The contemporary concept of sovereignty was first introduced by Jean Bodin with his treatise Six Books on the Republic published in 1576. (Bodin) Bodin was a product of the Reformation era and among the first to notice the relationship between goods and the amount of money in circulation published his book. His book the Six Books on the Republic rested on the main idea was that sovereignty is the absolute and perpetual power vested in the commonwealth. The idea that sovereignty is absolute means that it is indivisible yet still has limits. For example sovereignty is only exercised in the public sphere not the private sphere. Furthermore Bodin explains that sovereignty is perpetual meaning that terminate once the holder is nonexistent, thus it is not anyone’s particular property and can exist on its own.
Bodin’s theories of sovereignty laid the groundwork for other philosophers. Jean- Jacques Rousseau’s concept of social contract further expands on the idea of sovereignty. Rousseau was during the Enlightenment Era and a Geneva philosopher. His most influential work Social Contract examines and provides the structure for a political order. Rousseau proposed that nature was without law and without morality. Furthermore as society developed, humans needed to cooperate to benefit each other thus creating division of labor and creation of private property which then required humans to have institutions of law in order to govern these new developments. However man’s survival is in competition with other fellow humans and at the same time increasing dependent on other humans.
Rousseau’s opening lines are very dramatic “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are.” In order to remain free, man must agree together to the social contract and abandon their respective natural right. This is due to the fact that submission to the authority of general...