democracy, religion, and censorship. The chapter concludes with an analysis of Rousseau's concern with freedom and dependence, and how the related issues of slavery and women were relevant for him.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription