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David and Rousseau

             In what ways and to what extent is an understanding of historical context important in approaching the works of (a) David and (b) Rousseau?.
             When we are looking at the works of David and Rousseau an understanding of historical context in which the works were produced will assist us to appreciate why and how these works were created. .
             In order to understand the historical context we need to make a historical inquiry into the circumstances in which their work was produced and the time in history, it refers to. .
             A useful starting point would be to look at the subject's own personal history, and psychology. What were their beliefs and moral values? What were the events and preoccupations, which shaped their career? We could consider any connections, which can be made to the historical circumstances in which their work was produced. Is there a connection to a particular social class or section of society? .
             We could take into account the presiding traditions in thought and art at the time. Who influenced David and Rousseau? What in particular were they trying to express or convey through their work, and if any specific significance can be attached to any particular political events? .
             Without knowledge of Rousseau's own personal history it is hard to appreciate the intensely moralistic character and relevance of Rousseau's political writings.
             "Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) became famous as a "French" political philosopher and educationalist. Rousseau arrived in Paris in 1741; he was impressed by the idea that society was artificial and unfair in its organisation". .
             His early thoughts and attitudes were formed by his travels and experience, and are reflective of his own personal psychology. .
             "Rousseau never abandoned the republican ideals of his native city. His extensive acquaintance with the writings of classical antiquity likewise helped to strengthen him in the view that a small, compact community run by a politically active citizen body was the only acceptable form of government.

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