argument top image

What caused the French Revolution?
Back to question

The Enlightenment inspired the French Revolution

The Enlightenment allowed everyone to question their worldview and overall existence. Eventually, this intellectual movement inspired French citizens to improve their conditions, leading to the French Revolution.


The European Enlightenment movement and its idea that the world could be improved brought forward a new phase in society, one in which society's members could question and reason elements that could improve their own lives.

The Argument

The philosophical movement of the Enlightenment, also known as the "Age of Reason," inspired the questioning of authority figures and embraced the idea that society overall could be improved through "rational change".[1] The bourgeoisie, known as the merchant/professional class in France, was educated and familiar with Locke's, Rousseau's, and Montesquieu's writing about Enlightenment. These new ideas questioned their social and political standing in France, which led them to understand that they could improve their living.[2] These influential thinkers argued against the class divisions of feudalism. The Enlightenment inspired the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which would be adopted by the National Assembly of France on August 1789. The declaration in itself challenged the authority of King Louis XVI and set out a series of individual rights for each person "protected by the law".[3] The Enlightenment moved the people towards revolution.

Counter arguments

The French Revolution was not about the Enlightenment. There were other more important problems, such as the lack of food and a badly managed political system that worsened the economy of the poor.[4]



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 2 Nov 2020 at 03:51 UTC