• anonymous
What is one sentence why the enlightenment helped cause the french revolution??? will fan and medal
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • chestercat
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  • anonymous
In the Enlightenment, people had new ideas about government. This gave the French the perfect way to have their country work well. John Locke, an Enlightenment thinker, said that no king should have absolute power. He believed in a constitutional monarchy, which basically meant he thought that any ruler should have rules to follow too. He also believed in a social contract: people give a little of their freedom to their ruler, but he/she cannot take away their natural rights, the rights that they are born with, and they have the right to get rid of him/her if he/she is a bad ruler. The French liked these ideas. Baron de Montesquieu believed in a separation of powers into three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial). He said they should hold equal power so it did not become a despotism (tyranny). His ideas were influential in many countries, including America. Voltaire, an Enlightenment writer, thought that people should have the right to free speech and religious freedom, which they did not really have. This idea became an important part of all Enlightenment thinking and many governments. Cesare Beccaria thought people should be allowed a fair and speedy trial with no torture and no "cruel and unusual punishments," an idea prized in many countries that had poor legal systems. He also disagreed with capital punishment (execution). Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges believed in equal rights for everyone, including women. De Gouges, a French woman, was executed for her beliefs. The French believed in the ideas of these thinkers, as well as other popular Enlightenment ideas, so they tried to overthrow their government. The revolution was, unfortunately, very poorly planned and resulted in chaos, the opposite of what they aimed for. It turned into a bloodbath, many people were guillotined. A very harsh tyrant, Napolean Bonaparte was put in charge of the country.

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