In On the Social Contract, Rousseau lays the groundwork for a new understanding of democracy and the social through his concept of the general will, which had a formative influence on the visions of democracy, popular sovereignty and “the people” that emerged in the French Revolution. Alexis de Tocqueville raises questions about this democratic vision in his book ‘Democracy in America’.
This essay aims to answer these three questions:
Explain Rousseau’s understanding of popular sovereignty and democracy in On the Social Contract
What problems does Tocqueville see in popular sovereignty and democracy in his analysis of the United States?
How does he think we can moderate democracy and avoid the extremes that he sees in something like Rousseau’s general will?
Note: the only reference materials you can use are the books: Discourse by Jeane Jaque Rousseau, Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. I would prefer not but if you must use other references you must cite them properly along with proper in-text citation styles.
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