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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a major Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy heavily influenced the French Revolution, as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought. Rousseau was also a successful composer and made important contributions to music as a theorist.
During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophers among members of the Jacobin Club. Rousseau’s Social Contract is a cornerstone in modern political and social thought and makes a strong case for democratic government and social empowerment.
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Holding men in wretched subservience, feudalism --- alongside religion --- was a powerful force in the eighteenth century. Self-serving monarchic social systems, which collectively reduced common people to servitude, were now attacked by Enlightenment philosophers, of whom Rousseau was a leading light. His masterpiece, The Social Contract, profoundly influenced the subsequent development of society and remains provocative in a modern age of continuing widespread vested interest.
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