Nick Ashmore March 1, 2005 Hist 121 Professor Pratt French Revolution A historian once wrote that all revolutions need ideas to fuel them. Can this assertion be applied to the French Revolution? Yes, new ideas are the root to any revolution because new ideas are needed to change old ways. The dictionary states that a revolution is: A sudden or momentous change in a situation. In this case the situation would be political and social reform. Some of the ideas that lead to the revolution are; a change from a monarchy to a democracy, religious tolerance, science and reason challenge the church, protection of natural rights, and uplifting of economic restraints. One of the biggest ideas that lead to the Revolution would be religious tolerance.
It all started in 1685 when King Louis XIV repealed the Edict of Nantes which had granted limited tolerance to French Protestants or Huguenots. The Edict of Nantes ended the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants that took place from 1562 to 1598. The Edict of Nantes also included new liberties for the Huguenots. The Huguenots were allowed to build churches and hold religious services in specified villages and the suburbs of any city outside a 5-mile radius of Paris and other Catholic dominated cities.
They were also granted civil rights and the right to hold official positions. Control and censorship of publications by clerical officials led to the arrest of Voltaire and other writers of the Enlightenment... The idea of protection of natural rights for the working class became very appealing after King Louis XIV violent clash with the Huguenots, which violated the natural rights. The natural rights were to let people peacefully enjoy their rights to life, liberty, and property.
Huguenots thought that the government should only be concerned with the worldly matters of life and property, not with spiritual things such as the salvation of souls or beliefs. Matters of religious beliefs and moral beliefs were to be kept for the privacy of ones own home, where each person was free to believe what they wished. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" were the new natural rights created in America and the French started to share in the same ideals. The pursuit of happiness was changed from property because property was not the only thing that leads to happiness. Money also leads to happiness but when a nation has an economy where most of the money does not with the people who earned it, that happiness can never be attained. The working and the bourgeois class wanted to move away from a feudal economic system, were all of the money goes to the king and the church, to a more capitalist free-market economy.
By changing to a capitalist economy every person now had a chance to live life to the fullest. Without these ideas to help start the revolution France may have stayed in the same condition for another hundred years. These were only a few of the reasons that revolution occurred, but never the less without these ideas their would have not been a revolution.