Marc Schulman

 


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Rousseau, Jean-Jacques

 

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712-78) - Swiss-born philosopher, social reformer and political theorist who supported the idea of government being controlled by the general will of the people, i.e., popular sovereignty. His views were more extreme than those of John Locke, who greatly influenced the intellectual defense of the American Revolution. Although his views had more influence in the French Revolution than the American Revolution, Rousseau's works were widely read in by Americans, including political theorist and pamphleteer Thomas Paine (1737-1809). Rousseau's most famous work was Du contrat social (The Social Contract).