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Rousseau And The U.S. Government

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Remnants of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's beliefs in human rights, government elected by the masses, and the limited governmental control of the masses can be compared to the methodology of the democratic republic that governs the United States.

Rousseau believed above all else that people's rights were of most importance. He stated the people are born free into a world that puts them in chains, restricting their rights from birth. The U.S. government was built on the grounds of combating oppression of citizens so as they may live and believe as they wish. Such a governmental concept was unheard of in the European nations until Great Britain introduced the parliamentary system, thus giving birth to limited monarchy.

To keep the government working towards the general good of the people, Rousseau believed that any governing body should be elected by the individuals of a nation. In the American republic, mayors, senators, even the President, are elected by the citizens. In this fashion, the general good is put before individual interests.

Rousseau had faith that people were generally good, but became corrupted by the evils of society. In that respect, he believed that the government should have limited control over the citizens to whom it served. In today's United States government, documents such as the Constitution and its Bill of Rights assist in keeping the government's influence over the lives of citizens minimal. Such documents guarantee citizens certain liberties under which they are able to live to the maximum degree of freedom. The United States government does, however, control many economic aspects of the country. The Constitution protects the economic rights of people by allowing for free enterprise so individuals may work and earn income as they choose.



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