Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Philosopher, Author

1712 – 1778

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Who was Jean-Jacques Rousseau?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological, and educational thought.

Rousseau's novel Émile, or On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was of importance to the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical writings — his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a Solitary Walkerexemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility, and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing. His Discourse on the Origin of Inequality and his On the Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. He argued that private property was conventional and the beginning of true civil society.

Rousseau was a successful composer of music, who wrote seven operas as well as music in other forms, and made contributions to music as a theorist.

Famous Quotes:

  • The training of children is a profession, where we must know how to waste time in order to save it
  • Adversity is a great teacher, but this teacher makes us pay dearly for its instruction; and often the profit we derive, is not worth the price we paid.
  • People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little.
  • The person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences.
  • As long as there are rich people in the world, they will be desirous of distinguishing themselves from the poor.
  • Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.
  • Our affections as well as our bodies are in perpetual flux.
  • A feeble body weakens the mind.
  • With children use force; with men reason; such is the natural order of things. The wise man requires no law.
  • Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.

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Jun 28, 1712
Also known as
  • Jean­Jacques Rousseau
  • Jean Rousseau
  • Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Catholicism
  • Calvinism
  • Switzerland
Lived in
  • Paris
Jul 2, 1778
Resting place

on July 23, 2013


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