Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jean-Jaques Rousseau and the call for a civil society

In class I may have mentioned how the first part of Common Sense, with its description of a theoretically utopian society of happy people living together in the woods, mirrors ideas set forth by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  A French enlightenment philosopher who was something of an emotional romantic as well, Rosseau believed in the inherent goodness of human beings and expounded this belief in several works which contributed to the revolutionary spirit of the era.  Emile: or, On Education is a book in which he sets forth his ideas on the perfect way to educate a child so that they do not loose their inherent goodness.

Interestingly these ideas are also at the core of progressive education. Rousseau would no doubt be a big fan of Crossroads. You are no way obligated to read up on Rousseau, but if you have some time and are curious, a little research into the Enlightenment and Rousseau would expand the context in which you understand Common Sense.

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