John Jacques Rousseau had the reputation as a nonconformist figure at a time when scientific reason dominated the landscape. He rose to prominence in the mid eighteenth century not long before the American Revolution. Hailing from Geneva, Rousseau traveled to France where he was intrigued by the Enlightenment movement that was sweeping the nation (The Confessions 1). Contrary to many other social intellectuals of the time, Rousseau said that mankind should focus more on its roots rather than the endless pursuit of knowledge. Not only did he support the primitive society over the civilized society, but he also favored the usage of emotions over reason. His works sparked a movement that would champion the history of man and nature. His revolutionary ideas allowed artists and writers to express their feelings without fear of being ridiculed by the rest of society. He was at odds with many of the prominent thinkers of his time over the definition of human nature and its legacy.
In fact he was forced into exile by the French government on multiple occasions in response to his controversial beliefs (Crisis of Social Realism 1). Oddly, while Rousseau published many of his works during the prime years of the Enlightenment movement, he essentially laid the foundation for the rise of the Romantic Movement that would become prominent after the American Revolution.
[...] The focus of many painters in the Romantic era became depicting nature without human influence. Many more romantics began to write about reforming their governments to give the people more representation. Philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche can claim their roots to the principles established by Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau believed that the outside world, specifically the school system and the corruption in government created massive disparities in society (“Crisis of Social Realism” 1). In 1762, Rousseau published Émile, a completely new theory of education for children. [...]
[...] After he was ridiculed for his radical theory of government in the Social Contract, he made the decision to revoke his Geneva citizenship. The last years of Rousseau's life were quite depressing, living an antisocial and paranoid life while wandering around France and England doomed to die with his wife as his only friend. Many modern historians consider Rousseau the of Romanticism starting a movement focused around the central idea of passion. The Romantic era spans a period of about seventy years from the end of the American Revolution to the beginning of the American Civil War. [...]
[...] in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol Detroit: Gale Literature Resource Center. Web Mar Rousseau, Jean Jacques. The Confessions. Ed. and trans. J.M. Cohen N.p.: n.p Print. [...]
[...] In 1750, Jean Jacques Rousseau entered an essay contest sponsored by the Academy of Dijon. It was in this contest that he wrote his famous work The Discourse on the Arts and Sciences gaining infamy for his fiery criticism of the scientific and intellectual community. The question posed by the Academy was the restoration of the sciences and arts tended to purify morals?” One of Rousseau's most adamant beliefs was that learning does not necessarily convert to success. He uses the prime example of China, a country that rewards its citizens who have received education with positions of high stature in government. [...]
[...] In 1755, Jean Jacques Rousseau submitted a second essay to the Academy of Dijon focusing on the topic of inequality in human nature. The Discourse on the Origin and Foundation of Inequality among Men was considered the better of the two works although Rousseau did not win the contest. He believed that while mankind is not equal, everyone has talents and strengths that set them apart from the rest of society. Rousseau addresses the first type of inequality saying, is established by nature and it consists in the difference of ages, health, bodily strengths, and qualities of the mind and soul” (Masters 101). [...]
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