The Transformation of Europe Essay

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Over two-hundred years ago, Europe was a vastly different place. To the modern eye, the Europe of the 18th Century would be unrecognizable compared to its current state. However, the road to this new Europe has been not been all kicks and giggles, but a rather rough and tumble journey. Due to the introduction of new ways of thinking, the occurrences of multiple revolutions, changes in government style and leadership, which led to the creation and extinction of numerous countries as well as rearrangement of boundary lines, and the formation of a European Union, Europe today is hardly comparable to the Europe in our history books. The transformation that Europe experienced spanned a period of more than two-hundred years and made it into the…show more content…
All three of these rights were privileges that the upper-class and monarchies stripped from the lower-classes. Other outspoken individuals like Olympe de Gouges, Voltaire, and Pierre Beaumarchais used their individual writings as an outlet to express their criticism of the privileged and high society that held the power in France. De Gouges spoke for the women of the time and fought for their rights and privileges in “The Declaration of the Rights of Woman.” De Gouges, who wrote of many radical ideas in this piece, implied that men and women’s right should be equal and even drew up her own social contract for marriage. Voltaire’s Candide consisted of harsh critiques of the state, religion, human nature, and even the Enlightenment of which Voltaire was an advocate; Voltaire himself received large amounts of condemnation for his work and Candide was widely banned. Beaumarchais harshly criticized the French monarchy (disguised as a Spanish monarchy), inherited privilege, the institution of marriage, and the roles of men and women. Beaumarchais himself was a big advocate for reform, but not necessarily revolution. However, the idea of Enlightenment, which was heavily represented in these pieces, may have been the fuel that sparked Europe’s fire for change and revolution. Enlightenment brought about the ideas of change: a change in the use of knowledge but also a change in power. After the Estates General met in May 1789, the Third Estate remained very unhappy, so on
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