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Jean-Jacques Rousseau - The Social Contract Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva in 1712 One Sunday evening in March 1728 when he was not yet sixteen Rousseau found himself shut out of Geneva after a walk in the country He had forgotten the time and the city gates were closed when he reached them This had happened to him twice before and his master had beaten him for staying out all night This time he decided he would not go back at all So his life of wandering began Rousseau was never able to adjust to life in any country How much of his trouble was of social or psychological origin and how much of it was due to his physical malady a urological disorder that caused him discomfort and embarrasement throughout his life cannot be known He had tried to do what a young man making his way in the world was supposed to do He had various love affairs He had given up his ancestral Protestantism and entered the catholic Church He had enjjoyed the patrinage of the high born He hah used influence to be appointed secretary ti the French embassy at Venice He had written operas that were well receivedand he had also been accepted by Diderot and other enlightenment thinkers and was affected by their views Enlightenment thinkers felt that they were leading a mission of liberation that by striking th ematch of reason the darkness of the past would be dispelled and humanity woul quickly and easily liberate itself They attacked war and the military values of the traditional aristocracy Tjey rejected artificial social distictions They lauded most forms of freedom including freedom of the press speech and of religious belief They supported the application of science to economic activity a view appealing to the middle class and liberal aristocracy They believed that hteir eighteenth century civilization eas ready for enlightenment and the great progress that
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