I’m hoping to do a series of posts on the causes of the French Revolution. Here is the first cause I have chosen – the Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment, which was also known as the Age of Reason, challenged many established ideas of the day throughout Europe in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It challenged the established beliefs on topics such as politics, philosophy, science and communications. It resulted in numerous writings, laws, inventions, scientific discoveries and influenced the French and American revolutions. A French writer Rousseau popularised the fact that the king did not have the right to absolute rule. This belief spread rapidly with the aid of the printing press and soon came to the attention of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie were the upper-class peasants in France. Many of them worked as merchants and some of them were richer than the nobility. Many of the bourgeoisie were educated and liked the ideas put forward by Rosseau and other writers which told them that the king did not have a right to absolute rule.