Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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How does Rousseau define slavery?

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Jean-Jaques Rousseau was a French philosopher and abolitionist who understood slavery to be an absolute evil in the world that completely denied the core autonomy of an individual. Rousseau held strong libertarian positions that rejected the very premise of enslavement. According to Rousseau, any conditions that denies an individual the ability to maintain their own autonomy should not exist—and, according to Rousseau's theories, cannot exist—as it directly conflicts with the innate freedom of the individual. Rousseau extends the definition of slavery into any condition in which the individual is unwillingly subjected to the authority of another individual such as the case between governments and subjects.

Rousseau's Enlightenment Era philosophy of the innate rights of every individual and the inherent equality of every individual held that slavery not only denies the innate rights/freedom of the individual but also denies the reality of inherent equality among humans. This equality...

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