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Of the Social Contract and Other Political Writings

'Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains' Since its first publication in 1762, Of the Social Contract has shaped political thinking. Viewed by some as a revolutionary statement of democratic freedoms and by others as a precursor of tyranny, it has guided and inspired activists from the French Revolution to the democratic and liberation movements of the modern era. Rousseau's treatise sets out his ideal that citizens should be governed according to laws they have chosen themselves. This new edition also includes many other political writings by Rousseau, including the first English translation of a new reconstruction of Rousseau's manuscript of his Principles of the Right of War, along with key texts concerning Geneva, Poland and Corsica which give insight into how Rousseau envisaged his principles being put into practice. Quintin Hoare's sensitive new translation conveys to the modern reader the flavour of Rousseau's eighteenth-century original. It is accompanied by an introduction by Christopher Bertram discussing Rousseau's life and views; the ideas, ambiguities and tensions within Of the Social Contract; its influence; and its place within Rousseau's other work. Translated by Quintin Hoare Edited with an introduction and notes by Christopher Bertram
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About the Author

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva in 1712. He spent much of his life travelling around Switzerland and France, working variously as a footman, seminarist and tutor. His writings included entries on music for Diderot's Encyclopedie, the novels La nouvelle Heloise (1761) and Emile (1762), and numerous political and philosophical texts. He also fathered five children - all of whom he abandoned to a foundling home - by Therese Levasseur, a servant girl. The crowning achievement of his political philosophy was The Social Contract, published in 1762. That same year he wrote an attack on religion that resulted in his exile to England. In 1770 Rousseau completed his Confessions. His last years were spent largely in France where he died in 1778. Quintin Hoare has translated from Italian, French, German, Russian and Bosnian, winning the John Florio Prize in 1978/9, the Scott-Moncrieff Prize in 1984 and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize in 1989. He was general editor of the Pelican Marx Library, and since 1997 has been director of The Bosnian Institute. Christopher Bertram is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Rousseau and The Social Contract (Routledge, 2002) and is a past President of the Rousseau Association.

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