Jean Jacques Rousseau
1712 - 1778
French Philosopher
Rousseau belonged to a group of philosophers whose ideas inspired the French Revolution.

Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He moved to Paris in 1741, where he came to know Diderot and the encyclopedistes.
In 1754 he wrote 'Discourse on
the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Amongst Men', pro-claiming the natural goodness of human beings, and the corrupting influences of institutionalized life.

He later moved to Luxembourg, where he wrote his masterpiece 'The Social Contract' (1762), introducing the slogan 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity'.

He hated tyranny and maintained that the monarch's right to rule was given him by the people, not by God. In 'The Social Contract' he concluded that the only rightful rulers are those whom the citizens freely choose for themselves.

He also published a work on education in novel form, but its views on monarchy forced him to flee to Switzerland, and then England, at the invitation of David Hume. There he wrote most of his 'Confessions' before returning to Paris in 1767. In his last years in Paris he gradually became insane.

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From the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy