Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Enlightenment Thinker

By: Melanie Vazquez-Arroyo

Who Was Jean-Jacques Rousseau?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712 in Geneva, the capitol of the Swiss Canton in Southwest Switzerland. His parents were Isaac Rousseau, a clock maker, and Suzanne Bernard, who died a few days after his birth. His childhood and his teenage years were kind of weird and sad, since he was raised with his dad and his incapable aunt, and then when he was 10, his dad abandoned him. Rousseau eventually moved to Paris to, surprisingly, become a composer. He died July 2, 1778, in Ermenonville, France. ( Yes, it is a real place.)


"Insults are arguments employed by those who are wrong."

This quote means that if someone insults you, they are trying to justify a side of a case destined to fail, the side of a case based on opinion, and rude opinion, at that.

"Courage should not be confused with arrogance and rudeness, both sources and results are different."

It means that courage is very different from boasting and foolhardiness, it does not come from the desire to prove yourself but from selflessness.

"Take the course opposite to cushy, and you will almost always do well."

This means that if you take the path less traveled, you will come out better for it.

"No man has natural authority over his fellow men."

This quote means that no person is born in a higher place than another human being, one person cannot be more respected tan another by birth, they must earn it.

"Patience is bitter, bit its fruit is sweet."

It is hard to be patient, but it pays off.

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Fun Facts:

-At the age of 13, Rousseau apprenticed to an engraver who beat him up bad. At 15, he sought shelter with a Roman Catholic Priest.

- It is said that Rousseau encouragement for women breast-feeding saved thousands of lives.

- He created a new system of musical notation and wrote several large musical works, including an opera.

-Rousseau also made an incredibly popular romantic novel!!

-The authorities of many countries and cities were wary of him and his beliefs.


Rousseau was captured by the idea of a social contract. A social contract is when if the government does not protect the citizens' natural rights even after the citizens have given up some of their rights, they people can overthrow the government. This is still in place today, as stated in the U.S. Constitution. Rousseau influenced the founding fathers when they wrote the Constitution.