The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Governance of People, Governance of Regimes College

The Age of Enlightenment brought a new era of political consciousness to Europe. No longer would the destiny of the Western world be limited to the clergy and their bewildered notions of Divine Command Theory – instead, rational intellectualism sought to reform political communities. New concepts of statehood and secular governance had arisen throughout the Enlightenment, as the epoch of theocratic empires was beginning to end, and modern political theories based on rational logic took the spotlight. A wide array of educated elites produced hundreds of dogmatic texts, letters, rebuttals, and hypotheses either in search for a more ideal society or in critique of political status quo. These new ideas were published and distributed on wide scales, influencing urban societies, mobilizing new movements and swaying public discourse over issues of rightful authority.

The French Revolution, in particular, represented an epicenter of ideological revolutions in history, as popular effort pursued drastic political change. In a short period, the French managed to overthrow their long-standing monarchy, deviate from their feudal society, and minimize the authority of religious bodies. But the revolution was not a bed of roses, as several...

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