Did Jean Jacques Rousseau influence the French Revolution of 1789, or did it help his later fame?

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Rousseau (1712-1778) helped inspire the French Revolution. He had already died by the time the French Revolution broke out in 1789, but his ideas about freedom inspired the revolutionaries. Rousseau believed that people should choose their own government, and he was revered during the French Revolution. In fact, he was reburied in the Pantheon in 1794, and he was celebrated as a hero.

In particular, Rousseau's idea of the general will (though first formulated by others, such as Diderot and Montesquieu), inspired Jacobins to demand reforms that would create greater equality in France, such as land reform. Rousseau's idea of "general will" meant that a nation should be governed by the rule of law, not by the decisions of an arbitrary leader. Robespierre was also influenced by Rousseau's ideas, including Rousseau's focus on the government's power to promote the common good. The professed egalitarianism of the leaders during the French Revolution was inspired by Rousseau, who believed in religious equality, and this focus on egalitarianism was behind ideas such as Deism as the new religion of the country during the French Revolution.

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