Quotes by Jean Jacques Rousseau

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. Rousseau's political ideas influenced the French Revolution, the development of socialist theory, and the growth of nationalism. His legacy as a radical and revolutionary is perhaps best demonstrated by his most famous line, from his most important work, The Social Contract: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."[1] (For Rousseau's conception of revolution see Du Contrat Social, Book II, Chapter 8. Given that he considers revolution "dangerous and vain", one must question the legitimacy of calling Rousseau a revolutionary.) more

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I may not be better than other people, but at least I'm different.

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
The person who is slowest in making a promise is most faithful in its performance.
Slaves lose everything in their chains, even the desire of escaping from them.
What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
I have suffered too much in this world not to hope for another.
Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken.
To endure is the first thing that a child ought to learn, and that which he will have the most need to know.
All of my misfortunes come from having thought too well of my fellows.
Money is the seed of money, and the first guinea is sometimes more difficult to acquire than the second million.
Man is born free, yet he is everywhere in chains.
Endurance and to be able to endure is the first lesson a child should learn because it's the one they will most need to know.
Every man has the right to risk his own life in order to save it.
Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect.
Our greatest evils flow from ourselves.
The person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences.
Adversity is a great teacher, but this teacher makes us pay dearly for its instruction; and often the profit we derive, is not worth the price we paid.
A man says what he knows, a woman says what will please.
Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.
To live is not breathing it is action.
We should not teach children the sciences; but give them a taste for them.
Remorse sleeps during prosperity but awakes bitter consciousness during adversity.
Take the course opposite to custom and you will almost always do well.
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.
Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.
Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.
Heroes are not known by the loftiness of their carriage; the greatest braggarts are generally the merest cowards.
Nothing is less in our power than the heart, and far from commanding we are forced to obey it.
Whoever blushes confesses guilt, true innocence never feels shame.
Free people, remember this maxim: We may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.
We do not know what is really good or bad fortune.
The greatest braggarts are usually the biggest cowards.
Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves.
Our affections as well as our bodies are in perpetual flux.
Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone.
Reading, solitude, idleness, a soft and sedentary life, intercourse with women and young people, these are perilous paths for a young man, and these lead him constantly into danger.
Although modesty is natural to man, it is not natural to children. Modesty only begins with the knowledge of evil.
The English are predisposed to pride, the French to vanity.
Most nations, as well as people are impossible only in their youth; they become incorrigible as they grow older.
Take from the philosopher the pleasure of being heard and his desire for knowledge ceases.
There are two things to be considered with regard to any scheme. In the first place, Is it good in itself? In the second, Can it be easily put into practice?
Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.
People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little.
We pity in others only the those evils which we ourselves have experienced.
Good laws lead to the making of better ones; bad ones bring about worse.
How many famous and high-spirited heroes have lived a day too long?
The thirst after happiness is never extinguished in the heart of man.
Great men never make bad use of their superiority. They see it and feel it and are not less modest. The more they have, the more they know their own deficiencies.
The body politic, as well as the human body, begins to die as soon as it is born, and carries itself the causes of its destruction.
Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is.
A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.
The English think they are free. They are free only during the election of members of parliament.
Fame is but the breath of people, and that often unwholesome.
Base souls have no faith in great individuals.
I have always said and felt that true enjoyment can not be described.
The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during election of members of parliament; as soon as the members are elected, the people is enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moment of its freedom, the English people makes such a use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it.
We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education.
Temperance and labor are the two real physicians of man.
With children use force with men reason; such is the natural order of things. The wise man requires no law.

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