Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Who was Jean-Jacques Rousseau?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a French 18th century philosopher.

He is known as the writer of the novel 'Emile or On Education' which focusses on the romantic idea of a liberal education.

After his death, Rousseau was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, France.

Born June 28, 1712
Died July 2, 1778
Aged 66 years old

Books by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Sources


Best 60 Quotes by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Page 1 of 2

“Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.”

“All my misfortunes come of having thought too well of my fellows.”

“Civilization is a hopeless race to discover remedies for the evils it produces.”

“Finance is a slave's word.”

“Freedom is the power to choose our own chains.”

“Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook and a good digestion.”

“I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different.”

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“I prefer liberty with danger than peace with slavery.”

“No one is happy unless he respects himself.”

“One may live tranquilly in a dungeon; but does life consist in living quietly?”

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”

“Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education... We are born weak, we need strength; we are born totally unprovided, we need aid; we are born stupid, we need judgment. Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education.”

“Rather suffer an injustice than commit one.”

“The "sociable" man, always outside himself, is capable of living only in the opinions of others and, so to speak, derives the sentiment of his own existence solely from their judgment.”

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“The freedom of mankind does not lie in the fact that can do what we want, but that we do not have to do that which we do not want.”

“The happiest is the person who suffers the least pain; the most miserable who enjoys the least pleasure.”

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“Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

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“The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”

“There are always four sides to a story: your side, their side, the truth and what really happened.”

“Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.”

“To be sane in a world of madman is in itself madness.”

“Trust your heart rather than your head.”

“We must powder our wigs; that is why so many poor people have no bread.”

“What good would it be to possess the whole universe if one were its only survivor?”

“When a man dies he clutches in his hands only that which he has given away during his lifetime.”

Confessions Quotes

“It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living.”


“The money that we possess is the instrument of liberty, that which we lack and strive to obtain is the instrument of slavery.”


“The thirst after happiness is never extinguished in the heart of man.”


Discourse on Inequality Quotes

“Money is the seed of money, and the first guinea is sometimes more difficult to acquire than the second million.”

Discourse on Inequality

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“The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: "Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”

Discourse on Inequality

“We are reduced to asking others what we are. We never dare to ask ourselves.”

Discourse on Inequality

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“Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me.”

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau Sources