Lead: In 1712 at the southern end of Lake Geneva hard by the French frontier lay the municipal republic of Geneva. In that year was born one of the west’s most influential social critics, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Rousseau’s aristocratic mother died in childbirth and he was raised and educated by his father, a restless artisan who preferred upper class diversions, hunting, dancing, dueling, to his watch-making duties. Rousseau’s early education consisted mostly of readings from the ancient Roman author Plutarch. As an adolescent, he was apprenticed first to a notary and then a brutish and cruel engraver. Rousseau washed out with both. His downward social spiral was humiliating to him and to escape he converted, for a short time, to Catholicism. After a wandering youth, he arrived in Paris in 1742 filled with great hopes and ambition.

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