Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men: by Jean-Jacques Rousseau with Related Documents / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 54%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $9.99   
  • New (5) from $19.18   
  • Used (9) from $9.99   


A provocative essay that challenged the superiority of civilized society and modern government, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality made him an outcast among fellow Enlightenment thinkers but stands today as one of the most important political texts in Western history. Helena Rosenblatt's new translation, introduction, and selection of related documents help students comprehend why Rousseau's criticisms of human nature, political hierarchy, and private property were so controversial in his time yet later were hailed as a foundation of democracy. The introduction explores life experiences that shaped Rousseau's philosophy, explains contemporary ideas about political authority and social order, and guides students through Rousseau's thought, including explanations of how his work anticipated theories about evolution and inspired leaders of the French Revolution. Related primary documents — including a selection from Rousseau's Social Contract — situate Rousseau's ideas in contemporary political and social thought. Questions for consideration, a chronology of Rousseau's life and work, and a selected bibliography enrich students' understanding of the man and his times.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312468422
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 10/13/2010
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 538,517
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

HELENA ROSENBLATT (Ph.D., Columbia) is a professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. A specialist in European intellectual history, she is the author of Liberal Values: Benjamin Constant and the Politics of Religion (2008) and Rousseau and Geneva: From the First Discourse to the Social Contract, 1749-1762 (1997), and she is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Constant (2009).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


PART ONE. INTRODUCTION: The Life and Thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau's Beginnings: The Road to the Second Discourse
The Origins of Political Authority Before Rousseau
Rousseau's Bombshell: The Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality
  The State of Nature
  The Steps to Society
  The Invention of Property
  Anthropology, Psychology, and Evolutionary Biology
  Rousseau and Gender
  Reception of the Second Discourse
  “Citizen of Geneva”: The Dedication
Rousseau's Later Life and Legacy
  Rousseau and the French Revolution
  The Social Contract and Its Paradoxes
PART TWO: Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva
Notice about the Notes
First Part
Second Part
Rousseau's Notes
1. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Politics Drawn from Holy Scripture, 1709
2. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651
3. Samuel Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen, 1673
4. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, 1690
5. George-Louis Leclerc Buffon, Discourse on the Nature of Animals, 1753
6. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Of the Social Contract, 1762
7. Maximilien Robespierre, Eulogies to Rousseau, 1790s
8. Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics, 1810
  A Jean-Jacques Rousseau Chronology (1712-1794)
  Questions for Consideration
  Selected Bibliography

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)