Enlightenment, French Revolution, and Napoleon Test Questions

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Because of the Enlightenment, Western attitudes toward reform, faith, and reason became hopeful and interested in being included in the enlightenment because it was such a great evolution of philosophy and science. One of the major things that influenced the philosophes was the emergence of Natural Philosophy which was new ideas and methods of science that challenged ideas from medieval times. The philosophes were influenced by this because it gave them the thoughts of being able to challenge what’s old with new. Another one of the major things that influenced the philosophies of the enlightenment were salons. These were places that gave them the chance to spread their new ideas, thoughts, and philosophies. Voltaire was a very influential philosophe during the enlightenment through the many times he was exiled and drove out for his adamant views on political matters, he stayed strong and this is what inspired other philosophes to do the same.

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The Encyclopedia was considered one of the greatest monuments of the Enlightenment. This book was a collection of data on important articles, illustrations, agriculture, and other important knowledge about 18th century social and economic life. This helped show the enlightenment’s reason and strive to focus on life on earth. Philosophes considered organized religion to be their greatest enemy because it was against the philosophes new ideas on science and how the world works. Because the bible was what the organized religion went by, they didn't like when philosophies or discoveries were represented that said anything other than what’s in the bible. During the enlightenment, philosophes found a way to combine religion and reasoning called deism. Deism was the belief that a god created the universe and allowed it to function without interference, and that that you were rewarded or punished for your actions after death. This belief was very tolerant and allowed reasoning. During the enlightenment, Jewish thinkers of the 18th century embraced the new emphasis on reason, scientific discoveries, and philosophy as a way of revitalizing their state. A major Jewish writer who contributed was Moses Mendelssohn, who established the main outlines of someone who advocated integration of Jews into modern European life and wanted to combine Judaism and the new reasoning of the enlightenment.

The Enlightenment evaluations of Islam and its evaluation of Christianity and Judaism were both considered similar because of their same criticism on traditional religion and the conflicts that occurred because of it and considered different because of how in Judaism they only wanted religious toleration but in Islam the European religion of Christianity saw their religion has false and intolerable. The philosophes of the time period still saw women as ones who should only do traditional housekeeping roles like cooking, cleaning and bearing children. Rousseau’s view of women consisted of women requiring to be lower ranking compared to men and that they should be in two different spheres socially. The spheres of men being they were to populate the world of citizenship, political action, and civic virtue. The spheres of women being they should only participate in domestic obligations.

Mary Wollstonecraft and advocate of women's rights and equality criticised Rousseau’s views as unfavorable to women and that he upheld traditional roles for women to narrow and limit their experience. Adam Smith believed that the earth’s resources were boundless while the mercantilist believed that the earth’s resources were limited and scarce, so only one nation could acquire wealth at the expense of others. Smith might be regarded as an advocate for the consumer because he dispromotes the government having interference within the economy and to consumers, this may sometimes be a nuisance. Smith embraced the theory of human social and economic development, known as the four-stage theory. This implied that there were four types of society, hunter-gatherers, pastoral or herding, agriculture, or commercial. Commercial being considered the most advanced included cities, countryside, and elaborate financial arrangements. Europe saw themselves within this type and believed that Non-Europeans who were anywhere in the lesser types weren’t as advanced or developed and thought of them as lesser beings.

Enlightened writers viewed European empires in a negative way because of how they treated Native Americans and how they enslaved Africans. One enlightened writer with a negative view wrote “The first and most basic idea is that human beings deserve some modicum of moral and political respects simply because of the fact they're human.” in reference to the Europeans immoral actions to non-Europeans because of their place within the four-stage theory. While Montesquieu political views consisted of the executive power was within the king, the legislative in the parliament, and the judicial within the courts resulting in any of the two branches being able to check and balance each other, while Rousseau’s view consisted of surrendering your rights to the will of the community. Montesquieu view was incorrect because he didn’t take into consideration how the powerful aristocrats dominated the government. Rousseau was considered a child of the Enlightenment because he agreed with the government opinion. He was also someone who valued society more than the individual. The enlightened monarchs weren’t true believers in the ideals of the philosophers. They simply believed and acted on the ideas of them and helping their people but only so that they were able to stay in power. They actually did not have absolute power because they did things to favor the community and enlightened writers which is what motivated their reforms rather than what they really wanted to do which was to expand their territory. The partition of Poland was a division of Polish territory created in fear of Catherine the Great’s military success. The partition of Poland indicated the spirit of enlightened absolutism wasn’t actually there and that they really just wanted to expand territory.

Even though France is considered rich because of their extravagant and costly architecture and buildings such as the palace of Versailles, their government is considered corrupt because of the many financial problems caused by the monarchy, the many failed attempts to fix them by assigned financial administrators, and the unfair distribution of power towards the nobles compared to the majority of France. The monarchies financial debts led to heavy taxing onto the peasants and lower classes’ source of food. This created stress on them that resulted in riots and the need for a revolution. A big mistake that Louis XIV made was his inability to effectively tax his subjects. Instead of taxing the nobles with the most money, he taxed the peasants who hardly had anything to give.

During the revolution, the National Assembly was created and because it was a revolution it was done without Louis XIV’s consent so he called for a “Royal Session” of the Estates General and closed the building where the National Assembly had been gathering. This was the biggest mistake that Louis could've made because disregarding his request, the National Assembly gathered in a Tennis Court to oath their dedication to writing a new French constitution. I believe that he could have avoided the French Revolution if he was a more able ruler by reducing the taxes on the peasants and increasing them on the nobles which were where most of the money was. The success and efficiency of the monarch had much to do with the revolution. Because of his poor choices of where to tax the most and his poor choice of assigned financial administrators, the French government wasn’t able to thrive like it would have if he was a competent monarch. During the revolution, the National assembly was created, a combination of the 3rd estate and other clergy and nobles from the former legislative branch called the Estates General. This was a big step within the revolution because before there were three estates separated by social status, the 1st and 2nd being the upper classes, and the 3rd being the lower classes. Though the 3rd estate was most of France they had the least count of opinion within the legislative obligations. This called for a revolution in the government creating the National Assembly. During the Enlightenment there was an emphasis put on the natural rights of man and that those rights shouldn’t be violated.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen really highlighted those natural proven by the proclamation that represented it saying that all men were “born and remain free and equal in rights.” and that those natural rights are “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” During the early years of the revolution, the French government’s legislators reorganized the government greatly by changing from the Estates General to the new National Assembly that allowed the former 3rd estate to have more say within the government. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was the national church created by the assembly. The clergy was required to oath their loyalty to the state and many of them refused to result in the plunder of the assembly. At this time of the French revolution, the National Assembly finally finished the settled new constitution in 1791, political factions were dissatisfied with the constitutional settlement of 1791 because it allowed only active citizens to vote.

The revolution of 1792 was considered the second revolution that France had because of a war of French politics. The sans-culottes were the lower class people but the word really means without breeches because to be an upperclassman you wore breeches but the lower class didn’t and they would be treated differently based on their social status even if they were just as wealthy as a man from the upper class. The sans-culottes were also the ones who led a more radical revolution compared to the Girondists. The sans-culottes became a factor within the political matters of France by cooperating with the government to make decisions. Both the Jacobins, the radical republican party of the French Revolution, and the sans-culottes worked together because they were both Republican parties and it ended because the Jacobins desired an unregulated economy. In 1792, France went to war with Austria with the belief that it would unify France. However, this wasn’t the case completely. Even though they did get sympathy from the people France still lost lots of money and went into debt, in the process losing more soldiers to fight off revolutionaries. The Reign of Terror was the period between the summer of 1793 and the end of July 1794 when the French revolutionary state used extensive executions and violence to defend the Revolution and suppress its alleged internal enemies.

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The causes of this were the widening of the war in Europe and trying to protect the country from the enemies. It honestly shocked other European nations because they've never seen a nation organized like this before. The events that occurred in France had some influence on the last two partitions of Poland. They were fearful that the central and east European powers that the principles of the French Revolution were establishing themselves in Poland. The French revolution model being “equality, liberty, and fraternity.” was completely violated but still supported in a few ways. They attempted to complete equality and liberty and this was shown in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. However, they still violated their term of equality because they didn’t allow everyone to have said within their government like the women who gained no benefits at all from this revolution. The peasants did still benefit from the revolution in some way because they were able to gain more say in the government.

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Enlightenment, French Revolution, and Napoleon test questions. (2018, October 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from
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