The Enlightenment's Impact On The French Revolution

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Despite the neglect for the importance of the intellectual origins from the Marxist school, a revolution has to be conceivable before it can take place. The Enlightenment’s critique of society and institutions, especially of despotism and the Church, laid foundations for a new order. Ideas of liberty, equality, the fellowship of man against oppression, democracy as an idealised solution, have all been accorded an important role. France saw even its peasants and artisans, thrown into turmoil by the thoughts of philosophes, making intellectual history a major area of inquiry.

The Link Between the Age of Reason and the French Revolution

When the influence of the Enlightenment on the revolution, is put to question, a tendency to blame the philosophes for their indirect involvement in events that are ‘too flawed’ in the scheme of the French Revolution. The "Enlightenment' was not a single movement or school of thought, for these philosophies were often mutually contradictory or divergent. The Enlightenment was less a set of ideas than it was a set of values. At its core was a critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs, and morals, and a strong belief in rationality and science. While assessing the influence that the Enlightenment had on the revolution,
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In these idealised social settings, the emphasis fell upon reading as a medium to sustain traditional principles of order, hierarchy, and community. Reading was conceived as either personal or embedded in traditional community, representations such as these suggest an isolation of reading from political action. The reading habits of the population prior to 1789 is also an indicator to why the Age of Reason did not influence a wider audience prior to the revolution. A publication such as this represents how a mundane activity, such as the likes of reading still observed a structure in absolutist
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