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p. 714. Liberty, virtue, and citizenshiplocked

  • Robert Wokler


‘Liberty, virtue, and citizenship’ looks at the model that Rousseau created for a state. Rousseau believed in the classical Greek link between politics and morality, and rejected previous theoretical bases for a social contract. Popular engagement in self-rule permitted greater scope for freedom than in the natural state. Private property should be preserved, but inequality legislated against. Sovereign and legislature should remain separate, with the people the sovereign and an elective aristocracy as executive. Despite this commitment to popular sovereignty, he accepted the power of an extraordinary individual to transform solitary persons into a greater whole. Rousseau's equation of liberty with fraternity and equality inspired the French revolutionaries.

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