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Rousseau, Jean Jacques (1712–78)

The geneva-born philosopher of the Enlightenment, Jean Jacques Rousseau is considered to be one of the founders of modern political thought and political science. Together with Thomas Hobbes and John Locke—and despite the radical differences in their work as well as the different historical circumstances in which they developed their philosophy—Rousseau was one of the most important philosophers of the “social contract.” His famous book, The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (1762), influenced not only the declarations of the French Revolution (1789), but also the development of political liberalism, the theory of human rights, government, and modern democracy. Also, because of his critique of the idea of individual property and wealth, Rousseau is often considered as a harbinger of socialist thought and social ...

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