How Did Voltaire Impact The French Revolution

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The pen wrested the sword’s might during the 18th century when critical thinkers like Voltaire published literary works that encouraged societal change. Scholars call this period of analytical growth the Enlightenment because “mankind was emerging from centuries of ignorance into a new age enlightened by reason, science, and respect for humanity” (University of West Georgia). In the late 18th century, the French Revolution, a war between the French government and Bourgeoisie, occurred because citizens sought societal improvements. Historians suggest that individuals’ pain and sadness, rather than Enlightenment thinkers’ encouragement, spurred the French Revolution. However, figures like Voltaire contributed greatly to European society and the war’s causes. Although historians limit his impact on the French Revolution, Voltaire critiqued France’s political and economic corruption and encouraged citizens to resist the…show more content…
In Candide he directly referenced France’s hierarchy when Martin asks, “Do you believe...that hawks have always eaten pigeons when they have found them?” (Voltaire, 62). He wrote about “hawks” and “pigeons’ to display the power difference between these groups, as hawks possess greater strength than pigeons. He then continued to say that “hawks have always eaten pigeons” which signifies how the stronger bird asserts its dominance over the weaker. This comparison resembles the hierarchy that France arranged, because the government had impeccable decision-making powers. The Third Estate, which accounted for 97% of citizens, received little say in political matters (Beck et. al, 652). Individuals recognized the disproportionate system France’s government arranged to solve these issues, and they sought a shift from a monarchy to a more democratic government. The Bourgeoisie rebelled against its government after concluding that it wanted a change in
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