In the article “The French Revolution: Ideas and Ideologies” Maurice Cranston (1989) argues that the leaders of the French Revolution were influenced by the ideas of the political philosophers of the French Enlightenment. The French Revolution itself went through several phases during which different forms of monarchy and sovereignty were pursued. There was also a period when the First French Republic was active, but in just 12 years France returned to the form of absolute monarchy. All these transitions were supported with the ideologies of the French philosophers Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire.
The argument concerning the imperial phase and Napoleon’s intent to create an empire similar to the Roman Empire is compelling, because the author provides many comparisons. The French transformed their Republic into an empire just as the Romans did in the past. Moreover, the French revolutionists tried to use art, architecture, and science in order to build a country with the new order. Napoleon was able to combine the ideas of Rousseau and Voltaire and was quite successful in France and he was overthrown only due to the failures in the international arena.
In conclusion, the article provides an interesting view of the French Revolution and shows that the events that occurred in France were caused by a large number of factors and not only the socio-economic events influenced the rise of tension in France. The philosophers who analyzed the events that took place in the British Empire influenced greatly the French leaders, intellectuals and the people. Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire had different views on the control of power. So one can observe how the French political system shifted at first to the constitutional monarchy, then to the republic, and finally to the absolute monarchy making the French Revolution a complex subject for research.
Cranston, Maurice. The French Revolution: Ideas and Ideologies. History Today. Volume 39,
Issue 5. 5 May 1989. Web. 03 February 2016