Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER XII.: How the Sovereign Authority is Maintained. - Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau's Social Contract, More's Utopia, Bacon's New Atlantis, Campanella's City of the Sun
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CHAPTER XII.: How the Sovereign Authority is Maintained. - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun 
Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun, with an Introduction by Charles M. Andrews (Washington: M. Walter Dunne, 1901).
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How the Sovereign Authority is Maintained.
The sovereign, having no other force than the legislative power, acts only through the laws; and the laws being nothing but authentic acts of the general will, the sovereign can act only when the people are assembled. The people assembled, it will be said: what a chimera! It is a chimera to-day; but it was not so two thousand years ago. Have men changed their nature?
The limits of the possible in moral things are less narrow than we think; it is our weaknesses, our vices, our prejudices, that contract them. Sordid souls do not believe in great men; vile slaves smile with a mocking air at the word liberty.
From what has been done let us consider what can be done. I shall not speak of the ancient republics of Greece; but the Roman Republic was, it seems to me, a great State, and the city of Rome a great city. The last census in Rome showed that there were 400,000 citizens bearing arms, and the last enumeration of the Empire showed more than 4,000,000 citizens, without reckoning subjects, foreigners, women, children, and slaves.
What a difficulty, we might suppose, there would be in assembling frequently the enormous population of the capital and its environs. Yet few weeks passed without the Roman people being assembled, even several times. Not only did they exercise the rights of sovereignty, but a part of the functions of government. They discussed certain affairs and judged certain causes, and in the public assembly the whole people were almost as often magistrates as citizens.
By going back to the early times of nations, we should find that the majority of the ancient governments, even monarchical ones, like those of the Macedonians and the Franks, had similar councils. Be that as it may, this single incontestable fact solves all difficulties; inference from the actual to the possible appears to me sound.