This is writing from 1762 by Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire. He argues for the separation and removal of church authority from matters of politics and personal thought. In section X of the declaration of the rights of man and the citizen, It states that no one deserves to be molested for their religious opinion. This was influenced by the work of Voltaire. He felt strongly that church and state needed to be separate in order to ensure the rights of people of all religions.
In his 1762 essay, Jean-Jacques Rousseau outlines his idea of the social contract. He describes an unwritten but binding contract between the individual and the state. The state is supposed to assist people in being their natural, good selves. In the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, It states that, "V. The law ought to prohibit only actions hurtful to society. What is not prohibited by the law, should not be hindered; nor should any one be compelled to that which the law does not require." The government is there to help humans be good, as they would be without government getting in the way, according to the thoughts of Rousseau.
This exhibit shows excerpts from Montesquieu's 1748 political philosophy The Spirit of the Laws. Montesquieu was as french philosopher during the late 1600s and early 1700s. He believed that the leaders of the state had a responsibility to represent the needs and wants of the people. According to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, "The law is an expression of the will of the community. All citizens have a right to concur, either personally, or by their representatives, in its formation. It should be the same to all, whether it protects or punishes"
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen is a description of rights established on August 5, 1789 by the National Assembly. It is easy to see enlightenment ideas within the text. Rousseau can be seen in the purpose of government. Voltaire can be seen in rights of religion. Montesquieu is there throughout the text.
Maurice Cranston gives his views on the cause(s) of the French Revolution.
Painting by Eugene Delecroix depicting the Lady Liberty pushing French people of all classes to victory.