The Quest for Self-Determination

By Dov Ronen | Go to book overview

2
THE FIVE MANIFESTATIONS

The political awakening in the eighteenth century sought the complete liberation of the human being. Up to the period of the French Revolution, the idea that man has a right to be free had few proponents. Since then, despite several setbacks, the idea of the right to self-determination has spread, transmitted by modernization and improved communications and strengthened by the cataclysmic impact of the two world wars. 1

The intellectual fathers of this awakening were Locke, Rousseau, and other philosophers of the Englightenment. Locke supported inalienable individual rights and limited government. He emphasized that individual man, not the national group, was the repository of all rights; popular sovereignty could be linked to any aggregation of individuals. Rousseau searched for a way to free people from the authority of the state, which, in his opinion, lacked legitimate political authority. Rousseau raised the individual as the object of liberation. He did not elevate the general will to an independent moral entity transcending the individual, but said the general will is the will of individuals. 2 He believed, as "Kant [did] after him, that freedom consisted in obedience to laws which men imposed upon themselves," for Rousseau believed that man wants

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The Quest for Self-Determination
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Self-Determination: An Overview 1
  • 2 - The Five Manifestations 24
  • 3 - Back to Basics 53
  • 4 - Four Examples: The Scots, Biafra, the Palestinians, and South Africa 71
  • 5 - Implications for the Modern State and the 5 International System 99
  • 6 - A Glimpse into the Future 117
  • Notes 121
  • Selected Bibliography 135
  • Index 139
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