Locke and Rousseau on prerogative: Debating proper governance

Benjamin J Gutierrez, University of Texas at El Paso


The organization of this paper is composed of three main sections. The first section intensively analyzes the discourses of John Locke. Thoroughly combing through Locke's reasoning the concept six fundamental principles of executive prerogative are derived. This provides a basis for comparison and understanding.The second section investigates Jean-Jacques Rousseau's works as an alternative proposal to the static principles of Locke. In order to effectively gain insight on executive prerogative, the basis and purpose of proper governments must be thoroughly addressed. Through Rousseau's various works three tenets for proper governance are built. The factors that position Rousseau to advocate for executive actions beyond the constraints of the general will are extremely noteworthy. The third section assesses and operationalizes the contemporary concept of executive prerogative that previous sections analyze. The principles and purposes of governance of executive prerogative according to Locke and Rousseau are operationalized as three maxims. These three maxims are used as the backdrop of the foundations that provide for proper governance the contemporary discussion of executive prerogative.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Political science

Recommended Citation

Gutierrez, Benjamin J, "Locke and Rousseau on prerogative: Debating proper governance" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1503725.