James Kloppenberg

Nov 3, 2022

On Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "The Social Contract"

A Discussion with James Kloppenberg

New Books Network 2022

The 18th century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that humans are born good, but society corrupts them. He was unimpressed with the fixation on wealth that he saw in the French society. In fact, he felt it was evidence of a self-interested, degenerate society. He endeavored to write the formula for a more civically minded society, and in 1762, he published The Social Contract, a treatise in which he argues that the people should run the government. Harvard Professor James Kloppenberg discusses how Rousseau’s ideas on government and society have inspired thinkers and leaders ever since. James Kloppenberg is the Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University. He is the author of Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition and Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought, among other works. See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm.

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