Beacon Lights of History, Volume 13

Beacon Lights of History, Volume 13
Great Writers; Dr Lord's Uncompleted Plan, Supplemented with Essays by Emerson, Macaulay, Hedge, and Mercer Adam

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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 13 by John Lord

Published:

1902

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Beacon Lights of History, Volume 13
Great Writers; Dr Lord's Uncompleted Plan, Supplemented with Essays by Emerson, Macaulay, Hedge, and Mercer Adam

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Book Excerpt

genuine and passionate lover of Nature; recognizing in his principles of conduct no duties that could conflict with personal inclinations; born in democratic and freedom-loving Switzerland, and early imbued through his reading of German and English writers with ideas of liberty,--which in those conservative lands were wholesome,--he distilled these ideas into charming literary creations that were eagerly read by the restless minds of France and wrought in them political frenzy. The reforms he projected grew out of his theories of the "rights" of man, without reference to the duties that limit those rights; and his appeal for their support to men's passions and selfish instincts and to a sentimental philosophy, in an age of irreligion and immorality, aroused a political tempest which he little contemplated.

In an age so infidel and brilliant as that which preceded the French Revolution, the writings of Rousseau had a peculiar charm, and produced a great effect even on men who despised his character and ign

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