Rousseau's Influence On The French Revolution

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The French Revolution The French Revolution was the revolutionary period of social and political upheaval that shook France from 1789–1799, starting of with the ruling of absolute monarch Louis XVI and ending with the ascent of dictator Napoleon Bonaparte. During this time citizens destroyed the foundations of the “Old Regime” in France, which was done through changing political ideals, and uprooting centuries-old institutions such as absoluatte monarchy and the class systems. The causes of the revolution are still being debated among historians. But the demands for change were influenced by many of the Enlightenment ideals. Which were formulated through the leading Enlightenment thinkers Baron de Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.…show more content…
He was seen as the muse of the jacobins and the revolutionary terror that came along with them. By this he had a huge influence on the famous jacobin Robespierre, and the Committee of Public Safety. By playing a role in shaping his physiological outlook but was unfortunately brought upon the revolution in a negative way. Robespierre 's conception of Rousseau 's ideas can be seen in many of his writings “Divine man! It was you who taught me to know myself. When I was young you brought me to appreciate the true dignity of my nature and to reflect on the great principles which govern the social order . . . . I saw you in your last days and for me the recollection of the time will always be a source of proud joy. I contemplated your august features and saw there the imprint of those dark griefs which the injustice of man inflicted on you” . Therefore showing during the revolution that, Robespierre was the one who best understood Rousseau’s conception of the general will, as he shared his conception of sovereignty. Although Robespierre emphasized the idea of general will alike to Rousseau, he formulated it in a much more negative way. Therefore, instead of the idea of the general will aiming for the good of all, Robespierre’s general will was to create laws that forbade which could damage the republic . It was for Robespierre that, the people only have power collectively; they can only act together as one . Which in the end had a great deal of influence on the ideals and violence of the Reign of Terror, and its monumental impact on the revolution and France as a
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