Rousseau saw a fundamental divide between society and human nature.

There doesn't seem to be much doubt as to why the Church would object to those observations. While the was condemned in France and Geneva, only the made it to the of books banned by the Catholic Church. Perhaps they felt that was sufficient to prevent any of his works from being read.

Humans there may act with all of the ferocity of an animal.

Rousseau distinguishes accordingly between natural, civil and moral freedom.
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(Mehr dazu im Lexikon unter »Richelieu«)

How to cite this article: Michele Erina Doyle and Mark K. Smith (2007) ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau on education’, the encyclopaedia of informal education, . Last update: January 07, 2013

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A just society is not egalitarian but it is an equitable society where the position giving the greatest benefits are available to all and the benefits obtained by some also benefit left behind. For example, if some are rich enough to acquire works of art, however, they place them in museums where the poorest can admire them. Inequality does not advantage all are unfair.

Rousseau's idea of natural goodness is complex and easy to misunderstand.
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– download Jean-Jacques Rouseau’s Confessions.. and Emile

At the age of 13 he was apprenticed to an engraver. However, at 16 (in 1728) he left this trade to travel, but quickly become secretary and companion to Madame Louise de Warens. This relationship was unusual. Twelve years his senior she was in turns a mother figure, a friend and a lover. Under her patronage he developed a taste for music. He set himself up as a music teacher in Chambéry (1732) and began a period of intense self education. In 1740 he worked as a tutor to the two sons of M. de Mably in Lyon. It was not a very successful experience (nor were his other episodes of tutoring). In 1742 he moved to Paris. There he became a close friend of David Diderot, who was to commission him to write articles on music for the French Encyclopédie. Through the sponsorship of a number of society women he became the personal secretary to the French ambassador to Venice – a position from which he was quickly fired for not having the ability to put up with a boss whom he viewed as stupid and arrogant.

For a brief introduction to his life see:

Everyone is an individual and, as such, there is no individual who more or less valuable than another. Discrimination is unethical. We must all have the same rights.

Dent, N.J.H. (1988) , Oxford: Basil Blackwell

Rousseau insisted that men must bear the moral responsibility for the kind of society they construct or accept. Of course, Rousseau used men as the inclusive "mankind", not being barred from sexist language during that era. Both men and women had the moral responsibility for the society, if they accepted what is and it wasn't good, then they bore the responsibility for it. This concept struck a cord with the French people.

Miller, J. (1984) , London: Yale University Press

Diderot encouraged Rousseau to write and in 1750 he won first prize in an essay competition organized by the Académie de Dijon – Discours sur les sciences et les arts. ‘Why should we build our own happiness on the opinions of others, when we can find it in our own hearts?’ (1750: 29). In this essay we see a familiar theme: that humans are by nature good – and it is society’s institutions that corrupt them (Smith and Smith 1994: 184). The essay earned him considerable fame and he reacted against it. He seems to have fallen out with a number of his friends and the (high-society) people with whom he was expected to mix. This was a period of reappraisal. On a visit to Geneva Jean-Jacques Rousseau reconverted to Calvinism (and gained Genevan citizenship). There was also a fairly public infatuation with Mme d’Houderot that with his other erratic behaviour, led some of his friends to consider him insane.