Historical Who is Who

ROUSSEAU, Jean Jaques

1712 - 1778
France
PHILOSOPHY, LITERATURE

 

There are sorry aspects of his life – mother’s death immediately following his birth and insanity during his final years. There is also a shocking inconsistency – handing over of his five children born to his innkeeper assistant to hospitals for unwanted births. In spite of all this – and his lack of any formal education - he published distinctive and highly regarded treatises on the human condition and education. ‘Man is born free, but everywhere is in chains’ is his affirmation of human innocence subsequently corrupted by society, hence the need for a strategy to control this which is set out in his Social Contract. Emile is his fictional account of an alternative way of educating a child – one which had a major impact on the thinking of Froebel and Pestalozzi.

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