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29+ quotes from The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Quotes from The Social Contract

Jean-Jacques Rousseau ·  168 pages

Rating: (28.9K votes)


“Every man having been born free and master of himself, no one else may under any pretext whatever subject him without his consent. To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“...in respect of riches, no citizen shall ever be wealthy enough to buy another, and none poor enough to be forced to sell himself.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“أُفضِّل الحرية مع الخطر على السلم مع العبودية”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State "What does it matter to me?" the State may be given up for lost.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“The word ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ are contradictory, they cancel each other out. Whether as between one man and another, or between one man and a whole people, it would always be absurd to say: "I hereby make a covenant with you which is wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I will respect it so long as I please and you shall respect it as long as I wish.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“It is easier to conquer than to administer. With enough leverage, a finger could overturn the world; but to support the world, one must have the shoulders of Hercules.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“A born king is a very rare being.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“In a well governed state, there are few punishments, not because there are many pardons, but because criminals are rare; it is when a state is in decay that the multitude of crimes is a guarantee of impunity.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights of humanity and even its duties.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“There is no evildoer who could not be made good for something. ”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“إذا أردتم أن تمنحوا الدولة ثباتاً فقربوا بين الطرفيين الأقصيين ما استطعتم، ولا تحتملوا وجود أناس أغنياء وفقراء، فهذان الحالان اللذان لا يمكن فصل أحدهما عن الآخر بحكم الطبيعة هما كذلك شؤم على الخير العام، فمن أحدهما يظهر أعوان الطغيان، ومن الآخر يظهر الطغاة، وبينهما تقع معاملة الحرية العامة، فأحدهما يشترى والآخر يبيع”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“The social pact, far from destroying natural equality, substitutes, on the contrary, a moral and lawful equality for whatever physical inequality that nature may have imposed on mankind; so that however unequal in strength and intelligence, men become equal by covenant and by right.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“To renounce freedom is to renounce one's humanity, one's rights as a man and equally one's duties.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“The people of England regards itself as free; but it is grossly mistaken; it is free only during the election of members of parliament. As soon as they are elected, slavery overtakes it, and it is nothing.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“To discover the rules of society that are best suited to nations, there would need to exist a superior intelligence, who could understand the passions of men without feeling any of them, who had no affinity with our nature but knew it to the full, whose happiness was independent of ours, but who would nevertheless make our happiness his concern, who would be content to wait in the fullness of time for a distant glory, and to labour in one age to enjoy the fruits in another. Gods would be needed to give men laws.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“What, then, is the government? An intermediary body established between the subjects and the sovereign for their mutual communication, a body charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of freedom, both civil and political.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“MAN is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“There is no subjection so perfect as that which keeps the appearance of freedom.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“Liberty may be gained, but can never be recovered." (Bk2:8)”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is; the people is never corrupted, but it is often deceived..." (Bk2:3)”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“If force compels obedience, there is no need to invoke a duty to obey, and if force ceases to compel obedience, there is no longer any obligation.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“Usurpers always bring about or select troublous times to get passed, under cover of the public terror, destructive laws, which the people would never adopt in cold blood. The moment chosen is one of the surest means of distinguishing the work of the legislator from that of the tyrant.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“There is peace in dungeons, but is that enough to make dungeons desirable?”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“Since men cannot create new forces, but merely combine and control those which already exist, the only way in which they can preserve themselves is by uniting their separate powers in a combination strong enough to overcome any resistance, uniting them so that their powers are directed by a single motive and act in concert.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“Man’s first law is to watch over his own preservation; his first care he owes to himself; and as soon as he reaches the age of reason, he becomes the only judge of the best means to preserve himself; he becomes his own master.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“معظم الشعوب، ككثير من الناس، لا يكون مطواعاً في غير شبابه، فهو إذا شاب تعذّر إصلاحه، والعادات إذا ما استقرت والأوهام إذا ما تأصلت حيناً كان من الأمور الخطره أن يراد إصلاحها، حتى إن الشعب لا يطيق مسّ أمراضه لمعالجتها، وهو في هذا كأولئك المرضى الجبناء الذين يرتعشون عند منظر الطبيب”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


“[T]he mere impulse of appetite is slavery, while obedience to a law which we prescribe to ourselves is liberty.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quote from The Social Contract


About the author

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Born place: in Geneva, Switzerland
Born date June 28, 1712
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