Essay on Enlightenment Influence On The French Revolution

Essay on Enlightenment Influence On The French Revolution

Length: 1144 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Enlightenment Influence on the French Revolution
The Enlightenment began in the 18th century. The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement that emphasized reason and the individual rather than tradition. These ideals were exemplified by the defining document of this time, the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, which was passed by the National Assembly in 1789. This document was revolutionary and idealistic, asserting the idea of equal rights for all French men. This document was extremely progressive in its stance on many complex issues facing French society at the time. To a large extent ideals from the Enlightenment influenced debates and laws about the previously untouched concepts of suffrage, religious minorities and slavery, however, Enlightenment ideals stimulated minimal debate about the place of women in society, and no progressive legislation was passed.
During the revolution one of the most contested issues was the idea of who would be able to vote in an election. Some, like Abbé Sieyés, wanted only property owners to be eligible to vote and others, like Robespierre, believed in true universal male suffrage. Sieyés argued that there should be two classes of citizens, passive citizens who would have protection under the law, but were not active in politics, and active citizens, those with property, who would be able to vote and hold office (Hunt, 81). Robespierre argued that the separation of citizens was not in line with the Enlightenment ideals surrounding equality. Robespierre believed that as an Enlightenment thinker that individuals have the “right to participate in making the law which governs him” (Hunt, 83). Robespierre’s ideas lined up with the ideas written in the Declaration of Rights of M...

... middle of paper ...

... sphere was cemented.
Enlightenment ideals such as the idea of equality and freedom as described in the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen were applied to issues of suffrage, to religious minorities and to slaves. Women were not seen as fully-fledged citizens, which caused them to be exempt from most debates and laws. Progress was made in bringing equality and freedom to slaves, religious minorities and all men in terms of voting and rights. The revolution successfully abolished slavery, gave religious minorities full civil and political rights and established for the first time universal male suffrage. These changes did not remain because once Napoleon rose to power he reversed almost all of them. However, the revolution did set a precedent for future progressive societies, it showed the importance of reason, equality and freedom when creating a society.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Causes of the French Revolution

- The start of the French Revolution was due to a build-up of inequalities, bankruptcy, and the influence of The Enlightenment and the American Revolution. The First and Second Estates, which was made up of the rich nobles, did not have to pay taxes, and had special privileges. In contrast, the Third Estate was made up of the townspeople who worked hard every day, and paid heavy taxes. This inequality angered the townspeople. The king before Louis XVI was Louis XIV. He spent too much money and caused the government to go into a downward spiral....   [tags: French Revolution Essays]

Better Essays
1061 words (3 pages)

Stages Of Terror During The French Revolution Essay

- Throughout the French Revolution, there were countless documents drafted that adapted political ideas from the Enlightenment to create a government that was fair for all of its citizens. The Enlightenment was a time where several new ways of thinking and exploring the world were being used. People began to think objectively and use reasoning, rationalism, and empiricism to explore new ideas. New political thought processes from the Enlightenment had a great influence on many of the documents written during the French Revolution....   [tags: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France]

Better Essays
1506 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The Causes Of The French Revolution

- The French Revolution can be seen as a beginning of new age. It was a disastrous event that changed the history. French Revolution went through a different steps and each event was influential moment. This huge movement started in 1789 and affected on various European countries and North America. The debate about the causes of the French Revolution will never ends. There are numbers of reasons why it has different interpretations. First reason is evidence, historical evidence sometimes has conflicts and it is snippy....   [tags: Age of Enlightenment, French Revolution]

Better Essays
1859 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Was Adam Smith And His Influence On The Modern World

- Throughout the course of history, there have come many eras of change and revolution in thought and practise, but none have been as momentous and influential in shaping the modern world as the period of Enlightenment that spread across Europe between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. With the rise of “enlightened” thought came the influx of new writers that brought forth new and stimulating ideas that caused quite a stir in conservative areas of the world. Widely acclaimed writers or philosophes, such as Voltaire, touched upon concerning and hypocritical social norms in satirical pieces in an effort to provide the public with honest commentary of how they saw the world....   [tags: French Revolution, Age of Enlightenment, Voltaire]

Better Essays
1300 words (3.7 pages)

The Enlightenment And Natural Law Essay

- The Enlightenment was an intellectual period of the 17th and 18th century that changed how people viewed society. This period was based on the views of reason, scientific method, and progress (McKay, pg. 498). What molded the Enlightenment was a group of philosophers and their views on natural law. These philosophers and their beliefs on natural law would eventually shape how people thought and acted during the French Revolution. Natural Law is a system of laws that are set on the basis of nature....   [tags: Age of Enlightenment, French Revolution]

Better Essays
1063 words (3 pages)

Reasons For The French Revolution Essay

- The French Revolution started during 1789, it allowed for the people to have a better government that actually protected the natural rights of the people. This toke a nearly a decade of rioting and violence for the Third Estate to have their way and get the rights they deserved. From all the causes like the famine of wheat, long debts because of wars, the heavy taxes, and their rights not being protected, some causes stood out more than the others. It is noted that these reasons had to play a major role in order for the French Revolution to occur....   [tags: French Revolution, Estates of the realm]

Better Essays
1134 words (3.2 pages)

The Age Of Enlightenment By John Locke Essay

- True: Rational thinking was heavily promoted and such thinking was the foundation of the Age of Enlightenment. b. False: The work of scientists during that time was highly promoted and accepted by other thinkers by applying it to everyday life problems and depicting it art forms. c. True: These intellectuals wanted to rid the Western culture of irrationality, superstition, and tyranny. d. False: Enlightenment thinkers sought to define clear rules and laws through rational thought. e. True: The Age of Enlightenment was defined by seeking truth by reason and logical thinking which is utilizing the empirical formula....   [tags: Age of Enlightenment, French Revolution]

Better Essays
1432 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on The French Revolution Was A Period Of Political Upheavals

- The French Revolution was a period of political upheaval that occurred in France during the latter half of the 18th century. This revolution marked an end to the system of feudalism and the monarchy in France and a rise to democracy and new Enlightenment ideas. By 1789, when the revolution began, France was in a deep financial crisis due to the debt they had obtained over many years of reckless spending and France was nearly bankrupt. These financial issues fell almost completely on the bottom social class or the Third Estate which made up a majority of the country....   [tags: Estates of the realm, French Revolution]

Better Essays
1455 words (4.2 pages)

Political Agendas And Economic Resources Influence War During The Era Of Frederick The Great And The French Revolution

- Looking back throughout the history of war, it can be argued that in order to understand the manner in which a given society wages war, one must first understand the reasons behind it. Every nation has its own reason to engage in war, whether it is a political agenda or a response to an enemy’s aggression. Depending on the nation’s reason for committing forces to war will determine the severity the nation is willing to endure throughout the conflict. Throughout history, the two biggest things that contribute to the severity of war are the political agendas and economic resources a nation utilizes throughout a conflict....   [tags: French Revolution]

Better Essays
1136 words (3.2 pages)

The American And French Revolutions Essay

- Although Enlightenment thinking and ideas were direct influences to both the American and French revolutions, they had differing results. This difference can primarily be attributed to the social organization of the people who revolted, however, geographic location also played a role in the differing revolutions. In regards to their geographic locations, there is one immediate obvious difference between the two revolutions that took place. The American Revolution (1775-1789) occurs in the 13 British colonies located in the new world....   [tags: French Revolution]

Better Essays
1041 words (3 pages)