Compare and contrast the political beliefs of Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu.
November 10, 2013
AP European History
During the eighteenth century, ideas came into place that economic improvement and political reform were possible. This movement of ideas was called the Enlightenment. Inspired by the scientific revolution, the Enlightenment led people to challenge the Church authority and the traditional intellectual authority. Enlightened people believed in a commercial society, expanding consumption, agricultural improvement, and innovative rational methods. Some among the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu, caused the spirit of innovation and improvement to come and characterize modern Europe and Western Society. Although they were all philosophes, they had different philosophies about the purpose of life, the source of evil, and a perfect society.
The first among the philosophes was Voltaire. His philosophy of life stated that if people cultivated their own garden, the world would be a better place. People would need to get rid of the weeds that harmed good and beauty. Next, he said that people should take care of themselves and not be greedy. In addition, he said people should try to harmonize their plans with the plans of others. The next philosopher is Jean Jacques Rousseau. His purpose of life stated that only in a natural state, man can live happily. Civilization corrupts man, so man must avoid education and follow their instincts rather than reason. Montesquieu believed that all things of the world were made of rules that have not been changed. He did not believe all people were equal, as he supported slavery and that women were less than men. None of these philosophes had the same philosophy of life
According to Voltaire’s philosophy of a perfect society, he believed that the main problems in the world are superstition, intolerance, greed, and oppression....
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