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Voltaire

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François-Marie d’Arouet , better known as his pen name Voltaire , was a writer and public activist of French origin who played an important role in defining the movement of the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century . At the center of his work was a new conception of philosophy and the philosopher that influenced the modern concept of each of the concepts. He wrote plays , short stories , poems, and philosophical treatises, and directed many of his critical writings against the philosophical claims of renowned philosophers such as Leibniz and Descartes.

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Personal information:

  • When was he born: 11/21/1694
  • Where he was born: Paris, France
  • When he died: 05/30/1778
  • Where he died: Paris, France

Who was Voltaire?

Voltaire was one of the most important thinkers that existed during the Enlightenment period, who with his works and thoughts served as a source of inspiration to create one of the most important movements in history, the French Revolution .

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  • Biography of Voltaire
  • Voltaire’s thought
  • Contributions
  • Importance
  • Voltaire’s works
  • Voltaire quotes
  • Curiosities

Biography of Voltaire

Voltaire was born on November 21, 1694 in Paris . His family was quite wealthy, his father was a civil servant and his wife was a recognized aristocratic , a family that was representative of the elite society in France during the reign of Louis XIV . From the Jesuits at the prestigious Collège Louis-le-Grand in Paris he obtained a first-class education. He also learned to know modern letters from his father, who was actively involved in the literary culture of the time in Paris and at the royal court of Versailles.

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From his youth, he aspired to imitate his idols Molière , Racine, and Corneille and become a playwright, but Voltaire’s father was adamantly opposed to this idea, hoping that his son would occupy a position of public authority . He worked first as a law student , then as a lawyer apprentice and finally worked as a secretary to a French diplomat to fulfill his father’s wishes, but nevertheless he always left the posts.

Between the years 1704 and 1711 he wrote several writings against the Duke of Orleans that caused him to be imprisoned. After being released, he was exiled to Chátenay – Malaby where he began using his pseudonym . In 1726 he returned to prison for a fight with the nobleman De Rohan and after leaving, he went into exile in Great Britain , where he lived a fruitful life. He continued to write his works always with the rejection of many including the French government who kidnapped one of his works and publicly burned it.

Faced with the situation, he escaped and found refuge in the castle of Émilie du Châtelet in Cirey and thanks to this, he was able to live a life according to his tastes. After the death of the Marchioness, he made the passes with the court of Louis XV who in the end appointed him as royal histologist . He was also appointed as an academic and Knight of the Royal Chamber by King Frederick II of Prussia. Before his death, he was venerated in Paris for his work Irene and died on May 30, 1764.

Voltaire’s thought

Voltaire always thought that religion was a mixture of fanaticism and superstition , he dedicated himself to criticizing the clergy and lashing out at the church , however, he never stopped being a deist . He viewed the absolute monarchy with good eyes and ideas but also believed that it should respect civil liberties . He also defended private property but at the same time criticized the power of the monarchy and the Catholic Church.

His thinking was focused on defending freedom and many of them even remain in force today. As for his political thought , he focused on the absolutist monarchical regime , on the division of powers , the social contract and the theories that revolutionized many places in the world. His way of thinking was also against intolerance and fanaticism and mainly defended free thoughts . He also thought that fanaticism and superstition were two of the great evils that existed in humanity.

He also enjoyed defending freedom but not as something absolute and he defended the existence of a peaceful coexistence that can even be applied today where he thought that the radicalization of ideological positions were in themselves a real and dangerous threat against civilization. I had a completely rebellious thought then. At the end of his days, he ended up returning to the bosom of the Catholic Church, the religion that he had criticized so much throughout his life.

Contributions

Voltaire made many contributions, among the most recognized are the following:

  • His writings on religion defended the practical work of religions, his contributions helped to defend the religious system related to rewards and punishments , always seeing them from a practical point of view.
  • In the political and social field he had a great impact thanks to his liberal vision and they made him one of the most important thinkers that existed during the French Enlightenment .
  • He showed poetry as a type of art manifestation whose main objective was the production of beauty . His writings in prose , novels, satires, and theater also made him famous for the clarity of his prose.
  • He wrote several books related to Newton and philosophy .

Importance

Voltaire managed to position himself as one of the main exponents of the Philosophy of Enlightenment and was also without a doubt one of the most important precursors of the French Revolution . Thanks to his thinking and his criticism against the clergy and absolutism, he became one of the minds that laid the foundations for the Bourgeois Revolution in France.

Voltaire’s works

There were many works written by Voltaire and among his main works the following are mentioned:

  • Treatise on tolerance
  • Fanaticism or Muhammad the Prophet
  • The century of Louis XIV
  • Pocket Philosophical Dictionary
  • Candid or optimism
  • Micromegas
  • Zadig and other tales

Voltaire quotes

Some examples of his most recognized phrases are the following:

  • Think for yourself and allow others to have the privilege of being able to do so as well.
  • The world I am ashamed, and I can not dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
  • The perfection can be achieved gradually; it needs the hand of time.
  • There are truths that are not for all individuals, nor for all times.
  • The happiest of all lives is busy loneliness .
  • The comfort of the wealthy depends on a considerable supply from the poor.
  • On very rare occasions we are proud when we are alone.
  • You can’t always force it ; but you can always speak in a pleasant way .
  • Four thousand volumes of metaphysics do not teach what the soul is .

Curiosities

Voltaire was considered one of the most important rentiers in all of France and when he died he was a millionaire . He made a statement that annoyed many saying that the Bible would disappear in a short period of time and then only remain in museums . It was thanks to a miscalculation of General Pelletier-esforts that allowed him to lay down his fortune, an announcement had been made for the lottery With the aim of canceling the municipal debts, Voltaire thought that if he bought all the lottery tickets he could win a million and that is how he made an association where he distributed the goods and invested it in various businesses.

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