Rousseau and Burke: The French Revolution Research Paper by writingsensation

Rousseau and Burke: The French Revolution
A study of Edmund Burke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, proponents of the French revolution.
# 75134 | 2,611 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2006 | US
Published on Nov 30, 2006 in Anthropology (Europe) , Literature (French)

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This paper takes a look at two proponents of the French revolution, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Edmund Burke, their background, their achievements and their views on the revolution. Rousseau and Burke both supported the revolution, but for different reasons. This paper discusses their similarities and their differences.


From the Paper:

"According to Rousseau, society's negative effect on generally good men focuses on society's mutation of "amour de soi," a positive self-love, into "amour-propre," or pride. Rousseau argued that amour de soi generates the instinctive human desire for self-preservation, in conjunction with the uniquely human power of reason. To differentiate, amour-propre is not natural but artificial and forces man to compare himself to others, thus creating unwarranted fear and allowing men to take pleasure in the pain or weakness of others. Revolution for Rousseau, however, as an essential force to combat the negative influences of society stems from amour de soi, so it is pure in Rousseau's eyes.
In his work "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences" Rousseau touched on a different angle associated with revolution. Rousseau asserted that the arts and sciences had not been a boon at all to mankind, because both studies were advanced not in response to human needs but as the result of pride and vanity - amour proper. Also, the opportunities arts and sciences engendered for idleness and luxury led directly and continue to lead directly to the corruption of man. Rousseau wrote in "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences" that the evolution of knowledge had rendered governments increasingly powerful and had destroyed individual liberty. Rousseau determined that corporeal progress had actually undermined the possibility of sincere friendship, replacing it with jealousy, fear and suspicion - more evidence of amour proper."

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