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Jean Jacques Rousseau Quotes


Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Born: 28th June 1712, Grand Rue, Geneva, Republic of Geneva
  • Died: 2nd July 1778, Ermenonville, France
  • Resting place: The Panthéon, Paris, France
  • Occupation: Philosopher
  • Famous for: His award winning A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences and his contribution to the philosophical Age of Enlightenment
  • Influenced: Adam Smith, David Hume, Friedrich Engels, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Dewey, Karl Marx, Leo Strauss, Leo Tolstoy, Marquis de Sade, Noah Webster and Thomas Paine
  • Historical firsts: The last chapter of his life were devoted to his final work called Confessions. Published posthumously it set both the standard and the trend of what we now know as an autobiography
  • Trivia: Rousseau had 5 children with his mistress who was an illiterate seamstress called Thérèse Lavasseur, fearing for their future he decided to give them away while still babies to orphanages. This was something he regretted and later he tried to find them but was unsuccessful leaving him remorseful for his earlier actions
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Virtue is a state of war, and to live in it means one always has some battle to wage against oneself"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"What good would it be to possess the whole universe if one were its only survivor?"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Accent is the soul of language; it gives to it both feeling and truth"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The thirst after happiness is never extinguished in the heart of man"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"There are always four sides to a story: Your side, their side, the truth and what really happened"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The money that we possess is the instrument of liberty, that which we lack and strive to obtain is the instrument of slavery"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The man who gets the most out of life is not the one who has lived it longest, but the one who has felt life most deeply"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Those people who treat politics and morality separately will never understand either of them"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"I love liberty, and I loathe constraint, dependence, and all their kindred annoyances"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evils it produces"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Remorse sleeps during a prosperous period but wakes up in adversity"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Freedom is the power to choose our own chains"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"I prefer liberty with danger than peace with slavery"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"I would rather be a man of paradoxes than a man of prejudices"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Living is not breathing but doing"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Hatred, as well as love, renders its votaries credulous"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in fetters"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"I may be no better, but at least I am different"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"An honest man nearly always thinks justly"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Passions are the motive of all action"

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Jean Jacques Rousseau Biography

Jean Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan born son of a watchmaker whose lack of early education belied his later life thinking and writing abilities. His mother died shortly his childbirth and his father fled Geneva to escape the wrath of the authorities for various misdemeanors when Jean Jacques was 10 years old.

At 16 he fled to France where he met and charmed the Baronnesse de Warens to such a degree she became his benefactress, educator and lover. When he finally flew her nest he was both a man and a deep thinking philosopher such was her influence on his thought processes.



Paris beckoned and once Rousseau had written his award winning A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences in 1750 his stock as a philosophical writer had risen significantly. More great works were to follow earning him admiration, prestige and the jealous brickbats of his peers such as Voltaire.

Great philosophers seldom get through life unscathed and Rousseau was to upset the French establishment when he published "Emile, or On Education" and a warrant was issued for his arrest so he fled to Switzerland and then England.

He missed France and was growing weary of the chattering classes so despite still being a fugitive he returned to France and stayed with various gentry in their chateaus.

His views became more influential during the French revolution making him more famous after his death and his body was exhumed to be interred in the Pantheon in Paris. Philosophers are notorious for exclaiming some of the best one liners so this is my compilation of 25 of the best Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes.

Quotes About Jean Jacques Rousseau

The sociologist and author Ernest Van Den Haag made this observation: "Marx, like Rousseau before him, believed that men are good and made bad only by bad social systems. Unlike Rousseau, he believed that these systems arise from historical necessity. It occurred neither to Marx nor to Rousseau-as it did to Madison-that bad men corrupt good systems just as often as vice versa"

Immanuel Kant placed him in good philosophical company: "Rousseau, that subtle Diogenes"

The social critic Camille Paglia commented on progress: "We remain in the Romantic cycle initiated by Rousseau: liberal idealism cancelled by violence, barbarism, disillusionment and cynicism"

The Bristish philosopher Bertrand Russell's surmisal was less than positive: "At the present time, Hitler is an outcome of Rousseau; Roosevelt and Churchill, that of Locke"

Arthur Schopenhauer on his Basis Of Morality: "My basis is supported by the authority of the greatest moralist of modern times; for such, undoubtedly, J. J. Rousseau is,- that profound reader of the human heart, who drew his wisdom not from books, but from life, and intended his doctrine not for the professorial chair, but for humanity; he, the foe of all prejudice, the foster-child of nature, whom alone she endowed with the gift of being able to moralise without tediousness, because he hit the truth and stirred the heart"


Jean Jacques Rousseau image quote