Jean-Jacques Rousseau Essay, Research Paper
Jean Jacques RousseauRousseau, Jean-Jacques, was born on June 28, 1712 in Geneva, Switzerland. Since his mother passed away three days after he was born he began his life with one of his aunts and his father. Rousseau was forced to move from home to home, living with various people. This constant moving caused him to lead a very unsettled life. He literary career didn’t begin until he finally followed his own path of directions. In 1750 Rousseau’s novel, Discours sur les sciences et les arts, was published. He won a prize for this novel at the Academy of Dijon. From this time on Rousseau continued writing and released many new novels. In 1755 Discours sur l’origine de l’inegalite was published. During this time Rousseau was still traveling around from place to place, with no specific destination ahead. In 1756 he ended up going to a small country home called The Hermitage. There he wrote five new novels. These novels being: Lettre a d’Alembert sur les spectacles (1758), Julie, ou la Nouvelle Heloise (1761), Emile (1762), Contrat social (1762), and Lettre a M. de Beaumont (1763). In 1767 Rousseau fled to France. He was very panic-stricken and therefore he traveled around from place to place trying to find a peaceful home. In 1770 he ended up in Paris “on the estate of the marquis de Girardin at Ermenonville”. A couple months after reaching this estate Rousseau passed away, on July 2, 1778. Rousseau had written other novels throughout his traveling days. A couple of these novels that dealt with the government included: Projet de constitutio pour la Corse (1765), and Consideratios sur le gouvernement de las Pologne (between 1770-1771).Rousseau’s ThoughtsRousseau was a very open-minded man. He believed that every man has his own personality and therefore they are all equal. Due to these feelings Rousseau tried to come up with a new form of government. He expressed these feelings throughout his book, The Social Contract. In this book Rousseau stated to the reader that there should be no laws passed unless the citizens signed this law one-hundred percent. These ideas of Rousseau got the French people thinking and analyzing their government. These thoughts were a major reason the French Revolution began almost thirty years later (America Online). Rousseau also believed that man is taken away from his original nature and real self. Man falls away from his amour de sot (self-love) due to the many different people around him. This leads towards man being more concerned with amour-propre (pride) rather than themselves (The Encyclopedia of Philosophy). He believed that man should be himself and exist according to his own nature rather than someone else’s.Rousseau released many of his personal emotions throughout his work. This was very enlightening for the people in Germany, France and England for they were not used to this type of author. He believed that children should be given more freedom to indulge every piece of life . These feelings are expressed in his novel Emile. Rousseau thought that children should be able to run their life at their own pace, and do as they so choose. He also thought that parents should teach the children at home, and set good examples for them (America Online). Rousseau was a man with many new ideas arising. These new ideas were for his own life, and of course the lives of others. He was always willing to ponder awhile and come up with new actions. For these reasons he was seen as a philosopher, an a splendid one at that.Quotes from Rousseau’s Original Works”All justice comes from God, he alone is the source of it; but could we receive it direct from so lofty a source, we should need neither government nor laws. Without doubt there is a universal justice emanating from reason alone; but this justice, in order to be admitted among us, should be reciprocal.” —- “The General Will And The Law”"Liberty is not one of those fruits that thrive in just any climate. It is not, therefore, to be plucked by just any people.” —-”The Social Contract” (Book Three, Chapter VIII)”Nature wants children to be children before being men…Childhood has its own ways of seeing, thinking and feeling.” —-”Emile”"Public opinion is a particular kind of law, and the censor, as its minister, merely applies it to the specific cases–in the same way as the prince applies the other kinds. Thus the censorial tribunal, far from being the arbiter of public opinion, is merely its spokesman. Whenever its decisions are at avariance with public opinion, they are null and void.” —-”The Social Contract” (Book Four,Chapter VII)”As nature gives every man an absolute power over all his limbs, the social pact gives the body politic and absolute power over all its members; and it is this same power which when directed by the general will, bears the name of sovereignty.” —-”The General Will And The Law”
Analysis of Rousseau’s PhilosophyRousseau appears to be man that is willing to try anything, no matter what the outcome may be. This relates more to his belief on children, and children’s rights as human beings. I believe that children are humans and they should be able to choose many of their future plans, but they should not be able to wander and go where they so choose. They should attend school and not be able to go when they want to, they should have to go until a certain age or until they have completed so many years. Rousseau seems to believe that if children are able to run their own life they will be able to achieve the best possible development. In Rousseau’s mind possibly, but I feel many children need a path to follow in order to get anywhere. They need a leader to help them reach their goals help them, someday, become a leader. Rousseau’s belief about the government was very unresolved. Throughout his book, The Social Contract, he comes up with many new ideas for a form of government, yet this form of government is not truly a government. It is more of an open forum that is willing to listen to everyone’s ideas, but with no true leaders to run them. Rousseau’s government is not a two-thirds voting one, either. He believes that everyone should agree in order for things to pass. These ideas are astounding. There is no possible way that everyone will vote, nevermind vote the same answer, on any action. It’s an upsetting fact, yet it’s true.One thought of Rousseaus, however, that I feel was very true was his idea concerning men and their beliefs. Rousseau was right on the fact that men are much more concerned about their pride than their own well being and connection with themselves. As he said, self love is always good and, in its purest state, quite spontaneous because it expresses the real essence of human existence. When humans truly connect with themselves, as well as the world around them, they have definitely found self love.Even though many of Rousseaus ideas weren’t very practical they all seemed to carry a lot of meaning behind them. They seemed to express many needs of the public, and individuals. The attention that the child needs, the open-minds of the government that citizens need, and the self love that everyone needs. A Connection Between Rousseau’s and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s PhilosophyMany philosophers seem to send out a similar message to their readers. Whether these messages are apparent or not is the question. Two philosophers who send out a very cognate idea to the reader are Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They both believe that nature is very important to all human beings, and that without a connection to nature there is truly no connection to one’s self. One main connection that Rousseau has with Emerson deals with a human’s connection with ones self and nature. Rousseau believes that man is not fully connected with himself.Man is alienated from his original nature and prevented from being his real self; a perpetual prey to inner contradictions, he vainly grasps at objects outside himself as he neglects the true lessons of nature in order to pursue the illusions of opinion.It is at this point that Rousseau’s and Emerson’s belief coincide with each other. Emerson also believes that man is not connected with himself. The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself. He cannot be a naturalist until he satisfies all the demands of the spirit. Love is as much its demand as perception. Indeed, neither can be perfect without the other.Emerson is stating that unless man fully connects with himself, there is no way that he can fully connect with others.Both Rousseau and Emerson are releasing a very important point. They are stating that a human cannot be true to others until they are true to themselves. Since being connected with themselves and nature is very difficult, it is obvious to understand why there are so many problems with the society. Until people can discover who they really are, and meet all of their personal demands, there will be always be problems arising.————————————————————————
America Online. “Jean-Jacques Rousseau.” May 1996. American Educator. “Jean-Jacques Rousseau.” The United Educators. Illinois, 1971.Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract. Henry Regnery Company. Chicago, 1954. Runes, Dagobert D. The Treasury of Philosophy. Philosophic Library. New York, 1955. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. “Jean-Jacques Rousseau.” Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc. & The Free Press. New York, 1967. Whicher, Stephen E. Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Houghton Mifflin Company.