How Did Voltaire Influence The French Revolution

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The Influential Life of Voltaire Voltaire is considered by many to be the leader of the Age of Enlightenment. He was an extremely well received philosopher, poet, playwright, author, historian, and scientist. He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberty and social reform. His writings have influenced the progression of nearly every area of study, especially philosophy, history, and science. His beliefs have had a large influence on the Age of Enlightenment and the French and American Revolutions. Voltaire (birth name Francois Marie Arouet), was born November 21, 1694 in Paris and was the youngest of three children. His father was a lawyer and his mother was from a noble family from the province of Poitou. His mother died when he…show more content…
The French Revolution began a mere nine years after the death of Voltaire. He is credited with cultivating much of the unrest that caused the revolution. The French Revolution was largely brought on by a growing interest in new forms of government throughout the very large and impoverished lower class. Voltaire wrote much about the short comings of the French government. In one of his most well known works “Letters concerning the English nation”, Voltaire contrasts the overbearing French government with the English government. He believed that the French government had more social barriers that kept the lower classes from ever moving up or getting rich through hard work. Instead, people were stuck in the class that they were born into. Voltaire could see that the government inherently favored the aristocracy and wrote "In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other."(Dictionnaire Philosophique) The French government did their best to keep Voltaire's writings out of the hands of the common people, however his views and philosophies became widely known in France. Most of the people in France realized that a change was needed but, those in power had no plans of giving away their power or improving the lives of the people. Thus, many called for a revolution. Voltaire’s influence on the new French government is seen in the balance of power between the National Assembly, Legislative Assembly, and other bodies of politicians. It can also be seen in the separation of powers into the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government in the United
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