Which statement BEST describes Rousseau’s view of the relationship between governments and the rights of the people? A. If governments are to remain in power, they must protect the rights of...

Which statement BEST describes Rousseau’s view of the relationship between governments and the rights of the people?
A.
If governments are to remain in power, they must protect the rights of at least some of their citizens.
B.
When governments are created with the consent of the people, the people are more likely to retain their natural rights.
C.
Governments should act as a paternal, or father figure, whose sole responsibility is to protect society from chaos.
D.
Governments should only protect the rights of the majority, since it is the majority of citizens that give the government its power and authority.
Expert Answers
jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Statement B best describes Rousseau's views.

In The Social Contract, Rousseau posited that people, when they remained in the state of nature, were not corrupt. Instead, it was society that corrupted them, particularly the competition for material wealth. In his view, society created inequalities that were unnatural. Prior to the French Revolution, France was a very unequal society with an increasingly desperate working-class and a willfully blind aristocracy. For Rousseau and other Enlightenment figures, this situation was untenable. 

Rousseau believed that a government formed by popular sovereignty, or with the consent of the people, would be most sustainable in the long-term.

Rousseau had a positive view of human nature. On the other hand, Thomas Hobbes had a negative view. Statement C best reflects Hobbes's view as explained in Leviathan. He believed that, without a strong monarch, citizens would give in to their worst instincts. 

However, neither Hobbes nor Rousseau favored the abandonment of minorities. It was a government's responsibility, whether it be a popular sovereignty or a monarchy, to protect the interests of all citizens.