Abuse Of Power In Rousseau, Burke, And Revolution In France

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In Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791 author Gary Kates states that “Furet [claimed] the Revolution embraced a radical ideology of popular sovereignty so that any abuse of power could be excused so long as it was achieved in the name of the people” (175). Personally, I agree with this statement because the people were willing to do anything to get what they desired. The French Revolution was built upon the fact that French citizens desired to control the fate of their own country and not have a sole figure, the King, be in charge of it. In order to achieve what was desired, citizens of France frequently abused power. Instances include creation of the “Tennis Court Oath”, the “Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen”, and …show more content…
Another popular philosopher during the Revolution era, Burke was often found on the opposing side of Rousseau. Burk thoroughly disagreed with the Revolution and believed that France needed a little fixing, not a complete makeover. In his “Reflections on the Revolution in France” Burke states “In a democracy the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority” (105-106). This quotation excellently portrays Furet’s idea that power could be abused as long as the people desired it. An example of this is the voting practices of the National Assembly where only a one vote difference was required to pass a piece of legislation. Although a one vote difference was considered the majority, many flaws were attached to the concept. If the proposed concept was almost split, how can it be said that the majority is in rule? A historical part of the Revolution regarding this one vote majority was the trial of King Louis XVI. His execution affirmed by a one vote difference. If there would have been one more vote on the side of keeping the King alive, it would have been a tie. The people were able to use their majority power to kill the minority, the King. What is ironic in this situation is that, at the beginning of the Revoultion, the people of France were the minority. They were the ones who had to follow what the King said and declared. By the time of the King Louis XVI’s execution, the roles have flipped. By gaining power little by little, the people were able to abuse the system and turn the tables on the

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