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The First and Second Discourses: By Jean-Jacques Rousseau Chapter Summary & Analysis - Introduction Summary

Roger Masters
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Introduction Summary and Analysis

Jean-Jacques Rousseau has inspired extreme reactions among his readers over the last two hundred years since he published his famous Social Contract and the Emile. However, his work has had great historical and current importance and, alongside Voltaire, is probably the most read author of the eighteenth century of France.

Rousseau is born in Geneva in 1712, eventually settling in Paris. His major works are published there during his adult life and after Emile is condemned in 1762 by the French Parliament, Rousseau flees and returned in 1770. He dies in Ermenonville in 1778. During the 18th century, the most popular form of government in Europe is "enlightened despotism," such as that of Frederick the Great of Prussia. Traditional rulers have arbitrary and largely unlimited power, so long as they do not challenge the rights of the aristocracy. Most rulers fight a series of limited wars, which precede the...

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This section contains 1,608 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The First and Second Discourses: By Jean-Jacques Rousseau Study Guide
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The First and Second Discourses: By Jean-Jacques Rousseau from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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