100+ Best Jean Jacques Rousseau Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought. Profoundly inspirational Jean Jacques Rousseau quotes will challenge the way you think and help you live a meaningful life.

If you’re searching for most famous philosophical quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Jean-Paul Sartre, powerful David Hume quotes and famous Francis Bacon quotes.

Famous Jean Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Government is an intermediate body set up between the subjects and the Sovereign, to secure their mutual correspondence.

Once you teach people to say what they do not understand, it is easy enough to get them to say anything you like.

Slaves lose everything in their chains, even the desire of escaping from them.

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

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

As soon as any man says of the affairs of the State ‘What does it matter to me?’ the State may be given up for lost.

Whoever blushes confesses guilt, true innocence never feels shame.

Political writers argue in regard to the love of liberty with the same philosophy that philosophers do in regard to the state of nature.

Some of the most influential quotes by the philosopher, writer, and composer Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.

The science of government is only a science of combinations, of applications, and of exceptions, according to times, places and circumstances.

Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect.

To assert that the son of a slave is born a slave is to assert that he is not born a man.

If we assume man has been corrupted by an artificial civilization, what is the natural state? the state of nature from which he has been removed?

I loved too sincerely, too completely, I venture to say, to be able to be happy easily.

Too much effort to increase our happiness transforms it into misery.

We are born, so to speak, twice over; born into existence, and born into life; born a human being, and born a man.

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

The body politic, taken individually, may be considered as an organised, living body, resembling that of man.

I am not made like any of those I have seen.

There is no evildoer who could not be made good for something.

Equality is deemed by many a mere speculative chimera, which can never be reduced to practice.

Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education.

The word ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ are contradictory, they cancel each other out.

Famous Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Trust your heart rather than your head.

Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.

Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.

One can buy anything with money except morality.

It is as if my heart and my brain did not belong to the same person. Feelings come quicker than lightning and fill my soul, but they bring me no illumination;

For it is in our nature to endure patiently the decrees of fate, but not the ill-will of others.

Government in its infancy had no regular and permanent form.

As soon as the nations took to making God speak, everyone made him speak in his own fashion and made him say what he himself wanted. Had they listened only to what God says in the heart of man, there would have been but one religion upon earth.

It is easier to conquer than to administer.

It is when a state is in decay that the multitude of crimes is a guarantee of impunity.

Inspirational Jean Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Nature never deceives us; it is we who deceive ourselves.

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

Tranquility is found also in dungeons; but is that enough to make them desirable places to live in?

When the whole people decrees for the whole people, it is considering only itself.

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

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

Those people who treat politics and morality separately will never understand either of them.

When something an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it.

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

The moment the people is legitimately assembled as a sovereign body, the jurisdiction of the government wholly lapses.

The sovereign power represents the head; the laws and customs are the brain, the source of the nerves and seat of the understanding, will and senses, of which the Judges and Magistrates are the organs.

The first step towards vice is to shroud innocent actions in mystery, and whoever likes to conceal something sooner or later has reason to conceal it.

The greatest braggarts are usually the biggest cowards.

The Sovereign, merely by virtue of what it is, is always what it should be.

The right of conquest has no foundation other than the right of the strongest.

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

You forget that the fruits belong to all and that the land belongs to no one.

A well-educated man is not so ready to display his learning; he would have too much to say, and he sees that there is much more to be said, so he holds his peace.

If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men.

Every man has the right to risk his own life in order to save it.

To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.

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

With enough leverage, a finger could overturn the world; but to support the world, one must have the shoulders of Hercules.

Never exceed your rights, and they will soon become unlimited.

It is not possible for minds degraded by a host of trivial concerns to ever rise to anything great.

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.

Government originated in the attempt to find a form of association that defends and protects the person and property of each with the common force of all.

There are times when I am so unlike myself That I might be taken for someone else of an entirely opposite character.

Top Jean Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Enlightening Jean-Jacques Rousseau Quotes

Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Maker of the world, but degenerates once it gets into the hands of man.

The more I examine the work of men in their institutions, the more I see that in seeking independence they make themselves slaves.

Too often reason deceives us; we have only too much acquired the right of refusing to listen to it; but conscience never deceives us;

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Political Quotes

Thought-Provoking Rousseau Quotes

Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes that will give you something to think about.

In Genoa, the word, Libertas can be read on the front of prisons and on the fetters of galley-slaves. The application of this motto is fine and just.

To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights and duties of humanity.

Love, known to the person by whom it is inspired, becomes more bearable.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes that will educate you on the meaning of being human.

It is unnatural for a majority to rule, for a majority can seldom be organized and united for specific action, and a minority can.

If I am part of a group of 100 people, do 99 people have the right to sentence me to death, just because they are majority?

There is no subjection so perfect as that which keeps the appearance of freedom.

What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses.

Extend the law of necessity into the sphere of morals and learn to lose whatever can be taken from you, and to rise above the chances of life.

In the purely civil profession of faith…the Sovereign should fix the articles…as social sentiments.

She was dull, unattractive, couldn’t tell the time, count money or tie her own shoelaces… But I loved her.

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

I feel an indescribable ecstasy and delirium in melting, as it were, into the system of being, in identifying myself with the whole of nature.

Every artist wants to be applauded.

When citizens would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall.

Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education.

Do not base your life on the judgments of others; first, because they are as likely to be mistaken as you are, and further, because you cannot know that they are telling you their true thoughts.

It is plain that an ignorant person thinks everything he does know important, and he tells it to everybody.

There is often a great deal of difference between the will of all and the general will.

Political Jean-Jacques Rousseau quotes that changed the morals of everyone who read them.

I have never believed that man’s freedom consisted in doing what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do.

The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms that strength into right.

Conscience is the voice of the soul; the passions are the voice of the body.

In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing.

I would rather be a man of paradoxes than a man of prejudices.

The power of the laws depends still more on their own wisdom than on the severity of their administrators, and the public will derive its greatest weight from the reason which has dictated it.

Rather suffer an injustice than commit one.

Philosophy teaches us to bear with calmness.

Why should we build our happiness on the opinions of others, when we can find it in our own hearts?

It is believed that physiognomy is only a simple development of the features already marked out by nature.

Under bad governments, this equality is only apparent and illusory: it serves only to-keep the pauper in his poverty and the rich man in the position he has usurped.

In a well-governed state, there are few punishments, not because there are many pardons, but because criminals are rare.

The man who gets the most out of life is not the one who has lived it longest, but the one who has felt life most deeply.

Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.

Everything conspires to take away from a man who is set in authority over others the sense of justice and reason.

If the magistracy is hereditary, a community of men is often governed by a child.

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.

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