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Those whom nature destined to make her disciples have no need of teachers. Bacon, Descartes, Newton — these tutors of the human race had no need of tutors themselves, and what guides could have led them to those places where their vast genius carried them? Ordinary teachers could only have limited their understanding by confining it to their own narrow capabilities. With the first obstacles, they learned to exert themselves and made the effort to traverse the immense space they moved through. If it is necessary to permit some men to devote themselves to the study of the sciences and the arts, that should be only for those who feel in themselves the power to walk alone in those men's footsteps and to move beyond them. It is the task of this small number of people to raise monuments to the glory of the human mind.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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Moreover Rousseau advocated the opinion that insofar as they lead people to virtue all religions are equally worthy and that people should therefore conform to the religion in which they have been brought up. Following the French Revolution other commentators fingered a potential danger of Rousseau’s project of realizing an “antique” conception of virtue amongst the citizenry in a modern world (e. Although in this state he deprives himself of some advantages which he got from nature he gains in return others so great his faculties are so stimulated and developed his ideas so extended his feelings so ennobled and his whole soul so uplifted that did not the abuses of this new condition often degrade him below that which he left he would be bound to bless continually the happy moment which took him from it for ever and instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal made him an intelligent being and a man.

Rousseau's novel Émile: or On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship. His sentimental novel Julie or the New Heloise was of importance to the development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—his Confessions which initiated the modern autobiography and his Reveries of a Solitary Walker—exemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of Sensibility and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.

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