How important were Voltaire and the Encyclopedia in the success of the Enligghtenment?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Voltaire and the Encyclopedia were very instrumental in the success of the Enlightenment, including the spread of ideals and an increased interest in the arts, philosophy, and the reform of government.

The Enlightenment, of the Age of Reason, was marked by fierce rise in philosophy and science, to ask questions of everything--of nature, government, religion, art.  The great thing about Denis Diderot's Encyclopedia is that not only did Diderot attempt to address many popular Enlightenment topics, but the collection became a focal point of conversations in the salons across France, even more so after it was banned.  Diderot wanted to educate and inform; in his mind, a more educated populace was a more powerful one. 

Like Diderot and the Encyclopedia, Voltaire also questioned the status quo through his many writings, not limited to his essays but also in his dramatic works, novels, and poetry.  He supported the reform of government, pushing for civil rights and a balanced tax system.

binualosious | Student

Volataire was one of the main enlightment writer. He is one of the main reason for the french revolution . The way of human thinking changed at that time period due to him. He showed that the people should be ruled by the educated and the able according to the enlightment pricnipal giving them freedom to speak, freedom of thought, religion. So he expanded the principal a bit more