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Enlightenment During The French Revolution

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After aiding the Americans against the British, France was in financial ruins. The corrupt tax and class system only served to increase tensions between the different estates. Poor leadership and a lack of representation in the government led to civil unrest. Above all else, the ideals of the Enlightenment propagated throughout the middle class and resonated with their issues. All of these ideas were embodied in the Enlightenment ideals, and the Third Estate soon realized that they had a right to representation within the government. In open defiance of the king, representatives of the Third Estate protested the Estates General as a means of creating taxes and created a new constitution and the National Assembly. The men who drafted that constitution…show more content…
And during the enlightenment the literacy rates in France nearly doubled and there were approximately 25,000 copies of the Encyclopedia in circulation throughout France. The ideas of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu on government structure would heavily influence the first revolutionaries. These ideas: that the government’s power comes from the consent of the people, the separation of powers, and democracy resonated with the Third Estate who, at this point, were overtaxed and underrepresented. When the Third estate created a new constitution at the Estates General of 1789, the wording was heavily resembled the writings of Rousseau on the importance of democracy and the oppressive nature of a monarchy. The primary stated goals of the original revolutionaries were to make France a republic, overthrow Louis XVI, and destroy the Ancien Regime and the Estates. And though the revolution did eventually accomplish these things, the means by which they were completed were not consistent with the morals of the…show more content…
Louis XVI, fearing that this defiance could inspire riots nearby and called in Swiss Guard mercenaries in order to keep Paris in order. However his precaution had the opposite effect and panic spread throughout the area leading to violent riots that culminated in the violent storming of the Bastille that ended with nine guards dead. The storming of the Bastille highlighted the fact that the common people held the power of this revolution. This violent display underlined the necessity of violence in the revolution: the French people had so much to tear away from the Ancien Regime in order to build a new system of government. The revolution had become something completely unique and unheard of at this point in time, instead of cyclical uprisings that culminated in merely another monarch being appointed, this revolution showed promise to completely upheave and replace an
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