The ideals of the French Revolution were a direct outgrowth of Enlightenment philosophy. A major focus of the Enlightenment was the worth of the individual and his or her right to take a role in their personal destiny.
From the start, the revolution set out to eradicate the absolute power that French kings used to enjoy. A say in government was to be given to the citizens themselves (well, at least the wealthy male citizens). Philosophers such as John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu wrote a lot about the rights of citizens to control their own rule. Their ideas greatly influenced the leaders of the Revolution. They particularly liked Locke's contention that any leader that does not protect the rights of his subjects should be replaced. When the revolutionaries seized power from the monarchy, they were fulfilling Locke's charge that power should come from the consent of the governed and that the people should institute their own government.
The governing ideal of the Enlightenment project...
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