100 Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes From The Influential Genevan Philosopher

Rousseau's political ideas were highly influential across Europe
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Rousseau connected with everyone through his philosophies, work as a writer, and music.

Born on 28 June 1712 in Geneva, Switzerland, Rousseau's mother passed away after a few days of birth, and his father raised him. He traveled around France at a young age, where a chance meeting with Baronnesse de Warens opened his life to philosophy.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that human nature is inherently good if left alone and that our time's education and society alter our morality. His first publication, 'A Discourse On The Sciences And The Arts', discusses this topic in-depth and brought recognition and prominence to Rousseau.

He continued his travel across France and published a few books that discussed his take on how Education impacts society. His most popular work comes in the form of a series of letters collectively called 'The New Eloisa', which gained him a huge following. But the blunt take on the various social constructs such as Education and Marriage also managed to get the French Authorities' attention, who disposed of his work and detained him, forcing him to take refuge in England. He continued his spread of ideologies about various political, societal, and moral themes through his music and art, influencing generations after him making him one of the most important personalities of our time. He died on 2 July 1778.

Rousseau is famously attributed to his quote stating, "People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little." Read on for more such thought-provoking Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes. For other great quotes, visit Locke quotes and Montesquieu quotes.

Rousseau Social Contract Quotes

Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes from his renowned book 'The Social Contract', including quotes about slavery. Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes from 'The Social Contract' will get you thinking.

Rousseau's novel 'Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse' is a novel that encouraged an era of Romanticism.

1. "To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

2. "The moment the people is legitimately assembled as a sovereign body, the jurisdiction of the government wholly lapses."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

3. "With enough leverage, a finger could overturn the world; but to support the world, one must have the shoulders of Hercules."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

4. "The Sovereign, merely by virtue of what it is, is always what it should be."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

5. "There is no evildoer who could not be made good for something."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

6. "Tranquility is found also in dungeons; but is that enough to make them desirable places to live in?"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

7. "When the whole people decrees for the whole people, it is considering only itself."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

8. "Everything conspires to take away from a man who is set in authority over others the sense of justice and reason."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

9. "If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

10. "Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

11. "In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

12. "Government is an intermediate body set up between the subjects and the Sovereign, to secure their mutual correspondence."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

13. "There is no subjection so perfect as that which keeps the appearance of freedom."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

14. "To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights and duties of humanity."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

15. "What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

16. "The right of conquest has no foundation other than the right of the strongest."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

17. "There is often a great deal of difference between the will of all and the general will."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

18. "It is easier to conquer than to administer."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

19. "Under bad governments, this equality is only apparent and illusory: it serves only to-keep the pauper in his poverty and the rich man in the position he has usurped."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

20. "The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms that strength into right."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Enlightening Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes that will educate you on the meaning of being human.

21. "Whoever blushes confesses guilt, true innocence never feels shame."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

22. "Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

23. "Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

24. "What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

25. "Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

26. "It is not possible for minds degraded by a host of trivial concerns to ever rise to anything great."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

27. "You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

28. "When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

29. "We are reduced to asking others what we are. We never dare to ask ourselves."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

30. "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

31. "One can buy anything with money except morality."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

32. "We are born, so to speak, twice over; born into existence, and born into life; born a human being, and born a man."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

33. "I would rather be a man of paradoxes than a man of prejudices."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

34. "Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

35. "Why should we build our happiness on the opinions of others, when we can find it in our own hearts?"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

36. "Conscience is the voice of the soul; the passions are the voice of the body."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

37. "Every man has the right to risk his own life in order to save it."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

38. "Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

39. "Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

40. "When a man dies he clutches in his hands only that which he has given away during his lifetime."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Political Quotes

Political Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes that changed the morals of everyone who read them.

41. "In Genoa, the word, Libertas can be read on the front of prisons and on the fetters of galley-slaves. The application of this motto is fine and just."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

42. "The more I examine the work of men in their institutions, the more I see that in seeking independence they make themselves slaves."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

43. "It is believed that physiognomy is only a simple development of the features already marked out by nature."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

44. "In a well-governed state, there are few punishments, not because there are many pardons, but because criminals are rare."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

45. "Political writers argue in regard to the love of liberty with the same philosophy that philosophers do in regard to the state of nature."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

46. "Those people who treat politics and morality separately will never understand either of them."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

47. "Government in its infancy had no regular and permanent form."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

48. "If the magistracy is hereditary, a community of men is often governed by a child."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

49. "The science of government is only a science of combinations, of applications, and of exceptions, according to times, places and circumstances."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

50. "As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State 'What does it matter to me?' the State may be given up for lost."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

51. "It is when a state is in decay that the multitude of crimes is a guarantee of impunity."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

52. "Extend the law of necessity into the sphere of morals and learn to lose whatever can be taken from you, and to rise above the chances of life."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

53. "The body politic, taken individually, may be considered as an organised, living body, resembling that of man."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

54. "If I am part of a group of 100 people, do 99 people have the right to sentence me to death, just because they are majority?"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

55. "The power of the laws depends still more on their own wisdom than on the severity of their administrators, and the public will derive its greatest weight from the reason which has dictated it."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

56. "Equality is deemed by many a mere speculative chimera, which can never be reduced to practice."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

57. "Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evils it produces."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

58. "Government originated in the attempt to find a form of association that defends and protects the person and property of each with the common force of all."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

59. "The sovereign power represents the head; the laws and customs are the brain, the source of the nerves and seat of the understanding, will and senses, of which the Judges and Magistrates are the organs."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

60. "Never exceed your rights, and they will soon become unlimited."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Thought-Provoking Rousseau Quotes

Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes that will give you something to think about.

French officials were outraged by Rousseau's book 'The New Eloise' and ordered his arrest.

61. "As soon as the nations took to making God speak, everyone made him speak in his own fashion and made him say what he himself wanted. Had they listened only to what God says in the heart of man, there would have been but one religion upon earth."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

62. "There are times when I am so unlike myself That I might be taken for someone else of an entirely opposite character."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

63. "Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

64. "Do not base your life on the judgments of others; first, because they are as likely to be mistaken as you are, and further, because you cannot know that they are telling you their true thoughts."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

65. "It is as if my heart and my brain did not belong to the same person. Feelings come quicker than lightning and fill my soul, but they bring me no illumination;"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

66. "Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Maker of the world, but degenerates once it gets into the hands of man."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

67. "It is plain that an ignorant person thinks everything he does know important, and he tells it to everybody."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

68. "The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

69. "Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

70. "It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

71. "Once you teach people to say what they do not understand, it is easy enough to get them to say anything you like."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

72. "The man who gets the most out of life is not the one who has lived it longest, but the one who has felt life most deeply."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

73. "The first step towards vice is to shroud innocent actions in mystery, and whoever likes to conceal something sooner or later has reason to conceal it."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

74. "A well-educated man is not so ready to display his learning; he would have too much to say, and he sees that there is much more to be said, so he holds his peace."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

75. "I feel an indescribable ecstasy and delirium in melting, as it were, into the system of being, in identifying myself with the whole of nature."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

76. "I am not made like any of those I have seen."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

77. "Too often reason deceives us; we have only too much acquired the right of refusing to listen to it; but conscience never deceives us;"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

78. "It is unnatural for a majority to rule, for a majority can seldom be organized and united for specific action, and a minority can."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

79. "If we assume man has been corrupted by an artificial civilization, what is the natural state? the state of nature from which he has been removed?"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

80. "To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Famous Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Some of the most influential quotes by the philosopher, writer, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

81. "The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

82. "Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

83. "There are always four sides to a story: your side, their side, the truth and what really happened."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

84. "Every artist wants to be applauded."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

85. "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

86. "For it is in our nature to endure patiently the decrees of fate, but not the ill-will of others."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

87. "Rather suffer an injustice than commit one."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

88. "The greatest braggarts are usually the biggest cowards."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

89. "What good would it be to possess the whole universe if one were its only survivor?"

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

90. "Love, known to the person by whom it is inspired, becomes more bearable."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

91. "I loved too sincerely, too completely, I venture to say, to be able to be happy easily."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

92. "In the purely civil profession of faith...the Sovereign should fix the articles...as social sentiments."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

93. "The word ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ are contradictory, they cancel each other out."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

94. "Trust your heart rather than your head."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

95. "I have never believed that man's freedom consisted in doing what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

96. "Too much effort to increase our happiness transforms it into misery."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

97. "Slaves lose everything in their chains, even the desire of escaping from them."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

98. "Philosophy teaches us to bear with calmness."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

99. "When citizens would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

100. "She was dull, unattractive, couldn't tell the time, count money or tie her own shoelaces... But I loved her."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes, then why not take a look at [thomas hobbes quotes], or [wittgenstein quotes]?

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