Lecturer English 1



Inhis book, “The Origin of Civil Society, Jean-Jacques Rousseauadvocates civil state instead of state of nature. Rousseau explainsthe challenges facing societies in the state of nature. For instance,he points out that in the state of nature, individuals serve onlytheir self-interests without regard for the social welfare of othersRousseau (Rousseau, 2012). In the civil state, human beings are ableto work together to serve the interests of the community. Rousseauhighlights fundamental issues that limit freedom such as inequalityand racism.


Accordingto Rousseau, liberty and equality are interconnected. Equalityensures liberty for all people regardless of their distinctcharacteristics. Natural liberty is the freedom to serve one’sself-interests and desires. Civil liberty is the freedom to servecommunal desires or the general will (Scott, 2006). Rousseau arguesthat the general will focuses on the interest of the majority. Anindividual’s civil liberty is provided by the community. Forinstance, civil liberty grants freedom to pursue self-interests, butin accordance with the prevailing laws. This means that individual’scivil liberty should not infringe communal liberty. Natural libertyrefers to total freedom that a person enjoys when in the state ofnature. For a person in the state of nature to be free under civilliberty, he/ she must give up some natural liberty and pursue commoninterests.


Rousseauexpounds on the differences between possession and ownership ofproperty under the two types of liberty. In the state of nature,people aggressively pursue their own self-interests includingpossession of property without considering communal welfare. Thegovernment in the state of nature only serve the elites and condonesvices such as corruption (Scott, 2006). Under civil liberty, theproperties are communally owned. This means community has autonomyover ownership of properties.


Rousseauhighlights key issues that affect the welfare of the society. Hepoints out the major problems associated with the two forms ofliberty. Rousseau provides a detailed account of modern inequalitiesand how to address them. He emphasizes that in civil society, thegovernment plays a central role in guaranteeing freedom and equalityfor all people.


Rousseau.Onthe Social Contract.City: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.

Scott,John T. Jean-JacquesRousseau: critical assessments of leading political philosophers.

LondonNew York: Routledge, 2006. Print.