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How Did Rousseau Influence The French Revolution

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The French Revolution was undoubtedly influenced by the political theorists of the Enlightenment. The ideas of two French political theorists in particular are easily seen throughout the French Revolution, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Baron Montesquieu. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s thoughts and texts, such as the Social Contract, instilled the entitlement of basic human rights to all men. Rousseau’s concepts on rights combined with Baron Montesquieu’s ideas on government provided the backbone of a radical movement in the French Revolution known as the Terror. When one delves into the beginnings of the French Revolution, the motives and actions of the National Assembly, and the Terror of the French Revolution, one can obviously see the influence of two Enlightenment political theorists, Rousseau and Montesquieu. A key political theorist influencing the initial outbreak of the French Revolution is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Social Contract, written by Rousseau, provided the rights the French people initially demanded. In the Social Contract, Rousseau delegitimizes absolute monarchies and popularizes rights of…show more content…
During the Estates General, Louis XIV believes he can rid the Third Estate’s demands by locking them out. The Third Estate moves next door to a tennis court and takes an oath to remain there until there is a constitutional monarchy, a form of government promulgated by Montesquieu in his “Spirit of Laws”. “Montesquieu claimed that a liberal constitutional monarchy was the best system of government for a people who prized freedom, on the grounds that by dividing the sovereignty of the nation between several centres of power, it provided a permanent check on any one of them becoming despotic.” Montesquieu is clearly vital in the French Revolution as he sets the structure of government which the National Assembly demands and provides the governmental goal of
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