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Constitutions and the ClassicsPatterns of Constitutional Thought from Fortescue to Bentham$
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Denis Galligan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714989.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

The General Will Constitution

The General Will Constitution

Rousseau as a Constitutionalist

(p.265) 12 The General Will Constitution
Constitutions and the Classics

Ruzha Smilova

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the constitutional features of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘association of the general will’ and addresses the issue of whether and how the tension between popular sovereignty and limited government is resolved there. It begins with an account of Rousseau’s arguments for popular sovereignty and outlines the main features of his ‘association of the general will’. It then looks at the issue of constitutional beginning, Firstly, how the sovereign is constituted: how a mere aggregate of individuals becomes an association of the general will with the above properties. Secondly, how its general will is shaped. The godly Legislator as Rousseau’s controversial solution to the problem of constitutional beginning is the focus of the second part of the chapter. The last is organized around the more strictly ‘constitutional’ features of Rousseau’s project.

Keywords:   Jean-Jacques Rousseau, political thought, constitutional theory, popular sovereignty, limited government

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