The Enlightenment and the French Revolution Term Paper by Nicky

A discussion on the Enlightenment and its relationship with the French Revolution.
# 151215 | 1,959 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on May 30, 2012 in History (European - 16th Century)

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The paper discusses the Enlightenment in France and outlines the philosophies of Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau and Diderot. The paper looks at the end of the Enlightenment and the advent of the French Revolution, and highlights the relationship between them. The paper clearly shows how the period of Enlightenment was a necessary and important political and philosophical phenomenon which marked the intellectual movement of society into the modern world.

The Enlightenment and France
End of the Enlightenment and Advent of the French Revolution
Relationship between the Enlightenment and Revolution

From the Paper:

"Interpretation of The Enlightenment period is often posthumous in nature, as the period itself was rather an "unorganized coalition" of critics, skeptics and reformers (Gay). However, what is remarkable is the high level of concordance and harmony amongst these disparate intellectuals. Their views and beliefs advanced the underpinnings of widespread freedom in multiple forms that would eventually launch the political reform of the French Revolution (Gay) and induce an abrupt end to the Enlightenment era. Their discourse was not without clash and intellectual debate, however, the extraordinary consistency in general intellectual pursuit that emphasized the power of reasoning is a fundamental characteristic that defines the uniqueness and importance of the Enlightenment period (Cassirer; Outram).
"Within France, the Enlightenment occurred slightly later than other regions of the world and is considered by some to be a rejoinder to the decadence and corruption of the French Monarchy during the early seventeenth century (Church). As a result, social discontent fulminated into political and philosophical ideology leading to the advent of the Enlightenment (Outram) and eventual emergence of the French philosophes.
"The philosophies of the Enlightenment were a formally disconnected, though intellectually unified, contingencies of thinkers who challenged the norms and mores of period through novel discourse (Church; Cassirer). Unified by an espousal of beliefs in personal liberty and intellectual reasoning, the philosophies provided the force behind the Enlightenment movement. Among the thinkers of this period were Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Diderot."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cassirer, Ernst. The philosophy of the enlightenment. Princeton University Press, 1951.
  • Church, William Farr. The influence of the enlightenment on the French Revolution. D. C. Heath, 1973.
  • Gay, Peter. The Enlightenment. W. W. Norton & Company, 1995.
  • Israel, Jonathan Irvine. Radical Enlightenment. Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Lefebvre, Georges. The French Revolution. Routledge, 2001.

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