Rousseau and Bossuet

A student discussion post quoted a source that we use for class, an excerpt from Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet’s Political Treatise. I should have noticed this before, but Bossuet writes about the king in much the same way that Rousseau writes about the sovereign, a united community formed by individuals who have given over their rights to society via the social contract. He calls the sovereign a “public person.” Here is Bossuet:

The prince, as prince, is not regarded as a private person: he is a public personage, all the state is in him; the will of all the people is included in his. As all perfection and all strength are united in God, so all the power of individuals is united in the person of the prince. What grandeur that a single man should embody so much!


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