The Enlightenment Ideas And The Reforms Of The French Revolution

835 words - 3 pages

Enlightenment ideas impacted reforms of the French revolution in a vast number of ways. These ideas especially in the areas of politics, society, and religion helped shape the policies of the French Revolution. The heliocentric view of the universe was formed and replaced the standard geocentric view. The government and political views of the people where greatly influenced by the Enlightenment ideas. For the first time people began to question the church and its teachings. Members of society until this time had gone along with the church and all the beliefs that they taught. The enlightenment ideas brought on new ways of thinking which did not exist before.

The Enlightenment or the “age of light” as it is referred to in Gavin Lewis’s WCIV, gave way to new ideas which reformed the French revolution. The scientific revolution questioned the long-held views that were in place of the universe. Up until this time the belief was that the Earth was at the center of the universe or the geocentric view, but Polish astronomer Copernicus’s heliocentric theory brought about a new prospective of the universe. The heliocentric view explained that the sun is the center of the universe and not the earth as it was believed to be for a long time. The heliocentric view brought about conflict within member of the church community. The traditional views were questioned and denied.

Enlightenment ideas brought about rejection towards the traditional views and customs of the church. These ideas taught society to use reason, knowledge and nature as a source and to be guided by. The Enlightenment brought about Deism and some even went as far as believing in atheism. The philosophes of the time believed that “God’s relation to the universe was like that of a human watchmaker to a watch. Having designed the universe, built it, and wound it up, God had then left it to run on its own.”(Lewis 364) This idea was that God no longer intervened with the nature of events, they ran freely. Deism became the new religion accepted by most but some churchgoers rejected it as a new substitute for the old traditional Christian religion. When Deism started to lose interest among the people of society, they became skeptical and some even went on to question God’s existence better known as atheism.

The political views of century the where massively changed by the Enlightenment ideas. Baron de Montesquieu a Frenchman and Enlightenment admirer of the time, believed that a division of government was the way to protect...

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