Enlightenment Influence On The French Revolution

The Enlightenment period of the 1700s began the discussion of what a modern society needed become in order for society to evolve from a feudal construct. Many philosophes and individuals contributed to the Enlightenment, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith and Voltaire. These people wrote profound concepts that influenced other common people to act upon them to positively change society. These individuals included the French Revolutionists who propelled the French Revolution from ideas to actions. Although other factors influenced the French Revolution, the concepts of the Enlightenment provided the French people an idea of how to construct their new republic. The ideas of the Enlightenment positively influenced the …show more content…
The point of the French Revolution was “to accelerate and embitter a reaction” of the enlightened despotism and create a modern civilization (Palmer 325). Enlightened despots were abundant in Europe preceding the French Revolution, and Napoleon emulated these rulers to create a sense of nationalism. For example, Napoleon created “the doctrine of careers to open to talent [which is] what the bourgeoisie had wanted before the Revolution” (Palmer 392). Napoleon additionally shaped the idea of private property, family laws, and a new educational system. All of these accomplishments were to better the community and agree with the General Will. In this perspective, Napoleon saved the enlightened ideas of the French Revolution. Napoleon additionally became a leader and fore thinker of nationalism, which the Enlightenment wanted in order to develop a modern state. Some elements of this modern state that Napoleon created were a strong army, reformed taxes and the idea of nationalism. This French nationalism was so strong that even in the army individuals carried a baton reminding that they could always move up in society and the army no matter where they came from. Napoleon saved the French Revolution with his implementation of certain community elements, and the sense of modern

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