Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) is widely, and correctly, viewed as the greatest political philosopher of the French Enlightenment. He is also widely, and correctly, viewed as the most important philosopher of education in the eighteenth century. For Rousseau, politics and education are strongly connected: he gives education the task of transforming naturally self-loving egoists animated only by their own ‘private wills’ into polis-loving citizens with a civic ‘general will’ (CW 4.140–1/OC 3.363). 1 In Book 2, Chapter 7 of the Social contract, Rousseau introduces the figure of the ‘Great Legislator’ who must, over time, be ‘capable of changing human nature, so to speak’, by turning self-lovers into lovers of the general good (CW 4.155/OC 3.381). This paper argues that we should see the ‘legislator’ as a ‘civic educator’. 2