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This is a "Reader's Guide" to one of the most important and influential works of political thought in the history of philosophy. Rousseau's "The Social Contract" is one of the most important works of political thought in the history of philosophy. Since its publication in 1762, it has been profoundly influential in shaping the historical developments of many societies and remains sharply relevant today. Geared towards the specific requirements of students coming to Rousseau's work for the first time, this "Reader's Guide" offers guidance on philosophical and historical context, key themes, reading the text, reception and influence and advice on further reading."Continuum Reader's Guides" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to key texts in literature and philosophy. Each book explores the themes, context, criticism and influence of key works, providing a practical introduction to close reading, guiding students towards a thorough understanding of the text. They provide an essential, up-to-date resource, ideal for undergraduate students.