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How General is General Will?
The one of the greatest of political theorist of 18th century Rousseau (1712-1778) brought forward very risky idea for that time and circumstances about what should be considered as legitimate power. Rousseau released his masterwork Social Compact in 1762, proposing that autocratic authority is illegitimate power. Further on Rousseau pointed out that the legitimacy of authority should not derive from ancestral traditions, from Divine ordinance, or from the genealogy of aristocratic families. Instead Rousseau believed that only source of legitimate power are people, and that this political power must express the General Will (Susser; 1995:33). This essay examines the concept of General Will in Rousseau’s Social Compact, explicitly the usage and meaning of this term by Rousseau in Social Compact.
When talking about Rousseau’s Social Compact one of the greatest discrepancy arises about concept of general will. Some political scientists point out that the general will is not the will of the majority (Younkins; 2005), but in the same time continuing proposing that “the unlimited power of the state is made to appear legitimate by the apparent consent of the majority” (Younkins; 2005).…
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