Enlightenment and the French Revolution

1227 WordsSep 10, 20115 Pages
Name Subject Professor Date Enlightenment Influence on Political, Social and Cultural Policies of French Revolutionary Period. The age of enlightenment led by influential intellectuals during the 18th century Europe greatly inspired the French citizens, especially the peasants, leading to the revolutionary period culminating from 1789 to 1799. The enlightenment is hailed as the foundation of today’s western political and intellectual culture.1 Growth of liberal democracies and democracies, the spread of secularism, invention of total war and the development of modern ideologies all mark their foundation during the French revolutionary period. Factors identified to have stimulated the war are mostly economic.…show more content…
It comprised statements of principles rather than a legal constitution. In addition, the revolution resulted to a massive shift of power to the state from the Roman Catholic Church which previously was the largest single landowner. Furthermore, it levied a tithe-10% tax on income on the general population but it was exempt from paying taxes. Enlightenment thinker Voltaire is credited with fueling this resentment towards the Catholic Church thus destabilizing the monarchy. The national assembly enacted social and economic reforms that saw the church’s authority to impose the tithe abolished. King Louis XVI faced treason charges in front of the National Convention and was executed on Jan. 21, 1793. Power was left in the hands of the Montagnards who began adopting radical social and economic policies that met opposition further fueling the revolution in what was known as the reign of terror. Royalists tried seizing power in Paris, but were crushed by Napoleon Bonaparte who by 17 99 declared himself the leader of France after staging several coups d’états. Napoleon became Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. It is during this time period that the series of Napoleonic wars sparked by the French revolution of 1789 occurred. The wars revolutionized European armies mainly due to application of modern day mass conscription. French power rose rapidly as Napoleon’s armies conquered Europe but collapsed quickly after the disastrous invasion of
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