I need a summary of Voltaire's argument/theory for my history homework on the french revolution
it needs to be about what he was arguing against, what he was against in his cureent society and his reasons for being so
Voltaire was from a bourgeois family in France. He eventually lived in exile in Great Britain. During this time in history, France was ruled harshly under an absolute monarchy, while Great Britain was ruled under a limited monarchy - meaning people had more freedoms in Great Britain than they did in France. Voltaire compared his living situation in GB to France and felt that living under the restrictions of the French (censorship, despotism, lack of civil liberties) actually barred human progress - meaning that the system held back the people under it from bettering themselves and their society. He saw that in Great Britain, where the people had more civil liberties, society was progressing.
He is famous for the quote "I disapprove what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." In France, there was censorship - people were not allowed freely speak out again things they didn't like. The government would silence them. He thought that by doing so, people were less likely to try to change things - even if it was for the better. That is why the conditions in France had been so awful for so long for the 3rd Estate - they didn't have the right to complain or be heard. Voltaire argued that everyone should have the right to voice there opinions about the government (even if they were not popular) and that the right to do so should be protected. To Voltaire - it would be the freedom to speak out against the actions of the government that would influence others to also speak out and that eventually this would put pressure on the government to change - thus making progress for society.