Essay #2: Burke & Paine - Two Views on the French Revolution
The French Revolution became a pivotal moment in the history of governmental rule in the late eighteenth century. Two very educated men, Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine, gave their arguments on whether or not a revolution was necessary or acceptable due to the violation of rights. Burke, who believed in hereditary succession and traditional ways, opposed Paine who wanted citizens to have liberty under a just government. Together they justify their reasons on what they truly believed was the best interest of French citizens and pinpoint their arguments against one another for what they firmly believed would work. Edmund Burke, a British statesman, wrote a response to a question asking whether or not Burke thought the new government would prosper whereas the old one had failed. This book became known as Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke was an advocate of peace, order and reason. Although he became a great supporter of the American cause against Great Britain, he also became one of the leading public figures to condemn the French Revolution.1 The message that he mainly tried to convey within his text was to persuade the French to adhere to gradual reform rather than to their rebellious actions. He emphasized that political doctrines based on abstract ideas such as the rights of man and liberty could be easily used to justify tyranny.2 He felt compelled to preserve the traditional ways of doing things particularly the continuation of the hereditary crown. Burke believed that instead of France trying to destroy their old state they should have followed Britain’s model and built their foundations on what their predecessors had left them.3 Britain thrived through their hereditary crown that had been preserved for centuries and believed that their undisturbed succession to the crown was a pledge to the stability of their nation. England looked upon legal hereditary succession of the...
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