Role Of Enlightenment In The French Revolution

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The role played by the ideas of enlightenment in the French Revolution can be assessed by distinguishing the main principles of Enlightenment and what the ‘philosophers’ of Enlightenment strove to accomplish and why. Enlightenment is usually referred to as the ‘Age of Reason’. This age saw the appearance of new ideas relating to reasoning and rational thinking. Enlightenment philosophers not only supported but also promoted the concepts of equality and tolerance within society and taught people not just to accept but to question tradition. The chief principle of Enlightenment, which all of the philosophers began with was the fact that it was essential to replace simple and elementary rules based on motive and natural law for the complicated …show more content…
For instance, the first two estates were excused from paying taxes despite the fact that they were the richest members of society. Owing to the awful financial situation in France in this era there was a need for high levy, therefore the third estate were crippled with absurd taxation imposed upon them. An additional backdrop or key longstanding cause of the revolution was the expansion of trade and industry. With this factor nevertheless the influence of the Enlightenment is more obvious. Commerce growth within France saw prices increasing gradually. The Bourgeoisie mainly profited from this increase and they rapidly became more affluent and more influential. Their education levels increased somewhat and the growth of new decisive ideas, impelled by the new ‘Age of Reason’ spread fast and made people conscious of the political and social situation in France. The Enlightenment programme thus strove to make people aware of the injustice in the structure of society and the philosophical writings suggested diverse ways in which to restructure society. There were a number of intermediate causes of the revolution. Firstly and most significantly was the recurrently deteriorating financial chaos. Economic problems in France had been worsening for a long

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