At the same time, however, Rousseau shared the concerns of liberals such as Montesquieu and Locke, who argued for maintaining individual rights and protecting naturally free human beings from the abuses of an artificial state.
Although he respected these conflicting modern influences, Rousseau was in many ways a devoted classicist.
Orphaned at such an early age, Rousseau spent many years as an itinerant, living in the homes of various employers, patrons, and lovers, working variously as a clerk, an engraver, and a private tutor.
By 1742, when he was thirty years old, he had made his way to Paris, where he eked out a living as a teacher and a copier of music.
As a writer on politics, his rhetoric laid much of the intellectual groundwork for the French and American Revolutions brought to completion in the years following his death.The French monarchy ordered that Rousseau be arrested, and he fled to the Swiss town of Neachatel.There, he formally renounced his Genevan citizenship and began work on his great autobiography, the Confessions.As a political philosopher, the area of his thought for which he is best known, Rousseau thoroughly engaged the work of immediate predecessors such as Hobbes, Grotius, Montesquieu, and Locke and sought to mediate between the thoughts of theorists on both ends of the political spectrum.In certain instances, he seems to embrace the view of conservatives such as Hobbes and Grotius, who claimed that consenting subservience to an absolute sovereign, or monarch, is the only means by which human beings can escape the brutality of the state of nature.