The French Philosophers
The writings and the preaching of the French philosophers prepared the common people for the revolution.
The most prominent among them were Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau.
Montesquieu in his book, The Spirit of Laws advocated the constitutional form government. He introduced the idea of separation of powers into executive, legislative and judiciary to ensure the effective functioning of democracy. Voltaire launched a crusade against superstition and attacked traditional beliefs. He wrote many essays, poems and dramas creating awareness among the masses. He advocated the supremacy of reason.
He stood for religious toleration. He strongly condemned the corruptions in the church. He stood for a benevolent despotism. Rousseau was the author of the famous book, Social Contract, which was considered the Bible of the French Revolution.He said that the real sovereignty rests with the people. His famous statement, 'Man is born free and is everywhere in chains' kindled the revolutionary spirit of the masses. Diderot and D' Alembert published the Encyclopedia. It contained several essays and articles written by revolutionary thinkers. The revolutionary ideas of these philosophers spread throughout France and created awareness among the masses. The French intellectuals gave the motto 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity' which became the watchwords of the revolution of 1789.
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