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French Revolution Essay

1610 words - 7 pages

The French revolution was not only a crucial event considered in the context of western society, but was also the single most crucial influence on British intellectual, philosophical, and political life in the nineteenth century. In its early stages it portrayed itself as a triumph of the forces of reason over those of superstition and privilege. In this period of time, Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine had disagreements in terms of revolution, equality between man, and system of government. Firstly, Edmund Burke is a parliamentarian and political writer embraced a great many concerns who was often seen as laying the foundation of modern conservatism. When the French Revolution was happening in ...view middle of the document...

1). The inheritance from forefather should be taken care, and letting the tradition was influenced by foreign was the threshold of disintegration and disrespect of the authority previous ages (Burke, Reflection Ex. 1).The image of French society in eighteenth century was divided by Aristocracy class, middle class or bourgeoisie, and lower class (Rude 1998 : 1). Aristocracy class was enjoying their highest position, which had an absolute theory, hereditary and access to the parliaments that were able to intervene in political authority by refusing government's policy in the country. Middle class were increasing prosperity and had rights of monopoly, local justice and surveillance, they enjoyed the greater financial privileges, but it was still monitored by king's authorities (Rude 1998 : 2). However, the lower class suffered from poverty which was caused by overtaxed and oppression from the upper class, and it was great problems which was very vexatious and intolerable (Rude 1998 : 2). It showed that French system of government was still absolute system.Paine (2006 : 7) stated that "man did not enter into society to become worse that he was before". By looking at this situation, Paine gave his opinion that society should not be divided specifically between rich and poor or between capital and labor (Foner 1984 : 19). If the society was divided by classes, the rich would become richer and the poor would become poorer, and it would lead to greater gap in the society. Moreover, the greater gap in society may cause increasing a number of criminal and lack freedom of rights. Discriminating among people in French showed that there was no freedom of rights, because every action was determined by the authority of the upper class. In other words, the lower class had a limitation in their life. It can be argued that in these circumstances, people have no self determination. Therefore, for Paine, alteration in previous tradition which was by giving the opportunity for the new system was the key to bring a better condition in French.The further reason is that Paine implied that every individual had the equal rights, while Burke denied equality in man. Firstly, Burke admitted that every individual had natural rights, but denied the equality of right in man in terms of power, authority and power (Burke, Reflection Ex. 7). For instance, he illustrated that government is not made naturally, instead made according to knowledge of understanding of human nature, needs, and consequences of decisions (Burke, Reflection Ex. 9). By explaining his point of view of government, it can be concluded that every individual has different dimensions of intelligence. As a result, Burke stated (Sysak in Burke & Paine Extracts. 10) that because not all individuals act rationally, and they should not have equal rights in decision making to be a member of government.On the other hand, Paine claimed (Paine, Rights Ex. 5) that "every individual is born equal in rights with his...

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