•  
  •  
 

Abstract

It is challenging to define precisely what role the legislator plays in Rousseau’s Social Contract; however, when viewed in light of the ancient guardians, the role of the legislator becomes less obscure. This paper pursues the similarities between Rousseau’s concept of the legislator and Plato’s concept of the guardian while also exploring the poignant differences between the two. One cannot help but notice their fundamental similarities such as the superior character and intelligence of the legislator and how each communicates with the people. Their ultimate purpose and legitimacy differs, however, in that the legislator plays a more esoteric role in his relation to the people to order to persuade them of his ideas. Conversely, the guardian’s purpose is one of enlightenment through reason; he never has to persuade anyone of anything.