Enlightenment And The American Revolution Essay

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The Enlightenment, an age of extraordinary philosophical thought, hit Europe by storm in the 18th century after the death of King Louis XIV of France. The ideals stemming from the age ranged from classic liberalism to free market economics from an even wider range of others, a notorious few being Robespierre, John Locke, Adam Smith, etc. Enlightenment ideals lead to many key events such as the American and French Revolution. The American Revolution began as a struggle between British colonist in North America who were being taxed with representation by King George III. Enlightened thinkers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson helped lead the revolutionaries after independence was won to craft a constitution for the country with a Bill …show more content…
This was in opposition with Voltaire 's views that the only way of government was through and enlightened monarch, and was cohesive with Rousseau 's ideas in the Social Contract that stated that the people had the sovereignty. Another big proponent of absolute monarch was Thomas Hobbes with the infamous Leviathan where he argued that man is not fit to govern itself. Due to the failure of both a constitutional monarchy and a representative democracy, which resulted in disorder in France, the Committee of Public Safety began its control over France. Initially, Mountain leader Maximilien Robespierre was against the execution and capital punishment, but then after events like the September Massacre, his opinions swung to the other side of the spectrum. This challenged Cesare Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments, which called for the end of torture and execution. But to impose a threat to the common people actually worked and France was stabilizing, until the fall of Robespierre. From Robespierre, a single totalitarian government body formed, called the Directory, which was then taken over by the single ruler Napoleon. In Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws, Montesquieu argues that political power should be divided and shared by all classes and estates. At this point, the Revolution has

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