Edmund Burke French Revolution Summary

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Edmund Burke’s Reflection on the Revolution in France served to express his opposition to the French Revolution. Since its creation in 1790, his work has been an essential influence on conservatism. To summarize briefly, Burke argues against the Enlightenment thinkers and their rationality, while at the same time supporting classical conservatism values such as tradition and the church. His arguments will be examined and analyzed in this paper while his goals are outlined. To break down Burke’s thought processes, we must first understand his views on human nature and why they contrasted to that of Enlightenment thinkers. Enlightenment philosophy was led by a view that promoted how people are equal, interchangeable units of production and…show more content…
He states that government should act only when it must, never just because it can. He felt strongly that individuals should transfer rights to government reluctantly, and government should assume jurisdiction only when there was conflict between individuals. This took me by surprise because of its contradiction to his previous statement about human nature. If humans were as savage as he described, how much power could a government have to contain these humans? For one, I recall that Burke was a supporter of the church, which could mean dedicating some governmental power to the church. Burke was not against reform, in fact he himself had been interested in the reform of certain aspects of English political life. However, he feared that once you remove the traditional system of deference and dramatically alter the role of such institutions as the monarchy and the church, force would eventually rule. This would explain his negative views toward human nature while addressing government at the same time. In addition, Burke believed that those who supported the revolution in France not only destroyed and shocked the moral sentiments of the people, but disapproved of any system that disagreed with their own thinking. In this regard Burke is correct. The fall into chaos shortly after overthrowing the king was quick and the following years alternated between that of mob rule and dictatorial

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