Jean-Jacques Rousseau


Jean-Jacques Rousseau is regarded as one of the most important figures and representative in the field of philosophy thanks to large contributions and contributions in the field of politics , the psychology and the moral, thoughts that influenced important people later . His way of seeing philosophers made him different because for him, they were tyrants and protagonists who defended the alienation of human beings .


Personal information

  • When was born: 06/28/1712
  • Where he was born: Geneva, Switzerland
  • When he died: 07/02/1778
  • Where he died: Ermenonville, France

Who was Jean-Jacques Rousseau?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an important Swiss philosopher , writer , politician and theorist who made a large number of treatises and novels, which later would inspire many leaders who were part of the French Revolution .

  • What did Jean-Jacques Rousseau do
  • Biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Death
  • Studies
  • Thought
  • Literary style
  • Main contributions
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau and politics
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau and botany
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau and education
  • Personality
  • Physical characteristics
  • Parents
  • Relations
  • Sons
  • Importance
  • Acknowledgments
  • Works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Phrases
  • Presence in popular culture

What did Jean-Jacques Rousseau do

Rousseau was a philosopher and writer who raised a series of questions regarding the different types of social and political structures that existed during his time. He was a man who contributed great and important ideas in philosophy, education and politics, key aspects that considerably influenced the current history of modern society.

Biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712 , in the city of Geneva . His upbringing during the childhood stage was in charge of his father and as a child, he managed to learn Greek and Roman literature with ease . They moved to live with an aunt in Bern and there, his father remarried, practically forgetting about him. He continued to live next to his uncle and learned mathematics and drawing.

He also served as an apprentice notary and as an engraver . He had a series of conflicts in his work so he decided to go to Geneva , but when he arrived the doors were closed so he found refuge with a priest, who convinced him to turn to Catholicism , however, some time later he returned to his roots, the Calvinism . He also worked as a servant , tutor and secretary . Françoise-Louise de Warens , a woman he had known, was the one who included him in the world of ideas, philosophy and art and later dedicate himself to writing his works.

He lived for a time in Môtiers , but the city authorities disagreed with his thoughts and for this reason he was expelled. Then he decided to go to live on an island called Switzerland, a place that had offered him lodging, however, after a fortnight of being there, he had to leave as well. In 1965 he visited Strasbourg and received an invitation from David Hume to stay and live in England .


Jean-Jacques Rousseau died in a town in France called Ermenonville , on July 2, 1779 and died of cardiac arrest .


He received very little education as a child and, on the contrary, he dedicated himself to work as an engraver and notary. It was when he was under the protection of the Baroness de Warrens that he managed to study in a self-taught way .


In his thinking was the idea that the human being was a good being by nature but that, due to the influence exerted on him by society and its institutions , he was corrupted because he was simply directed towards violence , luxuries unnecessary and opulence . He described man as a being who could respond to compassion and love for himself. The human being was then a transparent, innocent being who did not have an adequate concept of morality, but who was willing to live happily with everyone around him.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau also thought that living within a society that has specific characteristics makes human beings have the ability to increase their capacities for knowledge and with that he meant imagination , understanding and reason . In this aspect, the human being was a selfish being from his point of view and for that reason, he only wanted to find his own benefit instead of trying to maintain an adequate harmony with his surroundings.

Literary style

His literary style influenced Romanticism . His essays are full of creativity and even a bit of fiction and in some of his works you can see a confessional writing style , sincere with his words and novel for his time. He also used some fictional characters and was eloquent, full of passion and soul , a literary style that can even be considered unique.

Main contributions

One of the main contributions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the social contract , a type of pact that for him should not be based on the obligation because at the moment in which the coercion was given, freedom was immediately lost and with it, the principles natural men. Among other of his main contributions are mentioned:

  • He contributed ideals to the French Revolution .
  • It laid the foundation for the romantic period .
  • Thanks to him new theories of philosophy such as liberal , republican and democratic were born in the world.
  • He pointed out the importance of human life within a society .
  • He was the one in charge of defining the basic principles that democratic systems have .
  • He proposed the law as the most important part within the order of a society.
  • He succeeded in establishing freedom as a type of moral value.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and politics

For him, the State must be inspired by justice , loyalty and work . He promoted democracy and the use of critical thinking in political life. He was the one who founded the concept that dictates that democracy must be participatory , that it must be based above all on the principle of popular sovereignty , he cared about human rights and condemned slavery in every sense of the word. For him, society should be a place that provides protection and defense to the community, people and their property governed by a principle ofcommon freedom .

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and botany

Botany helped him to think , to reflect and at the same time saddened him. For him, a denatured man did not have the ability to understand nature. He made a book based on the theme in which patience was remembered as a queen and as an art and botany as a means to achieve personal reconciliation .

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and education

For Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the education of man was the best moral outlet within society and he said that it should be based on the natural principles of man. It involved research on the human being and not on social structures that were learned in education. His proposal focused on the use of a negative type of education in order, through it, to develop the senses and evolve them.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s personality was full of humanity , compassion and idealism , so much so that it can be said that he had a utopian personality and his wide outlook on life made him see the big picture of the world with clarity. He was not prejudiced towards anyone and was totally egalitarian . His personality was also somewhat romantic but seen from an impersonal point of view .

Physical characteristics

He was not tall, his eyes were black, his chin was refined as well as his nose, and his hair was gray, according to some physical descriptions provided in ancient times.


His mother was Suzanne Bernard , who sadly passed away within days of giving birth to Rousseau. His father was named Isaac Rousseau who took care of the upbringing of his son after the death of his wife.


He had a romantic relationship with Thérèse Levasseur who was a seamstress. He also had an affair with Sophie d’Houdetot , although it never materialized.


Together with his first wife, Levasseur, it is mentioned in several published texts that he had five children , however, to date their names are not known because apparently, he asked his wife to give them up for adoption because he could not give them a good education.


Jean-Jacques Rousseau is considered an important man because through his thoughts and ideals the foundations were established for what would later become the French Revolution . In his time, he had a great impact on the people because he made freedom an inspirational object while promoting the different emotions between human beings such as love and friendship . In addition, thanks to his theories and thought, it was possible to define the fundamental principles that every democracy should have .


Thanks to his incredible and important work, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was awarded one of the most acclaimed prizes by the French Academy of Dijon . He is considered one of the most important thinkers who emerged during the Enlightenment and his history is remembered today through books and novels.

Works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Among his most important works are the following:

  • Discourse on the Arts and Sciences.
  • Speech on the origins of inequality.
  • Julia or the New Heloise.
  • Emilio or of the education.
  • The Social Contract.


Some of the most important phrases of Jean-Jacques Rousseau were:

  • The human being is good by nature but it is society that corrupts him.
  • Man is born free, yet he finds himself imprisoned on all sides.
  • The right to vote is something that nothing and no one can take away from citizens.
  • It is more valuable to achieve respect than admiration from people.
  • A good father is worth a hundred teachers.
  • This aspect of faith is a matter of geography.
  • Being adults means being alone.
  • I don’t know of a greater enemy than that man who is everyone’s friend.

Presence in popular culture

In popular culture it is still possible to see the teachings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau especially in the different Republican theories and in the emergence of nationalism that is practiced in various countries around the world. His teachings can be found in his works and in some educational centers that touch on his history and legacy.

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