With historical hindsight we tend to look back on the late 18th century revolutions and see a certain inevitability about them. The truth however is far different, for the revolutions (and certainly their outcomes) were anything BUT inevitable. The Old Regime had "served" for well over a millennium bringing Europe through some of its darkest, most chaotic times. From plagues, to famines, to serf rebellions the Aristocracy managed to maintain its grip on power. Even the invention of the printing press which so radically transformed Christianity in the Renaissance was unable to undermine Europe's ruling elite. The Enlightenment was another story...
The combination of Enlightenment thought along with the new Bourgeois paradigm proved a powerful force which demanded first transformation, and then outright destruction of the Old Regime. The cool philosophical rhetoric of the Enlightenment ignites into a revolutionary passion unleashing forces which would not easily be controlled.
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