Role of Ideas in the French and Russian Revolutions

1432 Words Nov 6th, 2010 6 Pages
Word Count: 1511

How important was the role of ideas in the outbreak of revolution?

When comparing the French Revolution of 1789 and Russian October Revolution of 1917, a series of parallels become evident. Both revolutionary groups became determined with an extensive emergence of new ideas, which captured a strong majority of the respective populations. The importance of the ideas was critical to maintaining a drive for the revolutions considering they acted as a manifestation of what the public and the politicians wanted for change. The primary ideas that evolved out of the outbreak of revolution revolved around the Enlightenment, political ideologies, propaganda and human rights. The momentous significance and importance of these
…show more content…
Of course without the spreading of ideas, public support would only be a lackluster fuel for revolution and so propaganda and the spreading of ideas were a common practice for the French and Russian revolutions. Voltaire became notorious for printing and displaying pamphlets to distribute his ideas of The Enlightenment to the French people. The authors of the pamphlets were making the case for a new concept of society and sought social unity. The purpose was often to ‘sell’ the ideas, resulting in alterations in the structure of French society and culture. Much of the propaganda floating around in the volatile period were anti-aristocracy rather than the promotion of new ideas which exemplifies the discontent and the determined force to attain a new system of government. Spreading of ideas were also established by Marquis de Lafayette, a revolutionary individual, who was dedicated to liberty and the principles of the Revolution and organized the National Guard of armed citizens to protect the Revolution from attack by the king. The public often took it upon themselves to wear the particular colours of the revolution and the clothing that was used as a symbolic device to represent your support. In Russia, it was also a case of individuals who were organizing and distributing pamphlets and flyers. Lenin himself, from 1897 to 1917, he travelled