Revolution Essay, Research Paper
What is enlightenment? The 18th century Enlightenment was a movement of the intellectuals who dared to prove all the aspects in life scientifically. German philosopher Immauel Kant proclaimed the motto of the enlightenment : ?Dare to know!: Have the courage to use your own intelligence!? People were greatly impressed by the scientific revolution. They were also advocating the application of the scientific method to the understanding of all life. During the age of enlightenment, science became popular and there were a lot of philosophers who applied the ?natural law? to the social life. For example: John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, Montesquieu and many more. These people were the ones who then affected the French Revolution using their philosophies.
Political, economical, and social problems in France during the 18th century led to the French Revolution. The political problem was the French monarchy itself. Monarchy is a system where the country is ruled by one single power(i.e. the king). While the economical problem was the falling of French economic. The social problem was that the society was divided into three estates : the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The French Revolution consisted of three phases. The first one was the Liberal Revolution, the second was the French Republic, and the third one was the Napoleonic era. During the first phase, which was influenced by John Locke, French people wanted to be liberated. According to John Locke everyone has inalienable human rights and government should protect these inalienable rights, not to take it away. But in fact, the French monarchy abused the human?s natural rights. People did not have freedom and that is why they wanted to be liberated from the French monarchy. John Locke personally criticized monarchy and social inequality. He said that all humans are the same and they should be equal to one another. In this phase, Locke?s philosophy from the age of enlightenment was greatly used by the revolutionaries. During this time, the revolutionaries also change the constitution of France.
The second phase of the French Revolution was about how to establish democracy. In this phase, revolutionaries used J.J.Rousseau?s philosophy. According to Rousseau, the society has to be one, and there are no divisions in the society. Liberty is the one that united France. And the society is controlled by the general will, not by the individual will. On the other hand, he said that democracy has to be established among the people. Because, general will represents the whole society?s will. This idea of democracy would be then brought in by Robespierre and the Jacobins club which he lead. The revolutionaries found that the democracy that had benn brought in by Robespierre brought so much terror to the society and that is why Robespierre were killed.
In the third phase of the French Revolution is the Napoleonic era. During the Napoleonic era, J.J. Rousseau, Locke, and Smith’s philosophy were used and combined together. Napoleon did not agree with democracy, aristocracy, hierarchy, and civil liberties. But Napoleon gave the economic freedom just like Locke. Locke said that people should have rights for the properties and the government should protect those rights and not to abuse those rights from the people. Napoleon did the exact thing. He protected the properties of the societies. He also brought in Smith ideas which says that everyone basically has to be an egoist and he also approved Smith’s Labor Theory Value. Napoleon also thought in the same way as Rousseau did, he thought that women are legally incompetent and that was why there were no education given to the women society where women is used to please men only.
We can see the influence of the Enlightenment on the French Revolution. There were so many philosophers born during the Age of Enlightenment because of the popularization of science. Those philosophers created the ideologies used in the French Revolution and most of the ideologies came from John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. On the other hand, we can say that the Age of Enlightenment led to the French Revolution.