Impact Of John Locke And The French Revolution

Decent Essays
Maxwell James
9/29/16
Mr. Puzzo
World History (H)
John Locke and the French Revolution

John Locke was a French philosopher and was interested in how a citizen and a government interact together, in times of peace and in times of tension. John Locke studied government and came to many conclusions; the role of government is to protect citizen’s natural rights: Life, Liberty and property. If a government wasn’t adequately protecting citizen’s natural rights, the citizens had a responsibility to overthrow that government and establish a new government that does better to protect those rights. The theory of natural rights is that every human being is endowed with certain unalienable rights that the government has a responsibility to protect.
…show more content…
He believed that government is a construct of humans to protect natural rights, therefor when it is not doing its main job as outlined by John Locke then it has overstayed its welcome and needs to be refreshed with a more competent form. In France in 1789 there was a food crisis of massive proportions. A bad year of farming coupled with a boom in population created a food shortage, causing the price of food to rise to a point that families were starving because most of their income was going to taxes. The French government only taxed the 3rd estate, which caused divisions among the estates. The 3rd estate thought it was unfair that even though they made the least amount of money, they had to pay the most taxes. With families spending most of their income on taxes, what little was left over was put toward food, which the price rose dramatically. Locke would argue that a government job of protecting life, liberty and property would cover the act of helping citizens buy food to stay alive and keep their families nourished. The French government was not attempting to help, effectively not protecting the right to life outlined as the main job of government by Locke. The enlightenment ideas of John Locke also created civil unrest with the idea of a king. Locke argued that in order for a government to be legitimate that it had to have the consent of the people it would rule. The main way he …show more content…
When Napoleon left France, he left many of his social and political advancements in place. The Napoleonic code was left in place because simply it worked. John Locke’s social, contractual and natural rights ideas made it into the Napoleonic code, further proving his massive role in the revolution. The new laws left France in a better place socially than before the revolution. European leaders also were stuck with fear that their countries would see that light in Locke’s ideas of what a government should and shouldn’t be, and revolt against their leaders. To combat this the leaders quickly and efficiently restored France to a monarchy putting King Louis XVI in charge of France again. The French revolution also set a social standard that if a government was not effectively protecting citizen’s natural rights and keeping general order then it was likely going to be overthrown. This added an incentive for monarchs to keep their citizens happy, not just the rich ones either; the whole population. If it was possible for the 3rd estate to overthrow the French government, it was possible anywhere and for any reason. There were also lasting feelings of resentment toward external countries for attempting to stop what the people wanted; a new

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He inspired citizens to demand for more rights so that it would increase their individual power while it decreased the monarch’s power over the citizens and government. In America, colonists noticed that the French broke away from old styles of government because of the influence of the new Enlightenment ideas and Rousseau’s influence. The ideas also inspired them to seek more individual rights, as well as demand freedom from England. Although monarchs opposed Rousseau’s ideas, imprisoned him, and banned The Social Contract, he remained devoted to arguing for the social and individual freedoms that citizens continued to practice in modern day France and…

    • 1116 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They believed that “If the privileged order were abolished, the nation would not be something less but something more” (qtd in ____). Equality soon came into play with this ordeal for the fact that the Enlightenment ideals promoted equality and liberty, which were being denied in this instance because the king was above everyone else. To get on the right track and spread equality, the people of France first had to demonstrate these behaviors, and to do this, the Third Estate fought against the other estates in hope of establishing a different form of government that allowed the bourgeoisie to possess more power when it came to making important decisions, thus allowing…

    • 721 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They were not rational because as soon as the Third Estate no longer had a say in government affairs like they did in one point, they revolted against the monarchy killing the king and queen of France. (Horvat) The French people 's decisions were driven more by their emotions than logical and conscious thinking. If the French thought out what was going on and the best way to solve this problem they might have been able save the city and save lives. The French people were not capable of power because when they were in power they were so worried about getting back at the people they believed had harmed them emotionally or physically. So when the people of France got in control of France they started killing .…

    • 1100 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Another document written by Arthur Young states, “...but bankruptcy occasion in a civil war, and a total overthrow of the government?” (Young). The American Revolution also negatively impacted France because it caused them to go into even further debt, but it also gave them a reason to fight. Since France went into debt because of the war, it also raised taxes and caused the price of bread to rise. This made the people angry at the king because he decided to help another country even though his own was in…

    • 1114 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They thought that the nation owed a debt to France because they helped the United States for their help in the Revolution. The Democratic Republicans also had a very strict interpretation of the Constitution and they argued that the President did not have the right to declare neutrality, only Congress can declare war between countries. Also by supporting France, Britain may not be the lead trading partner to America, which in turn, can make the nation more self-sufficient. On the contrary the Federalists, supported by their leader Alexander Hamilton, were for neutrality. Their reasoning was that they thought that France only helped the U.S for their own selfish reasons, since they only helped to hurt Britain, there is no debt to repay.…

    • 1382 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Before the natural rights, the monarch was the center of the French culture. People had to sacrifice themselves and obey the king’s order. However, John Locke, who was one of the three main enlighteners, believed that the government is supposed to protect the natural rights. The people are responsible to counter the government if the government ignores people’s natural rights, because there is nothing more important than the individuals. The French Revolution also resulted in the reform of the government.…

    • 1212 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    During the late 18th century there was a revolution amidst the people of France to overthrow the corrupt absolute monarchy. Under this monarchy the King had the authority to do as he pleased. Influences of Enlightenment thinking made worthy contributions to the development of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, most notably from Jean Rousseau’s writings of The Social Contract. The Declaration of Rights of Man was an influential document of the French Revolution because its articles advocated the termination of aristocratic privileges, granting birth-given rights to all men and the king no longer had absolute rule over the nation, in which the law protected its citizens. The Enlightenment period gave rise to philosophical thinking which…

    • 928 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The French Revolution confirmed the main political ideas of the Enlightenment due to to changes in democracy and taking Louis XVI out of the government. The French Revolution contradicted the main political ideas of the Enlightenment due to the powerful leaders Maximilien Robespierre and Napoleon Bonaparte. No matter how the Enlightenment was taken into consideration during the French Revolution, it still was a huge part France’s past and their strive to make changes in society. Without the Enlightenment, who knows what France would be like…

    • 1247 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    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 of Man and Citizen”, and other forms of legislation.…

    • 1342 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Both also wanted to make their own Republic that spread new values of liberty and social equality. A mayor differences between the American Revolution and the French Revolution was that the French started out with violence while the American Revolution began with not wanting bloodshed and violence. Also the American Revolution is clearly seen as a success while many can argue that the French Revolution was a failure. The thirteen British colonies of North America wanted to overthrow King George III. The French People wanted to overthrow King Louis XVI.…

    • 799 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays