Revolutions: The French Revolution

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As more revolutions occurred around the globe in the 18th century, they could almost always be connected to the philosophies brought about by the Age of Enlightenment. This age, encouraging freedom and equality, not to mention a government intended to protect the natural rights of citizens, naturally conflicted with any abuses of power by a government at the time. As a result, revolutions such as the French Revolution, the Venezuelan Revolution, and the Haitian Revolution were born. Furthermore, these three in particular were influenced in their changes in government, the leaders that were inspired by these philosophies, the ways that they obtained freedom, and what they accomplished regarding human rights. When looking at these different…show more content…
Arguably the most prominent leader of the French Revolution would be Maximilien Robespierre, who preached the values of liberty, equality, and fraternity to the oppressed. However, his ulterior motives proved otherwise, as he transformed France into a dictatorship. The Venezuelan Revolution was upheld by Simon Bolivar, a wealthy elite who supported the lower classes in the revolution after being inspired by writers of the Enlightenment. The Haitian Revolution was led by former slave Toussaint L’Ouverture, who was considered a liberating hero for his role in it. Although he felt that liberty did not justify laziness, he still did not tolerate abuses of power. For example, former slave owners were taking advantage of free slaves after a statement he made. In response, L’Ouverture said this: “They (plantation owners) say to the cultivators: ‘You claim you are free. All the same, you must remain on my plantation whether you like it or not…’ Military men and police officers are instructed to arrest any person guilty of such talk.” In essence, the leaders of these revolutions were all influenced by freedom and liberty in some way, which were brought about by the Age of Enlightenment. But the revolutions succeeded through differing methods, but were nonetheless inspired by the…show more content…
Perhaps the most obvious example would be the French Revolution, which quickly turned violent when the Third Estate decapitated the king in 1793. In contrast,Venezuela achieved independence by Simon Bolivar pleading with the controlling officials at the Congress of Angostura in 1819. In the first section of his statement, he says, “It would require no alteration in our laws to adopt a legislature similar to the British Parliament.” In other words, he is attempting to win them over, and is successful. Somewhere in between these two revolutions would be Haiti, which initially gained its independence by taking advantage of the fragile political system, but they responded to those violating the rights of slaves by driving them off the island. However, the violent measures do not necessarily contradict the principles of the Enlightenment.Strangely enough, the French and Haitian Revolutions are justified in violent revolt according to the beliefs of Enlightenment philosophers like John Locke, who say that revolt is acceptable when external forces attempt to control individuals. At the root of these revolutions are the desire for liberty and equality, both at the center of the Age of Enlightenment, and the three revolutions achieved it in some
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