Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)

Georg Cavallar

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)

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This chapter suggests that Rousseau had a turbulent life which can be divided into three parts: his ‘apprentice’ years ended in 1749 with his ‘illumination’ on his way to Vincennes; the years of maturity (1750–64), which were marked by his major publications, among them the Discourses, Émile, and The Social Contract; and finally, the years of decline up to his death in 1778. Abstract and Judgement are Rousseau’s most succinct statements on international law, but there are also scattered passages in the fragment ‘The State of War’ (1896), the Discourse on Political Economy (1755), The Social Contract (1762), and Considerations on the Government of Poland (finished in 1771). His emphasis on normative individualism and on legal freedom marked the breakthrough in the development of cosmopolitan contractualism.

Keywords: Discourses; Émile; The Social Contract; Rousseau; State of War; cosmopolitan contractualism

Article.  1848 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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