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J.-J. Rousseau on League of Nations - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 280
League of Nations/Rousseau/Höffe: In the form of a commentary paraphrase of Saint-Pierre(1), Rousseau deals in an excerpt with the causes of the state of war prevailing in Europe, a state of nature between states that can only be lifted by a confederation (confédération) and for which Greek, Roman and Gallic models already exist. As commonalities of Europe, he emphasizes the Roman Empire, state institutions and laws, with special emphasis on Christianity, but also topographical commonalities.
Europe: [Rousseau] describes the European state system
Höffe I 281
as a restlessly stable balance that cannot be overcome without the help of political art. In a mid-term review, Rousseau records three truths that he considers undeniable: that there are close, albeit imperfect and that there are links between all the peoples of Europe, "except the Turks"; that imperfection contributes to the present misery, but also allows it to be overcome.
Peace order: [It considers] Rousseau to have five areas of responsibility (...), among them (…) are sovereigns who signed the treaty and are entitled to vote but are to be listed individually, that their possession and power to govern are to be guaranteed, and how one is to proceed against a breach of the treaty.
Advantages: These include a complete and lasting "eternal" security, a lasting freedom and security of European and world trade, a progress of the riches of the States and all those institutions that "increase the public resources and the happiness of the peoples".
Social contract: Despite this clear commitment to a lasting peace order, Rousseau completely ignores the topic in the social contract. The states committed to the ideal of the social contract already live in peace with their neighbors - for they are not only small, but also frugal and defensive. But Rousseau does not raise the question of how they should behave towards offensive neighbors.


1. Abbé Castel de Saint-Pierre's Plan for Eternal Peace in Europe (Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe, 1-11: 1713, Ill: 1717), Rousseau wrote a longer excerpt (Extrait), which he supplemented in the same year 1756 with a shorter judgement on eternal peace (Jugement sur la paix perpétuelle) (...)


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Rousseau I
J. J. Rousseau
Les Confessions, 1765-1770, publ. 1782-1789
German Edition:
The Confessions 1953

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-08-05
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