1712 - 1778
The 18th Century
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was a Swiss philosopher and novelist who was an important figure in the Enlightenment. In his novels and discourses he claimed that civilization had weakened the natural liberty of mankind and that a truly free society would be the expression of the “general will” of all members of that society. He influenced later thinkers on both ends of the political spectrum.