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VOLTAIRE vs ROUSSEAU OPINIONS ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION The French revolutionary cry for Liberty Equality Fraternity reverberates throughout the ghostly meeting hall where Voltaire and Rousseau sit down to discuss issues such as the rights of man and the role of government They argue violently on some topics such as the definition of free will and general will while concurring on ideas such as the importance of reasoning and logic in society The discussion divides the period into three main sections the initial revolts and uprising of the middle class the radical time of Robespierre and the Republic of Virtue and the rise and fall of Napoleon in France In his opening remarks Voltaire notes that the concept of general will is lost to the majority of the population and therefore allows those in power to abuse it and remain unchecked He states that the system of government that was found by the end of 1810 was not successful in fulfilling the goals that the revolution strived for Rather than give citizens rights and freedoms the state of the nation was quite similar to that with which it started From the divine ruler Louis XIV to Napoleon French citizens were still under an absolute ruler At that moment Rousseau interrupts by saying that the general will while representing the people must be controlled by the state in order to ensure that the needs of all the people are met Deciding to take turns speaking to allow for a proper debate Voltaire begins Voltaire strived to find good men in a good society and thought that there was a strong relation between a government and the welfare of its people He attacked those who used prejudice superstition intolerance and injustice and looked for leaders who would rule by reason and justice instead In his opinion a leader must give the individual man his rights while at
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