Discours sur l’inégalité: In the last pages of his Discours sur l’inégalité, Rousseau depicts the end of an unendurable state of nature by outlining a historie hypothétique of governments and framing a theory of contract. A first pact, deriving from the fraudulent initiative of the wealthy élite, gives rise to a simple society and a weak form of political power. A second pact leads to a more complex society and a more organized form of political power. Though basically legal through being accepted by those involved, these two forms of social contract originated from "raisons spécieuses" and would in time lead to despotic systems of government, where individuals lost their freedom and became enslaved. Notwithstanding the various and important differences between the pact as it is set out in the Discours and in the Contrat, the final outcome in the Discours sheds light on two facts: for Rousseau human beings cannot live outside an organized political society and the notion of a contract is crucial to his political philosophy.
Keywords: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, state of nature, social contract, government, freedom, slavery.