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Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778 was a French social philosopher and writer His book Du Contrat Social ou Principes du droit politique Social Contract published in 1762 emphasised the rights of the people over the government and was a significant influence on the French Revolution Rousseau believed that people were not social beings by nature He stated that Society corrupts individuals by bringing out their inclination toward aggression and selfishness Fundamental to Rousseaus beliefs for the utopia of society was for each individual to believe in the same collective way to govern society He believed that individuals should give up their rights of personal selflessness for the good of society as a whole His answer therefore was to find a form of association which defends and protects with all common forces the person and goods of each associate and by means of which each one whilst uniting with all nevertheless obeys only himself and remains as free as before When structuring his utopia of the General Will Rousseau believed that although the natural man perceived himself as an individual he must learn to think collectively in order to create a society Therefore to evolve into a humane and agreeable society people should give up their natural rights of appetite and conform to society by consenting to the process of law which has made them free - collectively consenting to the general will - a single correct path for people to follow or the policy which is equal in everyones interests Rousseau believed that it was wrong for the sovereign power over society to be held by just one man - the King He believed that the people as a whole should be sovereign the term Rousseau uses for the body of citizens acting collectively with authority over themselves In the Social Contract he argues that government is justified only if sovereignty stays with the people Therefore
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