Philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland on June 28, 1712. He was born into a French Protestant household, and was raised as such. Rousseau’s mother died during childbirth, leaving him with his strict father to care for him. While growing up, Rousseau presented a deep interest in literature as well as music, and he began pursuing a career in music. He traveled to Paris in 1741, while still in pursuit of a short-lived, unpopular musical career, where he met many philosophers, including Denis Diderot. Amongst them, he had believed he had found his true interest and calling.
Rousseau began writing his insightful argumentative writings starting from an essay he wrote as a submission for a contest in France in 1749. The essay was titled “Discourse on the Sciences and Arts” and it attacked the arts and sciences by blaming them for the corruption of humanity. From there on, he wrote the “Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality among Men” in 1755, and then “The Social Contract” in 1762, which is quite obviously his most notable work.
However, his writing stirred up much debate and Rousseau was forced into exile. After much wondering from one refuge to another, Rousseau settled in Paris under Prince de Conti’s protection where he made a living off of copying music.
Rousseau’s underappreciation stopped, however, with his death. His works are recognized and considered of very high value. He lays buried in the Pantheon, across from Voltaire.