Basic Political Writings by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau

'The book of those first-class translations is a contented celebration for lecturers of classes in political philosophy and the historical past of political theory...' - Raymon M Lemos, "Teaching Philosophy".

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There he did not hear that frivolous eloquence, the focus of study and delight of futile men. What then did Cineas see that was so majestic? O citizens! " But let us leap over the distance of place and time and see what has happened in our countries and before our eyes; or rather, let us set aside odious pictures that offend our delicate sensibilities, and spare ourselves the trouble of repeating the same things under different names. It was not in vain that I summoned the shade of Fabricius; and what did I make that great man say that I could not have placed in the mouth of Louis XII or Henry IV?

When Spartan forces overran Melos, he fled to Athens, where he gained a reputation for PART TWO 19 the extravagances of the human mind had not yet been invented. But thanks to typography36 and the use we make of it, the dangerous reveries of the likes of Hobbes and Spinoza37 will remain forever. Go, famed writings of which the ignorance and rusticity of our forefathers would have been incapable. Go among our descendants in company with those even more dangerous works which reek of the corruption of the mores of our century; and together send on to future centuries a faithful history of the progress and advantages of our sciences and our arts.

What good is it to seek our happiness in the opinion of another if we can find it in ourselves? Let us leave to others the care of instructing peoples in their duties, and confine ourselves to fulfilling our own duties well. We have no need to know more than this. O virtue! Sublime science of simple souls, are there so many difficulties and so much preparation necessary in order to know you? Are your principles not engraved in all hearts, and is it not enough, in order to learn your laws, to commune with oneself and, in the silence of the passions, to listen to the voice of one's conscience?

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