Philosophers boldly challenged their the monarchs rule and people felt cheated in controlling their own destiny. Yet people worldwide lacked rights but did not rebel yet. The philosophies of Rousseau, Voltaire and Locke inspired the revolutions in France, Haiti/other Latin American Colonies and North America. The main values of the Enlightenment ultimately became the justification for revolutionary change in many societies including America, France, and Latin America.
Without the concepts developed by Rousseau and Voltaire about freedom of religion, equality and freedom of speech, there may have never been a French Revolution. Specifically, Rousseau believed the government should be formed by the people and guided by the desires of society. Prior to the French Revolution, the French were under an absolute monarchy that did not represent the will of the people. Before the French revolution, there were three estates. Each estate consisted of different classes of people. The first estate consisted of the clergy. The second state consisted of Nobility. The third estate consisted of the poor and everyone else who was not a clergy or nobility. An issue occurring during this time was that the 1st and 2nd estate were hardly being taxed compared to the third estate. The 3rd estate adopted the belief formed by Rousseau concerning the need for a government that represented the general will and taxed fairly. Without this idea, developed by French Philosopher Rousseau, people may have never revolted and people may have been more accepting of the absolute monarchy. Voltaire’s ideas also influenced the desire of people wanting to be able to speak freely even when it opposed the king’s beliefs.
The American and French Revolutions took place between 1775 and 1789. Though they were closely related chronologically, the two revolutions were interrelated in several other important ways than just time itself. In the late eighteenth century the ideas of liberty and equalities were beginning to flourish throughout the world, especially in Europe and in America (p. 691). Part of this was believed ...
Not only was the French Revolution affected by the ideas established during the Enlightenment, but also the American Revolution. In the 1660’s, when the parliament passed laws called Navigation Acts, the Americans became upset. The Navigation Acts permitted the Americans to have high taxes on any imported Dutch or French goods and banned Americans to sell their valuable goods to anyone one but the British. This was done without the consent from the American settlers. The Americans were particularly upset about “taxation without representation”. Philosopher John Locke believed that the government should have permission from the people before passing a law. Another conflict arose during the revolution when Britain refused to give Americans the same rights as them when the Americans asked. Many Americans decided they wanted independence and to be broken off from Britain. During the war, colonial leaders such as Patrick Henry, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin met to justify independence. They used John Locke’s philosophy about Natural Rights; life, liberty, and property to help form the document now known as The Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of independence closely resembles the words of Locke. The document concluded with breaking ties between Britain and America. Without John Locke inspiring the colonial leaders, America may still be under the rule of Britain and may still not have had their independence as quickly.
Lastly, the Enlightenment ideas affected the revolutions in Haiti and other Latin American colonies. During France’s rule over Haiti, most Haitians were enslaved. The Haitians believed in liberty and equality following the enlightenment ideas of Locke and Rousseau. As a result the Haitians revolted starting with the leadership of Toussaint. As the Haitians revolted, Toussaint was killed before Haiti gained complete freedom. When he was killed a new leader arose named Jean-Jacques Dessalines who completed what Toussaint had started. In the rest of Latin America including Mexico, Brazil and Columbia, they wanted independence from the Spanish and Portuguese. This again reflected the ideals of Rousseau and Locke. Like the North Americans, they wanted to be independent and governed by themselves. As a result, in Mexico Miguel Hidalgo called for independence in his “Grito de Dolores” but Iturbide was the one to proclaim independence. Brazil achieved independence from Portugal about the same time in 1822. Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin achieved independence for Colombia and many other Latin American areas.
This is an Essay that I wrote for World History Research* Throughout history there were many countries exploited by means of invasion. During the age of colonization, Europeans imposed many things on the Latin American territory that have had an extensive, disturbing effect on the indigenous community. Europeans invaded and controlled much of South America and the Caribbean islands by means of ...
The philosophies of Rousseau, Voltaire and Locke inspired the French, North America and Latin revolutions with the ideas pertaining to liberty, freedom of speech, consent of the governed and general will. Before the revolutions these ideas conflicted with the rule under the monarchy. Without the ideas of the enlightenment, the revolutions may have occurred as early or at all. With the enlightenment ideals, France ended the monarchy while North America, Haiti and the rest of Latin America gained independence.
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