Enlightenment ideas were an important aspect of changing peoples view of the government and influencing change in society that resulted in the french revolution, creating a democracy

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In History
  • John Locke

    "He believed that people could learn from experience and
    improve themselves. As reasonable beings, they had the natural ability to govern their own affairs and to look after the welfare of society" (Black & Beck 551).
    John Locke believed that people could be independent and they had three natural rights: life, liberty and freedom. If the government did not protect these rights the people had the right to rebel. His ideas were to be used for many rebellions in the future.
  • Enlightenment meeting places

    "The Enlightenment reached its height in France... Paris became the meeting place for people who wanted to discuss politics and ideas" (Black & Beck 552).
    Enlightenment ideas could be spread through Paris salons or meet up places. Enlightenment thinkers could meet up and share their ideas with other people so it could be shared with the world.
  • Society before the Revolution

    Society before the Revolution
    “Prior to the Revolution, French citizens were part of a strictly limited society with very little freedom of expression” (Schwartz 151).
    The French revolution also started because of people's natural rights being broken. Before the revolution there was one king who had to much power. Many people rebelled and looked up to John Locke's philosophy of a person's three natural rights.
  • Baron de Montesquieu,

    Baron de Montesquieu,
    “....of his most famous book, On the Spirit of Laws (1748). In his book, Montesquieu proposed that separation of powers would keep any individual or group from gaining total control of the government.” (Black and Beck 553)
    Montesquieu's ideas in this book were important for governments later on. He believed in the separation of powers so that one part of the government does not get to powerful. The government we have today:Judicial, Legislative and executive has there powers split up equally.
  • The Encyclopedia

    This Encyclopedia, as he called it, would bring together all the most current and enlightened thinking about science, technology, art, government...Diderot began publishing the first volumes in 1751 (Black and Beck 558).
    People could learn new information from one source in the encyclopedia. Enlightenment ideas were also spread through this. Many different people could learn about enlightenment ideas and other types of new information.
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau's book

    “In 1762, he (Jean Jacques Rousseau) explained his political philosophy in a book called The Social Contract.” (Black and Beck 554).
    He believed in a social contract and revolution. He believed that the government was made by the people basically there was a contract between the the people and the government.
  • Enlightenment ideas through the media

    “Enlightenment ideas also eventually reached middle-class people
    through newspapers, pamphlets, and even political songs” (Black & Beck 559).
    People when they came back from meetups and salons and they would share their ideas or other ideas in these newspapers. This was imperative for people to learn about enlightenment ideas and take action.
  • Type of Government

    Type of Government
    “The conflict between the Monarchy and the nobility over the “reform” of the tax system led to paralysis and bankruptcy” (Schwartz 151). The people were also fed up with the type of government France had. There was only one ruler who was super rich ( King Louis XVI). Also with him, just ruling the economy went down the drain.
  • Frances Economy before the Revolution

    “Struggle for hegemony and Empire outstrips the fiscal resources of the state” (Schwartz 151).
    France's economy was also struggling with them fighting many wars. This made France poorer and the common folk were getting more angry with the corrupt state. Many Enlightenment thinker were in France and there writing influenced the common folk to rise up.
  • Type of Government 2

    Type of Government 2
    The enlightenment thinker Beccaria wrote about the justice system and how it was corrupt. He believed in justice but not how the french abused the system. Beccarias writing rallied up many of the french to to revolt against King Louis XVI.
  • The Paris Mob 1

    The Paris Mob 1
    On July 14 1789 the Paris mob, hungry due to a lack of food from poor harvests, upset at the conditions of their lives and annoyed with their King and Government, stormed the Bastille fortress (a prison) (Schwartz 151).
    In France's government there tax laws were very different and unbalanced. The richer paid no taxes and the poorer payed more. The poorer were getting poorer and more hungry. They were fed up and stormed a place with supplies and guns they would need for a revolution.
  • The Paris Mob 2

    The Paris Mob 2
    Like Rousseau states the government and people have a social contract. If the government thinks there better and treats themselves better the people have a right to revolt. That's exactly what the mob did and that was the start of the revolution.
  • King Louis XVI

    “King Louis XVI needed more money, but had failed to raise more taxes when he had called a meeting of the Estates General” (Schwartz 151).
    He was the biggest reason why the revolution started. People were upset that he had so much power and he was using it wrongly. Many of the Enlightenment thinkers especially Montesquieu were against that much power.
  • The Common Folks role in the Revolution 1

    The Common Folks role in the Revolution 1
    “we remember that the Revolution, though sponsored by the most civilized classes of the nation, was carried out by its least educated and most unruly elements." (Schwartz 151).
    What started the revolution was the common folk getting poorer and more hungry. The poorest people wanted a change more than anyone else.
  • Common Folks Role in the Revolution 2

    Common Folks Role in the Revolution 2
    This is because of them suffering the most. Enlightenment thinkers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, and John Locke and they spread throughout France. They changed people's views on the government and helped start a revolution.
  • Works Cited

    Beck, Roger B. World History: Patterns of Interaction. McDougal Littell, 2005.
    Schwartz, “The French Revolution: Causes, Outcomes, Conflicting Interpretations.” Causes of the French Revolution, www.mtholyoke.edu/courses/Schwartz/histologist/french_rev_causes_consequence.