How did the Enlightenment influence the French Revolution?

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The Enlightenment helped pave the way for the French Revolution by its insistence on rationality as the litmus test for any political system, and one quick glance at ancien regime France could've told anyone that existing political arrangements were anything but rational in how they were organized. As well as the richest people in France paying no tax, the country was divided up into a veritable patchwork quilt of administrations, all of which enjoyed some kind of special tax privilege stretching back centuries. No wonder, then, that the state finances were in such a mess.

Enlightenment thinkers argued that people should not defer to existing political arrangements simply because they had existed since time immemorial. Tradition shouldn't be mindlessly adhered to; if the old traditions weren't working, then they should be changed.

Political institutions had been created by man to serve specific purposes, and if they no longer served those purposes, then they should be scrapped and replaced...

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