It comes down to this: Each one of us puts into the community their person and all their powers under the supreme direction of the general will; and as a body we incorporate every member as an indivisible part of the whole. Since each person gives themselves to the all, they give themselves to no one; and since there is no associate over whom one does not gain the same rights as others gain over them, each person recovers the equivalent of everything they lose, and in the bargain they acquire more power to preserve what they have.
This person formed by the union of all persons is called the republic or the body politic. Those associated in it take the name of a ‘people’ and call themselves individually citizens. The people is never corrupted but it is often misled; and only then does it seem to will what is bad.
The private will inclines by its very nature towards partiality, and the general will towards equality. Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be forced to be free.