How did Jean-Jacques Rousseau's actions affect the people around him?
Jean Jacques Rousseau was a philosophe during the Age of Enlightenment. His biggest contribution to society was the idea of the Social Contract, which was also the name of his most important publication. According to Rousseau, people were born good but were corrupted by the society in which they lived. As such, it was the government's responsibility to maintain order and fairness among its citizens.
The Social Contract, according to Rousseau, was an agreement between the government of a sovereign nation and its citizens, in which the government wrote laws to protect and keep its people safe and orderly, and the people followed those laws. If the citizens did not uphold their end of the bargain and follow the rules, according to Rousseau, the government had the authority to punish them. If the government did not uphold its end of the bargain and keep the laws fair and equal, the people had a right to overthrow that government and establish something more aligned with the Common Will.
Rousseau's work came out during the Age of Enlightenment, which was concurrent to the Age of Absolutism, where many governments were not "playing fair" and making life equitable and comfortable for their citizens. It, among other philosophe and Enlightened publications, was a catalyst for the French Revolution.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial