Essay about Enlightenment and the French Revolution

1231 Words Aug 25th, 2011 5 Pages
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Enlightenment Influence on Political, Social and Cultural Policies of French Revolutionary Period. The age of enlightenment led by influential intellectuals during the 18th century Europe greatly inspired the French citizens, especially the peasants, leading to the revolutionary period culminating from 1789 to 1799. The enlightenment is hailed as the foundation of today’s western political and intellectual culture.1 Growth of liberal democracies and democracies, the spread of secularism, invention of total war and the development of modern ideologies all mark their foundation during the French revolutionary period. Factors identified to have stimulated the war are mostly economic.
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He further proposed that exemptions enjoyed by the clergy and the nobility be reduced to reduce the nation’s debt since the masses could no longer be taxed. This did not go down well with the king and other nobles and was seen as the reason why he got fired.
During this period, France underwent great transformation politically, socially and culturally. Before the revolution, philosophers sought to promote intellectual interchange. They were opposed to intolerance and abuses by the church and state. This promoted reasoning by the general public leading to wide acceptance of reformist writings that recommended critical changes in the socio-political and cultural arena. This period saw the absolute monarchy that had formerly ruled France for hundreds of years collapse in only three years period. The French society went through an epic transformation that saw abolishment of aristocratic, feudal and religious privileges due to assault from masses on the streets and political groups.3 Old traditions and a hierarchical monarchy succumbed to the modern enlightenment principles of citizenship and inalienable rights. On 4 August 1789, feudalism was abolished by the National Constituent Assembly effectively sweeping away rights of the tithes gathered by the first estate and the second estate. As a result, the clergy, nobles, towns, cities, provinces, and companies lost their

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