All the King's Men

As willie Stark campaigns to become governor, how is his oppinion of government concur with Rousseau's view?

What does Rousseau's view of government and Willie's view have in common?

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Willie Stark is a representative of the American political philosophy of "populism," which simply put is the assignment of control to the 'common man.' Willie's grassroots efforts are both enlivened by and a direct contrast to the rampant political corruption in his state. His fury, seen in his many political speeches to the people, is meant to empower the people to demand their government look out for them. Rousseau's basic political philosophy is that of the "Social Contract," which states that mankind (the "common men") created government in the first place to take care of them, and so the power is in the hands of the people, since the government only rules by their consent. Ideally through systems like direct democracy, the people should be able to change or negate a government that does not work for them. This is similar to the populist philosophy that drives Willie's success amongst the population of his unnamed Southern state.


Rousseau, The Social Contract ; Warren, All The King's Men