The Social Contract - Book 2, Part 3 Summary & Analysis

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Book 2, Part 3 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 8, "Of the People"

Continuing his examination of the process of establishing law, the author first comments in this chapter that a legislator must fully know and understand the people with whom he's working, and judge both the quality of his laws and the timing at which they're presented. This latter, he says, is perhaps most important, in that cultures must be reformed when still in their relative youth, saying that once people have lived with a certain set of established routines and rules, they will be extremely reluctant (perhaps even violently so) to the idea of changing them. He cites the example of Peter the Great of Russia, whom he describes at length as attempting good and worthwhile reforms, but neither knew his people well enough nor judged his timing well enough to allow his plans to succeed...

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This section contains 1,096 words
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