The Life of Voltaire: A Man of Reason

Voltaire was born in 1694 into a wealthy family. Voltaire’s parents had wanted him to become a lawyer but instead he followed a path of becoming a writer. This embarrassed his parents and angered them and they soon lost all contact with him. His writing of poems angered the French monarchy and government so they imprisoned him in the Bastille. This would only be the start of Voltaire’s life filled with conflict.

After being imprisoned shortly after his first term in jail, Voltaire moved to England. There he came under the tutelage of Newton and John Locke who is famous today for his Treatsie on Government. These two men greatly shaped the mind of Voltaire. Voltaire preached the ideas of reason and denounced the clergy and their god given right to rule.

One of his writings that Voltaire is most proud of is the Encyclopedia that he helped write articles. The work was edited by Diderot and Jean d’Alembert. Voltaire’s belief in using reason instead of faith went against the church and he got into a lot of trouble because of that. Voltaire also talked in his writings about being able to have the freedom of expression to say anthing or write anything in public. This came from his imprisonment due to his poetry.

One of Voltaire’s books that he wrote was entitled Philosophical Dictionary in which he talked about the views of the church and how silly some of them were. One of Voltaire’s most respected ideas especially in England was his love of the British Constitution. He admired the constitution and the British government of a ruling monarchy with a set of laws to abide by.

Voltaire was very influential in bringing the concepts of reason to the minds of many Europeans and paved the way for reform in many government by getting people to use reason instead of faith.

Voltaire died in 1778 at the age of 84.

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