In what ways did the Enlightenment impact the French, Haitian, and American Revolutions?

Read: PoWH Chapter 22, Pp. 654-671, 681-685

Sources: 17.3 (Duc de Saint-Simon)

22.1 (Declaration of the Rights of Man)

22.4 (Edmund Burke)

22.5 (Thomas Paine)

Toussaint Louverture (on D2L)

Discussion Question/Writing Assignment Outline 10: In what ways did the Enlightenment impact the French, Haitian, and American Revolutions?

Answer & Explanation
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The Enlightenment was a period of intellectual and cultural transformation that took place in Europe during the 18th century. Its ideas and principles had a significant impact on the French, Haitian, and American Revolutions. Here are some of the ways in which the Enlightenment influenced these revolutions:

French Revolution: The French Revolution was a period of political and social upheaval in France that lasted from 1789 to 1799. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on reason, liberty, and equality greatly influenced the revolutionary ideas of the French people. The writings of Enlightenment philosophers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau inspired the French to challenge the authority of the monarchy and the Catholic Church. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, which was a

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dopted by the National Assembly in 1789, drew heavily on Enlightenment principles of natural rights and individual liberty.

Haitian Revolution: The Haitian Revolution was a successful slave rebellion that took place in Haiti between 1791 and 1804. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on freedom and equality provided inspiration to the Haitian slaves who rose up against their French colonial masters. The Haitian Revolution was led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, a former slave who was greatly influenced by Enlightenment ideas. L’Ouverture sought to create a society based on the principles of liberty and equality, and his efforts ultimately led to the abolition of slavery in Haiti.

American Revolution: The American Revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1765 and 1783, resulting in the formation of the United States of America. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on individual liberty and self-government greatly influenced the revolutionary ideas of the American colonists. The writings of Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke and Thomas Paine provided a philosophical justification for the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence, which was adopted in 1776, drew heavily on Enlightenment principles of natural rights and individual liberty.

In summary, the Enlightenment had a significant impact on the French, Haitian, and American Revolutions. Its emphasis on reason, liberty, and equality provided inspiration to the revolutionary movements that sought to challenge the authority of traditional institutions and establish more democratic and egalitarian societies.

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