The Enlightenment Essay

1074 Words5 Pages
The Enlightenment sparked many modern ideas that set the French Revolution into action. In the eighteenth century, the various thinkers of the Enlightenment emerged, sharing their individual ideas. Enlightenment ideas were an opportunity for growth, change and re-birth in France. Enlightenment thinkers fueled the start of the French Revolution by challenging the social structure and political powers of their society. Because of the writings and ideas of enlightened thinkers, France was catapulted into the beginning of the end of the French monarchy. Some historians have concluded that the philosophes undoubtedly provided the ideas. It may well be that the collapse of the old regime was the consequence of other factors - economic problems,…show more content…
The works of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu undoubtedly changed the way of thinking in France more than those of their fellow philosophes. The various ideas of government contributed to the people of France overthrowing their monarchy and making a change against inequality. Voltaire 's hopes for an enlightened leader, Rousseau 's idea for a democratic government, and Montesquieu 's desire for checks and balances were all concepts that would forever alter the structure of politics and society in France. Voltaire became known as the recognized leader of the French Enlightenment. He had very strong feelings on the values of the Enlightenment. One of his most notable points was his idea of all people being free thinkers. He wanted people to think for themselves, not just agree with everything the monarch or church told them. Going hand in hand with free thinking, tolerance was another value of the enlightenment that he strongly believed in. He wanted everyone to have their individual beliefs and opinions and their right to say it. Voltaire spoke against the church because he felt that they had far too much control in their society. Voltaire was an advocate for religious…show more content…
His theory was that if power was divided rather than centralized, the country would not be an autocratic one. The country would be fair and equal. He had seen the affects of an absolute monarch and saw how unstable the government was becoming because of it. He was distrustful of monarchs, therefore, he wanted a structured democracy or a liberal constitutional monarchy. His primary idea, as well as his most famous idea, was the separation of powers, which would not be successful in a government with a monarch who has power over everyone else. At the time in France, the monarch had absolute power over everyone else. The others people were divided into three estates, most people not even having power over their own land. His theory of separating powers would have three branches of government. The legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch. Montesquieu envisioned those three branches having an equal amount of power and checking one another to keep each one 's authority under control. Montesquieu claimed that this was the best system of government for people who prized freedom, on the grounds that by dividing the sovereignty of the nation between various centres of power, it provided a permanent check and balance, ensuring that one of the other would not become
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