Analysis Of Rousseau, Burke, And Revolution In France

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2nd Essay - Rough Draft 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 …show more content…
This aligns with Furet’s belief that the Frenchmen were willing to do anything in order to achieve the goals of the people even if that meant abusing power. Previous to the Revolution, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau created the theory of the general will. This theory related to having the rights of the people over the rights of an overseeing government. Rousseau states “The Social Contract”: “Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and, in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole” (Rousseau). At the time of the Revolution, many Frenchmen returned to the ideas of Rousseau to explain why the position of the King should be abolished in French rule. To them, an enormous amount of France’s power was allocated to the King, leaving very little for the people. In order to achieve a larger amount of power for the people, the citizens of France lobbied for Rousseau’s general will philosophy. By following Rousseau, everyone would receive power because the collective whole was the governing power. However, obtaining such intentions required that they people abuse the traditional powers of France as Furet …show more content…
In hopes of ending France’s financial crisis, King Louis XVI called together the State General who represented the three factions of French society; the nobles, the clergy, and the commoners. Because they had not met for well over 100 years, the assembly ended in despair. The Third Estate, or the commoners, used this opportunity to declare itself the National Assembly and invited the other Estates to join. According to the “Tennis Court Oath” the National Assembly’s job was to “[Meet] until the constitution of the kingdom shall be established and consolidated upon firm foundations” (58-59). To some Assemblymen this required remaking the entire law structure of France to suit the general will. However, such objectives proved to be difficult because not all members of the Assembly were in agreement of what was best for France. Certain factions, like the Jacobin Club, stood steadfastly behind Rousseau’s principles. Others, like those on the side of King Louis XVI and the monarchy, believed Rousseau was a writer from a different age whose ideas did not comply with the current situation France was in. Either way, the members of the National Assembly were bending the powers of France to help accomplish the needs of the sovereignty, or the

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