Émile: Rousseau on education

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: excerpts from “Émile: On Education”

(¶1.1) God makes all thing good; man meddles with them and they become evil. He forces one soil to yield the products of another, one tree to bear another's fruit. He confuses and confounds time, place, and natural conditions. He mutilates his dog, his horse and his slave. He destroys and defaces all things; he loves all that is deformed and monstrous; he will have nothing as nature made it, and even man himself, who must learn his paces like a saddle-horse, and be shaped to his master's taste like the trees in his garden.
(¶1.2) Yet things would be worse without this education, and mankind cannot be made by halves. Under existing conditions a man left to himself from birth would be more of a monster than the rest. Prejudice, authority, necessity, example, all the social conditions into which we are plunged, would stifle nature in him and put nothing in her place. She would be like a sapling chance sown in the midst of the highway, bent hither and thither and soon crushed by the passers-by.
(¶1.3) Tender, anxious mother I appeal to you. You can remove this young tree from the highway and shield it from the crushing force of social conventions. Tend and water it ere it dies. One day its fruit will reward your care. From the outset raise a wall round your child's soul; another may sketch the plan, you alone should carry it into execution.
{footnote to word mother in paragraph 1.3: The earliest education is most important and it undoubtedly is woman's work. If the author of nature had meant to assign it to men he would have given them milk to feed the child. Address your treatises on education to the women, for not only are they able to watch over it more closely than men, not only is their influence always predominant in education, its success concerns them more nearly, for most widows are at the mercy of their children, who show them very plainly whether their education was good or bad. The laws, always more concerned about property than about people, since their object is not virtue but peace, the laws give too little authority to the mother. Yet her position is more certain then that of the father, her duties are more trying; the right ordering of the family depends more upon her, and she is usually fonder of her children.
(¶1.4) Plants are fashioned by cultivation, man by education. If a man were born tall and strong, his size and strength would be of no good to him till he had learnt to use them; they would even harm him by preventing others from coming to his aid; left to himself he would die of want before he know his needs. We lament the helplessness of infancy; we fail to perceive that the race would have perished had not man begun by being a child.
(¶1.5) We are born weak, we need strength; helpless we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education.
(¶1.6) This education comes to us from nature, from men or from things. The inner growth of our organs and faculties is the education of nature, the use we learn to make of this growth is the education of men, what we gain by our experience of our surroundings is the education of things.
(¶1.12) We are born sensitive and from our birth upwards we are affected in various ways by our environment. As soon as we become conscious of our sensations we tend to seek or shun the things that cause them, at first because they are pleasant or unpleasant, then because they suit us or not, and at last because of judgements formed by means of the ideas of happiness and goodness which reason gives us. These tendencies gain strength and permanence with the growth of reason, but hindered by our habits they are more or less warped by our prejudices. Before this change they are what I call Nature within us.
(¶1.13) Everything should therefore be brought into harmony with these natural tendencies, and that might well be if our three modes of education merely differed from one another; but what can be done when they conflict, when instead of training man for himself you try to train him for others? Harmony becomes impossible. Forced to combat either nature or society, you must make your choice between man and the citizen, you cannot train both.
(¶1.29) In the natural order men are all equal and their common calling is that of manhood, so that a well-educated man cannot fail to do well in that calling and those related to it. It matters little to me whether my pupil is intended for the army, the church or the law. Before his parents chose a calling for him nature called him to be a man. Life is the trade I would teach him.
(¶1.31) People think only of preserving their child's life... Teach him to live rather than to avoid death; life is not breath, but action, the use of our senses, our mind, our faculties, every part of ourselves that makes us conscious of our being...
(¶1.32) Our wisdom is slavish prejudice, our customs consist in control, constraint, compulsion. Civilised man is born and dies a slave. The infant is bound up in swaddling clothes, the corpse is nailed down in his coffin. All his life long man is imprisoned by our institutions.
(¶1.33) I am told that many midwives profess to improve the shape of the infant's head by rubbing, and they are allowed to do it. Our heads are not good enough as God made them, they must be moulded outside by the nurse and inside by the philosopher... The child has hardly left the mother's womb, it has hardly begun to move and stretch its limbs, when it is deprived of its freedom. It is wrapped in swaddling bands, laid down with its head fixed, its legs stretched out, and its arms by its sides; it is wound round with linen and bandages of all sorts so that it cannot move. It is fortunate if it has room to breathe, and it is laid on its side so that water which should flow from its mouth can escape, for it is not free to turn its head on one side for this purpose.
(¶1.34) The new-born child requires to stir and stretch his limbs to free them from the stiffness resulting from being curled up so long. His limbs are stretched indeed, but he is not allowed to move them. Even the head is confined by a cap. One would think they were afraid the child should look as if it were alive.
(¶1.45) ... Does not the child need a mother's care as much as her milk? Other women, or even other animals, may give him the milk she denies him, but there is no substitute for a mother's love.
(¶1.46) The woman who nurses another's child in place of her own is a bad mother; how can she be a good nurse? She may become one in time; use will overcome nature, but the child may perish a hundred times before his nurse has developed a mother's affection for him.
(¶1.49) ... Would you restore all men to their primal duties, begin with the mothers.
(¶1.62) Would you keep him as nature made him? Watch over him from his birth. Take possession of him as soon as he comes into the world and keep him till he is a man; you will never succeed otherwise. The real nurse is the mother and the real teacher is the father. Let them agree in the ordering of their duties as well as in their method, let the child pass from one to the other. He will be better educated by a sensible though ignorant father than by the cleverest master in the world. For zeal will atone for lack of knowledge, rather than knowledge for lack of zeal.
(¶1.53) No mother, no child; their duties are reciprocal, and when ill done by the one they will be neglected by the other. The child should love his mother before he knows what he owes her. If the voice of instinct is not strengthened by habit it soon dies, the heart is still-born. from the outset we have strayed from the path of nature.
(¶1.54) There is another by-way which may tempt our feet from the path of nature. The mother may lavish excessive care on her child instead of neglecting him; she may make an idol of him; she may develop and increase his weakness to prevent him feeling it; she wards off every painful experience in the hope of withdrawing him from the power of nature, and fails to realise that for every trifling ill from which she preserves him the future holds in store many accidents and dangers, and that it is a cruel kindness to prolong the child's weakness when the grown man must bear fatigue.
(¶1.56) Fix your eyes on nature, follow the path traced by her. She keeps children at work, she hardens them by all kinds of difficulties, she soon teaches them the meaning of pain and grief. They cut their teeth and are feverish, sharp colics bring on convulsions, they are choked by fits of coughing and tormented by worms, evil humours corrupt the blood, germs of various kinds ferment in it, causing dangerous eruptions. Sickness and danger play the chief part in infancy. One half of the children who are born die before their eighth year. The child who has overcome hardships has gained strength, and as soon as he can use his life he holds it more securely.
(¶1.57) This is nature's law; why contradict it? Do you not see that in your efforts to improve upon her handiwork you are destroying it; her cares are wasted? To do from without what she does within is according to you to increase the danger twofold. On the contrary, it is the way to avert it; experience shows that children delicately nurtured are more likely to die. Provided we do not overdo it, there is less risk in using their strength than in sparing it. Accustom them therefore to the hardships they will have to face; train them to endure extremes of temperature, climate, and condition, hunger, thirst, and weariness. Dip them in the waters of Styx. Before bodily habits become fixed you may teach what habits you will without any risk, but once habits are established any change is fraught with peril. A child will bear changes which a man cannot bear, the muscles of the one are soft and flexible, they take whatever direction you give them without any effort; the muscles of the grown man are harder and they only change their accustomed mode of action when subjected to violence. So we can make a child strong without risking his life or health, and even if there were some risk, it should not be taken into consideration. Since human life is full of dangers, can we do better than face them at a time when they can do the least harm?
(¶1.58) A child's worth increases with his years. To his personal value must be added the cost of the care bestowed upon him. For himself there is not only loss of life, but the consciousness of death. We must therefore think most of his future in our efforts for his preservation. He must be protected against the ills of youth before he reaches them: for if the value of life increases until the child reaches an age when he can be useful, what madness to spare some suffering in infancy only to multiply his pain when he reaches the age of reason. Is that what our master teaches us!
(¶1.59) Man is born to suffer; pain is the means of his preservation. His childhood is happy, knowing only pain of body. These bodily sufferings are much less cruel, much less painful, than other forms of suffering, and they rarely lead to self-destruction. It is not the twinges of gout which make a man kill himself, it is mental suffering that leads to despair. We pity the sufferings of childhood; we should pity ourselves; our worst sorrows are of our own making.
(¶1.60) The new-born infant cries, his early days are spent in crying. He is alternately petted and shaken by way of soothing him; sometimes he is threatened, sometimes beaten, to keep him quiet. We do what he wants or we make him do what we want, we submit to his whims or subject him to our own. There is no middle course; he must rule or obey. Thus big earliest ideas are those of the tyrant or the slave. He commands before he can speak, he obeys before he can act, and sometimes he is punished for faults before he is aware of them, or rather before they are committed. Thus early are the seeds of evil passions sown in his young heart. At a later day these are attributed to nature, and when we have taken pains to make him bad we lament his badness.
In this way the child passes six or seven years in the hands of women, the victim of his own caprices or theirs, and after they have taught him all sorts of things, when they have burdened his memory with words he cannot understand, or things which are of no use to him, when nature has been stifled by the passions they have implanted in him, this sham article is sent to a tutor. The tutor completes the development of the germs of artificiality which he finds already well grown, he teaches him everything except self-knowledge and self-control, the arts of life and happiness. When at length this infant slave and tyrant, crammed with knowledge but empty of sense, feeble alike in mind and body, is flung upon the world, and his helplessness, his pride, and his other vices are displayed, we begin to lament the wretchedness and perversity of mankind. We are wrong; this is the creature of our fantasy; the natural man is cast in another mould.
Would you keep him as nature made him? Watch over him from his birth. Take possession of him as soon as he comes into the world and keep him till he is a man; you will never succeed otherwise. The real nurse is the mother and the real teacher is the father. Let them agree in the ordering of their duties as well as in their method, let the child pass from one to the other. He will be better educated by a sensible though ignorant father than by the cleverest master in the world. For zeal will atone for lack of knowledge, rather than knowledge for lack of zeal. But the duties of public and private business! Duty indeed! Does a father's duty come last.
[Footnote: When we read in Plutarch that Cato the Censor, who ruled Rome with such glory, brought up his own sons from the cradle, and so carefully that he left everything to be present when their nurse, that is to say their mother, bathed them; when we read in Suetonius that Augustus, the master of the world which he had conquered and which he himself governed, himself taught his grandsons to write, to swim, to understand the beginnings of science, and that he always had them with him, we cannot help smiling at the little people of those days who amused themselves with such follies, and who were too ignorant, no doubt, to attend to the great affairs of the great people of our own time.]
It is not surprising that the man whose wife despises the duty of suckling her child should despise its education. There is no more charming picture than that of family life; but when one feature is wanting the whole is marred. If the mother is too delicate to nurse her child, the father will be too busy to teach him. Their children, scattered about in schools, convents, and colleges, will find the home of their affections elsewhere, or rather they will form the habit of oaring for nothing. Brothers and sisters will scarcely know each other; when they are together in company they will behave as strangers. When there is no confidence between relations, when the family society ceases to give savour to life, its place is soon usurped by vice. Is there any man so stupid that he cannot see how all this hangs together?
(¶1.110) If once he thinks there are grown-up people with no more sense than children the authority of age is destroyed and his education is ruined. A child should know no betters but its father and mother, or failing them its foster-mother and its tutor, and even this is one too many, but this division is inevitable, and the best that can be done in the way of remedy is that the man and woman who control him shall be so well agreed with regard to him that they seem like one.
(¶1.126) We are born capable of learning, but knowing nothing, perceiving nothing. The mind, bound up within imperfect and half grown organs, is not even aware of its own existence. The movements and cries of the new-born child are purely reflex, without knowledge or will.
(¶1.127) Suppose a child born with the size and strength of manhood, entering upon life full grown like Pallas from the brain of Jupiter; such a child-man would be a perfect idiot, an automaton, a statue without motion and almost without feeling; he would see and hear nothing, he would recognise no one, he could not turn his eyes towards what he wanted to see; not only would he perceive no external object, he would not even be aware of sensation through the several sense-organs. His eye would not perceive colour, his ear sounds, his body would be unaware of contact with neighbouring bodies, he would not even know he had a body, what his hands handled would be in his brain alone; all his sensations would be united in one place, they would exist only in the common "sensorium", he would have only one idea, that of self, to which he would refer all his sensations; and this idea, or rather this feeling, would be the only thing in which he excelled an ordinary child.
(¶1.128) This man, full grown at birth, would also be unable to stand on his feet, he would need a long time to learn how to keep his balance; perhaps he would not even be able to try to do it, and you would see the big strong body left in one place like a stone, or creeping and crawling like a young puppy.
(¶1.129) He would feel the discomfort of bodily needs without knowing what was the matter and without knowing how to provide for these needs. There is no immediate connection between the muscles of the stomach and those of the arms and legs to make him take a step towards food, or stretch a hand to seize it, even were he surrounded with it; and as his body would be full grown and his limbs well developed he would be without the perpetual restlessness and movement of childhood, so that he might die of hunger without stirring to seek food. However little you may have thought about the order and development of our knowledge, you cannot deny that such a one would be in the state of almost primitive ignorance and stupidity natural to man before he has learnt anything from experience or from his fellows.
(¶1.130) We know then, or we may know, the point of departure from which we each start towards the usual level of understanding; but who knows the other extreme? Each progresses more or less according to his genius, his taste, his needs, his talents, his zeal, and his opportunities for using them. No philosopher, so far as I know, has dared to say to man, "Thus far shalt thou go and no further." We know not what nature allows us to be, none of us has measured the possible difference between man and man. Is there a mind so dead that this thought has never kindled it, that has never said in his pride, "How much have I already done, how much more may I achieve? Why should I lag behind my fellows?"
(¶1.131) As I said before, man's education begins at birth; before he can speak or understand he is learning. Experience precedes instruction; when he recognises his nurse he has learnt much. The knowledge of the most ignorant man would surprise us if we had followed his course from birth to the present time. If all human knowledge were divided into two parts, one common to all, the other peculiar to the learned, the latter would seem very small compared with the former. But we scarcely heed this general experience, because it is acquired before the age of reason. Moreover, knowledge only attracts attention by its rarity, as in algebraic equations common factors count for nothing. Even animals learn much. They have senses and must learn to use them; they have needs, they must learn to satisfy them; they must learn to eat, walk, or fly. Quadrupeds which can stand on their feet from the first cannot walk for all that; from their first attempts it is clear that they lack confidence. Canaries who escape from their cage are unable to fly, having never used their wings. Living and feeling creatures are always learning. If plants could walk they would need senses and knowledge, else their species would die out.
The child's first mental experiences are purely affective, he is only aware of pleasure and pain; it takes him a long time to acquire the definite sensations which show him things outside himself, but before these things present and withdraw themselves, so to speak, from his sight, taking size and shape for him, the recurrence of emotional experiences is beginning to subject the child to the rule of habit. You see his eyes constantly follow the light, and if the light comes from the side the eyes turn towards it, so that one must be careful to turn his head towards the light lest he should squint. He must also be accustomed from the first to the dark, or he will cry if he misses the light. Food and sleep, too, exactly measured, become necessary at regular intervals, and soon desire is no longer the effect of need, but of habit, or rather habit adds a fresh need to those of nature. You must be on your guard against this.
(¶1.132) The only habit the child should be allowed to contract is that of having no habits; let him be carried on either arm, let him be accustomed to offer either hand, to use one or other indifferently; let him not want to eat, sleep, or do anything at fixed hours, nor be unable to be left alone by day or night. Prepare the way for his control of his liberty and the use of his strength by leaving his body its natural habit, by making him capable of lasting self-control, of doing all that he wills when his will is formed.
(¶1.133) As soon as the child begins to take notice, what is shown him must be carefully chosen. The natural man is interested in all new things. He feels so feeble that he fears the unknown: the habit of seeing fresh things without ill effects destroys this fear. Children brought up in clean houses where there are no spiders are afraid of spiders, and this fear often lasts through life. I never saw peasants, man, woman, or child, afraid of spiders.
(¶1.152) Reason alone teaches us to know good and evil. Therefore conscience, which makes us love the one and hate the other, though it is independent of reason, cannot develop without it. Before the age of reason we do good or ill without knowing it, and there is no morality in our action, although there is sometime in our feeling with regard to other people's actions in relation to ours. A child wants to overturn everything he sees. He breaks and smashes everything he can reach; he seizes a bird as he seizes a stone, and strangles it without knowing what he is about.
(¶1.155) As the child grows it gains strength and becomes less restless and unquiet and more independent. Soul and body become better balanced and nature no longer asks for more movement than is required for self-preservation. But the love of power does not die with the need that aroused it; power arouses and flatters self-love, and habit strengthens it; thus caprice follows upon need, and the first seeds of prejudice and obstinacy are sown.
First maxim. - Far from being too strong, children are not strong enough for all the claims of nature. Give them full use of such strength as they have; they will not abuse it.
Second maxim. - Help them and supply the experience and strength they lack whenever the need is of the body.
Third maxim. - In the help you give them confine yourself to what is really needful, without granting anything to caprice or unreason; for they will not be tormented by caprice if you do not call it into existence, seeing it is no part of nature.
Fourth maxim - Study carefully their speech and gestures, so that at an age when they are incapable of deceit you may discriminate between those desires which come from nature and those which spring from perversity.
The spirit of these rules is to give children more real liberty and less power, to let them do more for themselves and demand less of others; so that by teaching them from the first to confine their wishes within the limits of their powers they will scarcely feel the want of whatever is not in their power.
(¶1.157) This is another very important reason for leaving children's limbs and bodies perfectly free, only taking care that they do not fall, and keeping anything that might hurt them out of their way.
(¶1.158) The child whose body and arms are free will certainly cry much less than a child tied up in swaddling clothes. He who knows only bodily needs, only cries when in pain; and this is a great advantage, for then we know exactly when he needs help, and if possible we should not delay our help for an instant. But if you cannot relieve his pain, stay where you are and do not flatter him by way of soothing him; your caresses will not cure his colic, but he will remember what he must do to win them; and if he once finds out how to gain your attention at will, he is your master; the whole education is spoilt.
(¶2.29) Oh, man! live your own life and you will no longer be wretched. Keep to your appointed place in the order of nature and nothing can tear you from it. Do not kick against the stern law of necessity, nor waste in vain resistance the strength bestowed on you by heaven, not to prolong or extend your existence, but to preserve it so far and so long as heaven pleases. Your freedom and your power extend so far and no further than your natural strength; everything more is but slavery, deceit, and trickery. Power itself is servile when it depends upon public opinion; for you are dependent on the prejudices of others when you rule them by those prejudices.
(¶2.265) In the following books I have still to speak of the training of a sixth sense, called common-sense, not so much because it is common to all men, but because it results from the well regulated use of the other five, and teaches the nature of things from the sum total of their external aspects. So this sixth sense has no special organ, it has its seat in the brain, and its sensations which are purely internal are called percepts or ideas. The number of these ideas is the measure of our knowledge; exactness of thought depends on their clearness and precision; the art of comparing them one with another is called human reason. Thus what I call the reasoning of the senses, or the reasoning of the child, consists in the formation of simple ideas through the associated experience of several sensations; what I call the reasoning of the intellect, consists in the formation of complex ideas through the association of several simple ideas.
(¶3.13) Let us transform our sensations into ideas, but do not let us jump all at once from the objects of sense to objects of thought. The latter are obtained by means of the former. Let the senses be the only guide for the first workings of reason. No book but the world, no teaching but that of fact. The child who reads ceases to think, he only reads. He is acquiring words not knowledge.
(¶3.14) If ever you substitute authority for reason he will cease to reason; he will be a mere plaything of other people's thoughts.
(¶4.2) We are born, so to speak, twice over; born into existence, and born into life; born a human being and born a man. Those who regard woman as an imperfect man are no doubt mistaken, but they have external resemblance on their side. Up to the age of puberty children of both sexes have little to distinguish them to the eye, the same face and form, the same complexion and voice, everything is the same; girls are children and boys are children; one name is enough for creatures so closely resembling one another. Males whose development is arrested preserve this resemblance all their lives; they are always big children; and women who never lose this resemblance seem in many respects never to be more than children.
(¶4.16) As soon as man needs a companion he is no longer an isolated creature, his heart is no longer alone. All his relations with his species, all the affections of his heart, come into being along with this. His first passion soon arouses the rest.
(¶4.140) ... The confidence he ought to have in his tutor is of a different kind; it should rest on the authority of reason, and on superior knowledge
(¶4.144) ... The art of teaching consists in making the pupil wish to learn. But if the pupil is to wish to learn, his mind must not remain in such a passive state with regard to what you tell him that here is really nothing for him to do but listen to you.
(¶4.151) I am never weary of repeating: let all the lessons of young people take the form of doing rather than talking; let them learn nothing from books which they can learn from experience.
(¶4.156) To prevent pity degenerating into weakness we must generalise it and extend it to mankind. Then only yield to it when it is in accordance with justice, since justice is of all the virtues that which contributes most to the common good. Reason and self-love compel us to love mankind even more than our neighbour, and to pity the wicked is to be very cruel to other men.
(¶4.160) ... You are amazed to find that one has noble sentiments of which the others have not the smallest germ, but remember that the latter are already philosophers and theologians while mile does not even know what is meant by a philosopher and has scarcely heard the name of God.
(¶4.309) To perceive is to feel; to compare is to judge; to judge and to feel are not the same.
Through sensations objects present themselves to me separately and singly as they are in nature; by comparing them I rearrange them, I shift them so to speak, I place one upon another to decide whether they are alike or different, or more generally to find out their relations.
To my mind, the distinctive faculty of an active or intelligent being is the power of understanding this word "is". I seek in vain in the merely sensitive entity that intelligent force which compares and judges; I can find no trace of it in its nature. This passive entity will be aware of each object separately, it will even be aware of the whole formed by the two together, but having no power to place them side by side it can never compare them, it can never form a judgement with regard to them.
(¶4.337) It is true, therefore, that man is lord of the earth on which he dwells; for not only does he tame all the beasts, not only does he control its elements through his industry; but he alone knows how to control it; by contemplation he takes possession of the stars which he cannot approach. Show me any other creature n earth who can make a fire and who can behold with admiration the sun
(¶4.406) ... Conscience is the voice of the soul, the passions are the voice of the body. It is strange that these voices often contradict each other? And then to which should we heed? Too often does reason deceive us; we have only too good a right to doubt her; but conscience never deceives us; she is the true guide of man; it is to the soul what instinct is to the body; he who obeys his conscience is following nature, and he need not fear that he will go astray.
(¶4.623) While our time is thus employed, we are ever on the look-out for Sophy, and we have not yet found her. It was not desirable that she should be found too easily, and I have taken care to look for her where I knew we should not find her.
The time is come; we must now seek her in earnest, lest Emile should mistake some one else for Sophy, and only discover his error when it is too late. Then farewell Paris, far-famed Paris, with all your noise and smoke and dirt, where the women have ceased to believe in honour and the men in virtue. we are in search of love, happiness, innocence; the further we go from Paris the better.
We have reached the last act of youth's drama; we are approaching its closing scene.
It is not good that man should be alone. Emile is now a man, and we must give him his promised helpmeet. That helpmeet is Sophy. ...
(¶5.4) But for her sex, a woman is a man; she has the same organs, the same needs, the same faculties. The machine is the same in its construction; its parts, its working, and its appearance are similar. Regard it as you will the difference is only in degree.
(¶5.5) Yet where sex is concerned man and woman are unlike; each is the complement of the other; the difficulty in comparing them lies in our inability to decide, in either case, what is a matter of sex and what is not. General differences present themselves to the comparative anatomist and even to the superficial observer; they seem not to be a matter of sex; yet they are really sex differences, though the connection eludes our observation. How far such differences may extend we cannot tell; all we know for certain is that where man and woman are alike, we have to do with the characteristics of the species; where they are unlike, we have to do with the characteristics of sex. Considered from these two standpoints, we find so many instances of likeness and unlikeness that it is perhaps one of the greatest of marvels how nature has contrived to make two beings so alike and yet so different.
(¶5.7) In the union of the sexes each alike contributes to the common end, but in different ways. From this diversity springs the first difference which may be observed between man and woman in their moral relations. The man should be strong and active; the woman should be weak and passive; the one should have both the power and the will; it is enough that the other should offer little resistance.
(¶5.8) When this principle is admitted, it follows that woman is specially made for man's delight. If man in his turn ought to be pleasing in her eyes, the necessity is less urgent, his virtue is in his strength, he pleases because he is strong. I grant you this is not the law of love, but it is the law of nature, which is older than love itself.
(¶5.9) If woman is made to please and to be in subjection to man, she ought to make herself pleasing in his eyes and not provoke him to anger; her strength is in her charms, by their means she should compel him to discover and use his strength. The surest way of arousing this strength is to make it necessary by resistance. Thus pride comes to the help of desire and exults in the other's victory. This is the origin of attack and defence, of the boldness of one sex and the timidity of the other, and even of the shame and modesty with which nature has armed the weak for the conquest of the strong.
(¶5.15) Thus the different constitution of the two sexes leads us to a third conclusion, that the stronger party seems to be master, but is as a matter of fact dependent on the weaker, and that, not by any foolish custom of gallantry, nor yet by the magnanimity of the protector, but by an inexorable law of nature. For nature has endowed woman with a power of stimulating man's passions in excess of man's power of satisfying those passions, and has thus made him dependent on her goodwill, and compelled him in his turn to endeavour to please her, so that she may be willing to yield to his superior strength. Is it weakness which yields to force, or is it voluntary self-surrender? This uncertainty constitutes the chief charm of the man's victory, and the woman is usually cunning enough to leave him in doubt. In this respect the woman's mind exactly resembles her body; far from being ashamed of her weakness, she is proud of it; her soft muscles offer no resistance, she professes that she cannot lift the lightest weight; she would be ashamed to be strong. And why? Not only to gain an appearance of refinement; she is too clever for that: she is providing herself beforehand with excuses, with the right to be weak if she chooses.
(¶5.17) ... Men have found that their pleasures depend, more than they expected, on the good will of the fair sex, and have secured this goodwill by attentions which have had their reward.
(¶5.18) See how we find ourselves led unconsciously from the physical to the moral constitution, how from the grosser union of the sexes spring the sweet laws of love. Woman reigns, not by the will of man, but by the decrees of nature herself; she had the power long before she showed it...
(¶5.19) The consequences of sex are wholly unlike for man and woman. The male is only a male now and again, the female is always a female, or at least all her youth; everything reminds her of her sex; the performance of her functions requires a special constitution. She needs care during pregnancy and freedom from work when her child is born; she must have a quiet, easy life while she nurses her children; their education calls for patience and gentleness, for a zeal and love which nothing can dismay; she forms a bond between father and child, she alone can win the father's love for the children and convince him that they are indeed his own. What loving care is required to preserve a united family! A there should be no question of virtue in all this, it must be a labour of love, without which the human race would be doomed to extinction.
(¶5.20) The mutual duties of the two sexes are not, and cannot be, equally binding on both. Women do wrong to complain of the inequality of man-made laws; this inequality is not of man's making, or at any rate it is not the result of mere prejudice, but of reason. She to whom nature has entrusted the care of the children must hold herself responsible for them to their father. No doubt every breach of faith is wrong, and every faithless husband, who robs his wife of the sole reward of the stern duties of her sex, is cruel and unjust; but the faithless wife is worse; she destroys the family and breaks the bonds of nature; when she gives her husband children who are not his own, she is false both to him and to them, her crime is not infidelity but treason. To my mind it is the source of dissension and of crime of every kind...
(¶5.21) ... For these reasons it is not enough that the woman should be chaste, she must preserve her reputation and her good name. From these principles there arises not only a moral difference between the sexes, but also a fresh motive for duty and propriety, which prescribes to women in particular the most scrupulous attention to their conduct, their manners and their behaviour.
(¶5.23) ... Can she be a nursing mother today and a soldier tomorrow? Will she change her tastes and her feelings as a chameleon changes his colour? Will she pass at once from the privacy of household duties and indoor occupations to the buffeting of the winds, the toils, the labours, the perils of war? Will she be now timid {footnote 1}, now brave, now fragile, now robust?
{footnote 1} Women's timidity is yet another instinct of nature against the double risk she runs during pregnancy.
(¶5.25) I am quite aware that Plato, in the Republic, assigns the same gymnastics to women and men. Having got rid of the family, there is no place for women in his system of government, so he is forced to turn them into men. That great genius has worked out his plans in detail and has provided for every contingency; he has even provided against a difficulty which in all likelihood no one would ever have raised; but he has not succeeded in meeting the real difficulty. I am not speaking of the alleged community of wives which has often been laid to his charge; this assertion only shows that his detractors have never read his works. I refer to that political promiscuity under which the same occupations are assigned to both sexes alike, a scheme which could only lead to intolerable evils; I refer to that subversion of all the tenderest of our natural feelings, which he sacrificed to an artificial sentiment which can only exist by their aid. Will the bonds of convention hold firm without some foundation in nature? Can devotion to the state exist apart from love of those near and dear to us? Can patriotism thrive except in the soil of that miniature fatherland, the home? Is it not the good son, the good husband, the good father, who makes the good citizen?
(¶5.26) When once it is proved that men and women are and ought to be alike in constitution and in temperament, it follows that their education must be different. Nature teaches us that they should work together, but that each has its own share of the work; the end is the same, but the means are different, as are also the feelings which direct them. We have tempted to paint a natural man, let us try to paint a helpmeet for him.
(¶5.32) When I consider the special purpose of woman, when I observe her inclinations or reckon up her duties, everything combines to indicate the mode of education she requires. Men and women are made for each other, but their mutual dependence differs in degree; man is dependent on woman through his desires; woman is dependent on man through her desires and also through her needs; he can do without her better than she can do without him. She cannot fulfil her purpose in life without his aid, without his goodwill, without his respect; she is dependent on our feelings, on the price we put upon her virtue, and the opinion we have of her charms and her deserts. Nature herself has decreed that woman, both for herself and her children, should be at the mercy of man's judgement.
(¶5.34) The children's health depends in the first place on the mother's, and the early education of man is also in a woman's hands; his morals, his passions, his taste, his pleasures, his happiness itself, depend on her. A woman's education must therefore be planned in relation to man. To be pleasing in his sight, to win his respect and love, to train him in childhood, to tend him n manhood, to counsel and console, to make his life pleasant and happy, these are the duties of woman for all time, and this is what she should be taught while she is young. The further we depart from this principle, the further we shall be from our goal, and all our precepts will fail to secure her happiness or our own.
(¶5.45) Boys and girls have many games in common, and this is as it should be; do they not play together when they are grown up? They have also special tastes of their own. Boys want movement and noise, drums, tops, toy-carts; girls prefer things which appeal to the eye, and can be used for dressing- up - mirrors, jewellery, finery and special dolls. The doll is the girl's special plaything; this shows her instinctive bent towards her life's work. The art of pleasing finds its physical basis in personal adornment, and this physical side of the art is the only one which the child can cultivate.
(¶5.46) Here is a little girl busy all day with her doll; she is always changing its clothes, dressing and undressing it, trying new combinations of trimmings well or ill matched; her fingers are clumsy, her taste is crude, but there is no mistaking her bent; in this endless occupation time flies unheeded, the hours slip away unnoticed, even meals are forgotten. "But she is dressing her doll, not herself," you will say. Just so; she sees her doll, she cannot see herself; she cannot do anything for herself, she has neither the training, nor the talent, nor the strength; as yet she herself is nothing, she is engrossed in her doll and all her coquetry is devoted to it. This will not always be so; in due time she will be her own doll.
(¶5.52) ... Girls should be attentive and industrious, but this is not enough by itself; they should be early accustomed to restraint. This misfortune, if such it be, is inherent in their sex, and they will never escape from it, unless to endure more cruel sufferings. All their life long they will have to submit to the strictest and most enduring restraints, those of propriety. They must be trained to bear the yoke from the first, so that they may not feel it, to master their own caprices and to submit themselves to the will of others. If they were always eager to be at work, they should sometimes be compelled to do nothing. Their childish faults, unchecked and unheeded, may easily lead to dissipation, frivolity and inconstancy. To guard against this, teach them above all things self-control. Under our senseless conditions, the life of a good woman is a perpetual struggle against self; it is only fair that woman should bear her share of the ills she has brought upon man.
(¶5.75) ... A woman's reason is practical, and therefore she soon arrives at given conclusion, but she fails to discover it for herself. The social relation of the sexes is a wonderful thing. This relation produces a moral person of which woman is the eye and man the hand, but the two are so dependent on one another that the man teaches the woman what to see, while she teaches him what to do. If women could discover principles and if men had as good heads for detail, they would be mutually independent, they would live in perpetual strife and there would be an end to all society. But in their mutual harmony each contributes to the common purpose; each follows the other's lead, each commands and each obeys.
(¶5.76) As a woman's conduct is controlled by public opinion, so is her religion ruled by authority. The daughter should follow her mother's religion, the wife her husband's. Were that religion false, the docility which leads mother and daughter to submit to nature's laws would blot out the sin of error in the sight of God. Unable to judge for themselves they should accept the judgement of father and husband as that of the church.
(¶5.77) While women unaided cannot deduce the rules of faith, neither can they assign limits to that faith by the evidence of reason; they allow themselves to be driven hither and thither by all sorts of external influences.
(¶5.109) The search for abstract and speculative truths, for principles and axioms in science, for all that tends to wide generalisation, is beyond a woman's grasp; their studies should be practical. It is their business to apply the principles discovered by men, it is their place to make the observations which lead men to discover those principles. A women's thoughts, beyond the range of her immediate duties, should be directed to the study of men, or the acquirement of that agreeable learning whose sole end is the formation of taste; for the works of genius are beyond her reach, and she has neither the accuracy nor the attention for success in the exact sciences; as for the physical sciences, to decide the relations between living creatures and the laws of nature is the task of that sex which is more active and enterprising, which sees more things, that sex which is possessed of greater strength and is more accustomed to the exercise of that strength. Woman, weak as she is and limited in her range of observations, perceives and judges the forces at her disposal to supplement her weakness and those forces are the passions of man. Her own mechanism is more powerful than ours; she has many levers which may set the human heart in motion. She must find a way to make us desire what she cannot achieve unaided and what she considers necessary or pleasing; therefore she must have a thorough knowledge of man's mind; not an abstract knowledge of the mind of man in general, but the mind of those men who are about her, the mind of those men who have authority over her, either by law or custom. She must learn to define their feelings from speech and action, look and gesture. By her own speech and action, look and gesture, she must be able to inspire them with the feelings she desires, without seeming to have any such purpose.
(¶5.123) A bold, shameless, intriguing woman, who can only attract her lovers by coquetry and retain them by her favours, wins a servile obedience in common things; in weighty and important matters she has no influence over them. But the woman who is both virtuous and wise, and charming, she who, in a word combines love and esteem, can send them at her bidding to the end of the world, to war, to glory, and to death at her behest. This is a fine kingdom, and worth the winning.
(¶5.139) Sophy... suffers from a consuming desire for love... she has lost... her taste for merry games; far from being afraid of the tedium of solitude she desires it. Her thoughts go out to him who will make solitude sweet for her. She finds strangers tedious, she wants a lover, not a circle of admirers. She would rather give pleasure to one good man than be a general favourite, or win the applause of society...
(¶5.140) A woman's judgement develops sooner than a man's; being on the defensive from her childhood up, and intrusted with a treasure so hard to keep, she is earlier acquainted with good and evil...
(¶5.141) Sophy has been taught the duties and rights of her own sex and of ours. She knows men's faults and women's vices; she also knows their corresponding good qualities and virtues, and has them by heart. No one can have a higher ideal of a virtuous woman, but she would rather think of a virtuous man, a man of true worth; she knows that she is made for such a man, that she is worthy of him, that she can make him as happy as he will make her; she is sure she will know him when she sees him; the difficulty is to find him.
(¶5.141) Women are by nature judges of men's worth, as he is of theirs; the right is reciprocal. ...
(¶5.312) Is it good for young people to travel? ... Are men the better for having travelled?...
(¶5.313) The misuse of books is the death of sound learning. People think they know what they have read, and take no pains to learn.
(¶5.417) The science of politics is and probably always will be unknown. Grotius, our leader in this branch of learning, is only a child, and what is worse an untruthful child. When I hear Grotius praised to the skies and Hobbes overwhelmed with abuse, I perceive how little sensible men have read or understood these authors. As a matter of fact, their principles are exactly alike, they only differ in their mode of expression. Their methods are also different: Hobbes relies on sophism; Grotius relies on the poets; they are agreed in everything else. In modern times the only man who could have created this vast and useless science was the illustrious Montesquieu. But he was not concerned with the principles of political law; he was content to deal with the positive laws of settled governments; and nothing could be more different than these two branches of study.
(¶5.418) Yet he who would judge wisely in matters of actual government is forced to combine the two; he must know what ought to be in order to judge what is. The chief difficulty in the way of throwing light upon this important matter is to induce an individual to discuss and to answer these two questions. "How does it concern me; and what can I do?" Emile is in a position to answer both.
(¶5.419) The next difficulty is due to the prejudices of childhood, the principles in which we were brought up; it is due above all to the partiality of authors, who are always talking about truth, though they care very little about it; it is only their own interests that they care for, and of these they say nothing. Now the nation has neither professorships, nor pensions, nor membership of the academies to bestow. How then shall its rights be established by men of that type? The education I have given him has removed this difficulty also from Emile's path. He scarcely knows what is meant by government; his business is to find the best; he does not want to write books; if ever he did so, it would not be to pay court to those in authority, but to establish the rights of humanity.
(¶5.420) There is a third difficulty, more specious than real; a difficulty which I neither desire to solve nor even to state; enough that I am not afraid of it; sure I am that in inquiries of this kind, great talents are less necessary than a genuine love of justice and a sincere reverence for truth. If matters of government can ever be fairly discussed, now or never is our chance.
(¶5.421) Before beginning our observations we must lay down rules of procedure; we must find a scale with which to compare our measurements. Our principles of political law are our scale. Our actual measurements are the civil law of each country.
(¶5.422) Our elementary notions are plain and simple, being taken directly from the nature of things. They will take the form of problems discussed between us, and they will not be formulated into principles, until we have found a satisfactory solution of our problems.
(¶5.423) For example, we shall begin with the state of nature, we shall see whether men are born slaves or free, in a community or independent; is their association the result of free will or of force? Can the force which compels them to united action ever form a permanent law, by which this original force becomes binding, even when another has been imposed upon it, so that since the power of King Nimrod, who is said to have been the first conqueror, every other power which has overthrown the original power is unjust and usurping, so that there are no lawful kings but the descendants of Nimrod or their representatives; or if this original power has ceased, has the power which succeeded it any right over us, and does it destroy the binding force of the former power, so that we are not bound to obey except under compulsion, and we are free to rebel as soon as we are capable of resistance? Such a right is not very different from might; it is little more than a play upon words.
(¶5.424) We shall inquire whether man might not say that all sickness comes from God, and that it is therefore a crime to send for the doctor.
(¶5.425) Again, we shall inquire whether we are bound by our conscience to give our purse to a highwayman when we might conceal it from him, for the pistol in his hand is also a power.
(¶5.426) Does this word power in this context mean something different from a power which is lawful and therefore subject to the laws to which it owes its being?
(¶5.427) Suppose we reject this theory that might is right and admit the right of nature, or the authority of the father, as the foundation of society; we shall inquire into the extent of this authority; what is its foundation in nature? Has it any other grounds but that of its usefulness to the child, his weakness, and the natural love which his father feels towards him? When the child is no longer feeble, when he is grown-up in mind as well as in body, does not he become the sole judge of what is necessary for his preservation? Is he not therefore his own master, independent of all men, even of his father himself? For is it not still more certain that the son loves himself, than that the father loves the son?
(¶5.428) The father being dead, should the children obey the eldest brother, or some other person who has not the natural affection of a father? Should there always be, from family to family, one single head to whom all the family owe obedience? If so, how has power ever come to be divided, and how is it that there is more than one head to govern the human race throughout the world?
(¶5.429) Suppose the nations to have been formed each by its own choice; we shall then distinguish between right and fact; being thus subjected to their brothers, uncles, or other relations, not because they were obliged, but because they choose, we shall inquire whether this kind of society is not a sort of free and voluntary association?
(¶5.430) Taking next the law of slavery, we shall inquire whether a man can make over to another his right to himself, without restriction, without reserve, without any kind of conditions; that is to say, can he renounce his person, his life, his reason. his very self, can he renounce all morality in his actions; in a word, can he cease to exist before his death, in spite of nature who places him directly in charge of his own preservation, in spite of reason and conscience which tell him what to do and what to leave undone?
(¶5.431) If there is any reservation or restriction in the deed of slavery, we shall discuss whether this deed does not then become a true contract, in which both the contracting powers, having in this respect no common master, [Footnote: If they had such a common master, he would be no other than the sovereign, and then the right of slavery resting on the right of sovereignty would not be its origin.] remain their own judge as to the conditions of the contract, and therefore free to this extent, and able to break the contract as soon as it becomes hurtful.
(¶5.432) If then a slave cannot convey himself altogether to his master, how can a nation convey itself altogether to its head? If a slave is to judge whether his master is fulfilling his contract, is not the nation to judge whether its head is fulfilling his contract?
(¶5.433) Thus we are compelled to retrace our steps, and when we consider the meaning of this collective nation we shall inquire whether some contract, a tacit contract at the least, is not required to make a nation, a contract anterior to that which we are assuming.
(¶5.434) Since the nation was a nation before it chose a king, what made it a nation, except the social contract? Therefore the social contract is the foundation of all civil society, and it is in the nature of this contract that we must seek the nature of the society formed by it.
(¶5.435) We will inquire into the meaning of his contract; may it not be fairly well expressed in this formula? As an individual every one of us contributes his goods, his person, his life, to the common stock, under the supreme direction of the general will; while as a body we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.
(¶5.436) Assuming this, in order to define the terms we require, we shall observe that, instead of the individual person of each contracting party, this deed of association produces a moral and collective body, consisting of as many members as there are votes in the Assembly. This public personality is usually called the body politic, which is called by its members the State when it is passive, and the Sovereign when it is active, and a Power when compared with its equals. With regard to the members themselves, collectively they are known as the nation, and individually as citizens as members of the city or partakers in the sovereign power, and subjects as obedient to the same authority.
(¶5.437) We shall note that this contract of association includes a mutual pledge on the part of the public and the individual; and that each individual, entering, so to speak, into a contract with himself, finds himself in a twofold capacity, i.e., as a member of the sovereign with regard to others, as member of the state with regard to the sovereign.
(¶5.438) We shall also note that while no one is bound by any engagement to which he was not himself a party, the general deliberation which may be binding on all the subjects with regard to the sovereign, because of the two different relations under which each of them is envisaged, cannot be binding on the state with regard to itself. Hence we see that there is not, and cannot be, any other fundamental law, properly so called, except the social contract only. This does not mean that the body politic cannot, in certain respects, pledge itself to others; for in regard to the foreigner, it then becomes a simple creature, an individual.
(¶5.439) Thus the two contracting parties, i.e., each individual and the public, have no common superior to decide their differences; so we will inquire if each of them remains free to break the contract at will, that is to repudiate it on his side as soon as he considers it hurtful.
(¶5.440) To clear up this difficulty, we shall observe that, according to the social pact, the sovereign power is only able to act through the common, general will; so its decrees can only have a general or common aim; hence it follows that a private individual cannot be directly injured by the sovereign, unless all are injured, which is impossible, for that would be to want to harm oneself. Thus the social contract has no need of any warrant but the general power, for it can only be broken by individuals, and they are not therefore freed from their engagement, but punished for having broken it.
(¶5.441) To decide all such questions rightly, we must always bear in mind that the nature of the social pact is private and peculiar to itself, in that the nation only contracts with itself, i.e., the people as a whole as sovereign, with the individuals as subjects; this condition is essential to the construction and working of the political machine, it alone makes pledges lawful, reasonable, and secure, without which it would be absurd, tyrannical, and liable to the grossest abuse.
(¶5.442) Individuals having only submitted themselves to the sovereign, and the sovereign power being only the general will, we shall see that every man in obeying the sovereign only obeys himself, and how much freer are we under the social part than in the state of nature.
(¶5.443) Having compared natural and civil liberty with regard to persons, we will compare them as to property, the rights of ownership and the rights of sovereignty, the private and the common domain. If the sovereign power rests upon the right of ownership, there is no right more worthy of respect; it is inviolable and sacred for the sovereign power, so long as it remains a private individual right; as soon as it is viewed as common to all the citizens, it is subject to the common will, and this will may destroy it. Thus the sovereign has no right to touch the property of one or many; but he may lawfully take possession of the property of all, as was done in Sparta in the time of Lycurgus; while the abolition of debts by Solon was an unlawful deed.
(¶5.444) Since nothing is binding on the subjects except the general will, let us inquire how this will is made manifest, by what signs we may recognise it with certainty, what is a law, and what are the true characters of the law? This is quite a fresh subject; we have still to define the term law.
(¶5.445) As soon as the nation considers one or more of its members, the nation is divided. A relation is established between the whole and its part which makes of them two separate entities, of which the part is one, and the whole, minus that part, is the other. But the whole minus the part is not the whole; as long as this relation exists, there is no longer a whole, but two unequal parts.
(¶5.446) On the other hand, if the whole nation makes a law for the whole nation, it is only considering itself; and if a relation is set up, it is between the whole community regarded from one point of view, and the whole community regarded from another point of view, without any division of that whole. Then the object of the statute is general, and the will which makes that statute is general too. Let us see if there is any other kind of decree which may bear the name of law.
(¶5.447) If the sovereign can only speak through laws, and if the law can never have any but a general purpose, concerning all the members of the state, it follows that the sovereign never has the power to make any law with regard to particular cases; and yet it is necessary for the preservation of the state that particular oases should also be dealt with; let us see how this can be done.
(¶5.448) The decrees of the sovereign can only be decrees of the general will, that is laws; there must also be determining decrees, decrees of power or government, for the execution of those laws; and these, on the other hand, can only have particular aims. Thus the decrees by which the sovereign decides that a chief shall be elected is a law; the decree by which that chief is elected, in pursuance of the law, is only a decree of government.
(¶5.449) This is a third relation in which the assembled people may be considered, i.e., as magistrates or executors of the law which it has passed in its capacity as sovereign. [Footnote: These problems and theorems are mostly taken from the Treatise on the Social Contract, itself a summary of a larger work, undertaken without due consideration of my own powers, and long since abandoned.]
(¶5.450) We will now inquire whether it is possible for the nation to deprive itself of its right of sovereignty, to bestow it on one or more persons; for the decree of election not being a law, and the people in this decree not being themselves sovereign, we do not see how they can transfer a right which they do not possess.
(¶5.451) The essence of sovereignty consisting in the general will, it is equally hard to see how we can be certain that an individual will shall always be in agreement with the general will. We should rather assume that it will often be opposed to it; for individual interest always tends to privileges, while the common interest always tends to equality, and if such an agreement were possible, no sovereign right could exist, unless the agreement were either necessary or indestructible.
(¶5.452) We will inquire if, without violating the social pact, the heads of the nation, under whatever name they are chosen, can ever be more than the officers of the people, entrusted by them with the duty of carrying the law into execution. Are not these chiefs themselves accountable for their administration, and are not they themselves subject to the laws which it is their business to see carried out?
(¶5.453) If the nation cannot alienate its supreme right, can it entrust it to others for a time? Cannot it give itself a master, cannot it find representatives? This is an important question and deserves discussion.
(¶5.454) If the nation can have neither sovereign nor representatives we will inquire how it can pass its own laws; must there be many laws; must they be often altered; is it easy for a great nation to be its own lawgiver?
Was not the Roman people a great nation?
Is it a good thing that there should be great nations?
(¶5.455) It follows from considerations already established that there is an intermediate body in the state between subjects and sovereign; and this intermediate body, consisting of one or more members, is entrusted with the public administration, the carrying out of the laws, and the maintenance of civil and political liberty.
(¶5.456) The members of this body are called magistrates or kings, that is to say, rulers. This body, as a whole, considered in relation to its members, is called the prince, and considered in its actions it is called the government.
(¶5.457) If we consider the action of the whole body upon itself, that is to say, the relation of the whole to the whole, of the sovereign to the state, we can compare this relation to that of the extremes in a proportion of which the government is the middle term. The magistrate receives from the sovereign the commands which he gives to the nation, and when it is reckoned up his product or his power is in the same degree as the product or power of the citizens who are subjects on one side of the proportion and sovereigns on the other. None of the three terms can be varied without at once destroying this proportion. If the sovereign tries to govern, and if the prince wants to make the laws, or if the subject refuses to obey them, disorder takes the place of order, and the state falls to pieces under despotism or anarchy.
(¶5.458) Let us suppose that this state consists of ten thousand citizens. The sovereign can only be considered collectively and as a body, but each individual, as a subject, has his private and independent existence. Thus the sovereign is as ten thousand to one; that is to say, every member of the state has, as his own share, only one ten-thousandth part of the sovereign power, although he is subject to the whole. Let the nation be composed of one hundred thousand men, the position of the subjects is unchanged, and each continues to bear the whole weight of the laws, while his vote, reduced to the one hundred-thousandth part, has ten times less influence in the making of the laws. Thus the subject being always one, the sovereign is relatively greater as the number of the citizens is increased. Hence it follows that the larger the state the less liberty.
(¶5.459) Now the greater the disproportion between private wishes and the general will, i.e., between manners and laws, the greater must be the power of repression. On the other side, the greatness of the state gives the depositaries of public authority greater temptations and additional means of abusing that authority, so that the more power is required by the government to control the people, the more power should there be in the sovereign to control the government.
(¶5.460) From this twofold relation it follows that the continued proportion between the sovereign, the prince, and the people is not an arbitrary idea, but a consequence of the nature of the state. Moreover, it follows that one of the extremes, i.e., the nation, being constant, every time the double ratio increases or decreases, the simple ratio increases or diminishes in its turn; which cannot be unless the middle term is as often changed. From this we may conclude that there is no single absolute form of government, but there must be as many different forms of government as there are states of different size.
(¶5.461) If the greater the numbers of the nation the less the ratio between its manners and its laws, by a fairly clear analogy, we may also say, the more numerous the magistrates, the weaker the government.
(¶5.462) To make this principle clearer we will distinguish three essentially different wills in the person of each magistrate; first, his own will as an individual, which looks to his own advantage only; secondly, the common will of the magistrates, which is concerned only with the advantage of the prince, a will which may be called corporate, and one which is general in relation to the government and particular in relation to the state of which the government forms part; thirdly, the will of the people, or the sovereign will, which is general, as much in relation to the state viewed as the whole as in relation to the government viewed as a part of the whole. In a perfect legislature the private individual will should be almost nothing; the corporate will belonging to the government should be quite subordinate, and therefore the general and sovereign will is the master of all the others. On the other hand, in the natural order, these different wills become more and more active in proportion as they become centralised; the general will is always weak, the corporate will takes the second place, the individual will is preferred to all; so that every one is himself first, then a magistrate, and then a citizen; a series just the opposite of that required by the social order.
(¶5.463) Having laid down this principle, let us assume that the government is in the hands of one man. In this case the individual and the corporate will are absolutely one, and therefore this will has reached the greatest possible degree of intensity. Now the use of power depends on the degree of this intensity, and as the absolute power of the government is always that of the people, and therefore invariable, it follows that the rule of one man is the most active form of government.
(¶5.464) If, on the other hand, we unite the government with the supreme power, and make the prince the sovereign and the citizens so many magistrates, then the corporate will is completely lost in the general will, and will have no more activity than the general will, and it will leave the individual will in full vigour. Thus the government, though its absolute force is constant, will have the minimum of activity.
(¶5.465) These rules are incontestable in themselves, and other considerations only serve to confirm them. For example, we see the magistrates as a body far more active than the citizens as a body, so that the individual will always counts for more. For each magistrate usually has charge of some particular duty of government; while each citizen, in himself, has no particular duty of sovereignty. Moreover, the greater the state the greater its real power, although its power does not increase because of the increase in territory; but the state remaining unchanged, the magistrates are multiplied in vain, the government acquires no further real strength, because it is the depositary of that of the state, which I have assumed to be constant. Thus, this plurality of magistrates decreases the activity of the government without increasing its power.
(¶5.466) Having found that the power of the government is relaxed in proportion as the number of magistrates is multiplied, and that the more numerous the people, the more the controlling power must be increased, we shall infer that the ratio between the magistrates and the government should be inverse to that between subjects and sovereign, that is to say, that the greater the state, the smaller the government, and that in like manner the number of chiefs should be diminished because of the increased numbers of the people.
(¶5.467) In order to make this diversity of forms clearer, and to assign them their different names, we shall observe in the first place that the sovereign may entrust the care of the government to the whole nation or to the greater part of the nation, so that there are more citizen magistrates than private citizens. This form of government is called Democracy.
(¶5.468) Or the sovereign may restrict the government in the hands of a lesser number, so that there are more plain citizens than magistrates; and this form of government is called Aristocracy.
(¶5.469) Finally, the sovereign may concentrate the whole government in the hands of one man. This is the third and commonest form of government, and is called Monarchy or royal government.
(¶5.470) We shall observe that all these forms, or the first and second at least, may be less or more, and that within tolerably wide limits. For the democracy may include the whole nation, or may be confined to one half of it. The aristocracy, in its turn, may shrink from the half of the nation to the smallest number. Even royalty may be shared, either between father and son, between two brothers, or in some other fashion. There were always two kings in Sparta, and in the Roman empire there were as many as eight emperors at once, and yet it cannot be said that the empire was divided. There is a point where each form of government blends with the next; and under the three specific forms there may be really as many forms of government as there are citizens in the state.
(¶5.471) Nor is this all. In certain respects each of these governments is capable of subdivision into different parts, each administered in one of these three ways. From these forms in combination there may arise a multitude of mixed forms, since each may be multiplied by all the simple forms.
(¶5.472) In all ages there have been great disputes as to which is the best form of government, and people have failed to consider that each is the best in some cases and the worst in others. For ourselves, if the number of magistrates [Footnote: You will remember that I mean, in this context, the supreme magistrates or heads of the nation, the others being only their deputies in this or that respect.] in the various states is to be in inverse ratio to the number of the citizens, we infer that generally a democratic government is adapted to small states, an aristocratic government to those of moderate size, and a monarchy to large states.
(¶5.473) These inquiries furnish us with a clue by which we may discover what are the duties and rights of citizens, and whether they can be separated one from the other; what is our country, in what does it really consist, and how can each of us ascertain whether he has a country or no?
(¶5.474) Having thus considered every kind of civil society in itself, we shall compare them, so as to note their relations one with another; great and small, strong and weak, attacking one another, insulting one another, destroying one another; and in this perpetual action and reaction causing more misery and loss of life than if men had preserved their original freedom. We shall inquire whether too much or too little has not been accomplished in the matter of social institutions; whether individuals who are subject to law and to men, while societies preserve the independence of nature, are not exposed to the ills of both conditions without the advantages of either, and whether it would not be better to have no civil society in the world rather than to have many such societies. Is it not that mixed condition which partakes of both and secures neither?
"Per quem neutrum licet, nec tanquam in bello paratum esse, nec tanquam in pace securum. Seneca De Trang: Animi, cap. I."
Is it not this partial and imperfect association which gives rise to tyranny and war? And are not tyranny and war the worst scourges of humanity?
(¶5.475) Finally we will inquire how men seek to get rid of these difficulties by means of leagues and confederations, which leave each state its own master in internal affairs, while they arm it against any unjust aggression. We will inquire how a good federal association may be established, what can make it lasting, and how far the rights of the federation may be stretched without destroying the right of sovereignty.
(¶5.476) The Abbe de Saint-Pierre suggested an association of all the states of Europe to maintain perpetual peace among themselves. Is this association practicable, and supposing that it were established, would it be likely to last? These inquiries lead us straight to all the questions of international law which may clear up the remaining difficulties of political law. Finally we shall lay down the real principles of the laws of war, and we shall see why Grotius and others have only stated false principles.
(¶5.477) I should not be surprised if my pupil, who is a sensible young man, should interrupt me saying, "One would think we were building our edifice of wood and not of men; we are putting everything so exactly in its place!" That is true; but remember that the law does not bow to the passions of men, and that we have first to establish the true principles of political law. Now that our foundations are laid, come and see what men have built upon them; and you will see some strange sights!
(¶5.478) Then I set him to read Telemachus, and we pursue our journey; we are seeking that happy Salentum and the good Idomeneus made wise by misfortunes. By the way we find many like Protesilas and no Philocles, neither can Adrastes, King of the Daunians, be found. But let our readers picture our travels for themselves, or take the same journeys with Telemachus in their hand; and let us not suggest to them painful applications which the author himself avoids or makes in spite of himself.
(¶5.479) Moreover, Emile is not a king, nor am I a god, so that we are not distressed that we cannot imitate Telemachus and Mentor in the good they did; none know better than we how to keep to our own place, none have less desire to leave it. We know that the same task is allotted to all; that whoever loves what is right with all his heart, and does the right so far as it is in his power, has fulfilled that task. We know that Telemachus and Mentor are creatures of the imagination. Emile does not travel in idleness and he does more good than if he were a prince. If we were kings we should be no greater benefactors. If we were kings and benefactors we should cause any number of real evils for every apparent good we supposed we were doing. If we were kings and sages, the first good deed we should desire to perform, for ourselves and for others, would be to abdicate our kingship and return to our present position.
(¶5.480) I have said why travel does so little for every one. What makes it still more barren for the young is the way in which they are sent on their travels. Tutors, more concerned to amuse than to instruct, take them from town to town, from palace to palace, where if they are men of learning and letters, they make them spend their time in libraries, or visiting antiquaries, or rummaging among old buildings transcribing ancient inscriptions. In every country they are busy over some other century, as if they were living in another country; so that after they have travelled all over Europe at great expense, a prey to frivolity or tedium, they return, having seen nothing to interest them, and having learnt nothing that could be of any possible use to them.
(¶5.481) All capitals are just alike, they are a mixture of all nations and all ways of living; they are not the place in which to study the nations. Paris and London seem to me the same town. Their inhabitants have a few prejudices of their own, but each has as many as the other, and all their rules of conduct are the same. We know the kind of people who will throng the court. We know the way of living which the crowds of people and the unequal distribution of wealth will produce. As soon as any one tells me of a town with two hundred thousand people, I know its life already. What I do not know about it is not worth going there to learn.