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Enlightenment dean Voltaire

  The magnificent historical picture of the French Enlightenment in the 18th century is composed of dozens of thinkers such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau and many progressive intellectuals surrounding them. Their outstanding talent and unremitting fighting spirit combined into a spectacular revolutionary torrent in the history of modern European thought. Among these enlightened giants who were knowledgeable and brave, Voltaire was a recognized leader and teacher.
  Voltaire, whose real name is François Marie Arrouet, was born in a middle-class family in Paris. He is the fifth child in the family. Due to congenital deficiencies, he has been thin since he was a child, but he is intelligent and energetic. He is 3 years old. When he was able to recite La Fontaine’s fables, he entered the famous Saint-Louis Middle School at the age of 10. In this aristocratic school sponsored by the Society of Jesus, he read Latin and recited rhetoric, and also read a lot of books that promoted liberal ideas, but the strict feudal hierarchy made him discriminated against, which not only gave the juvenile a sense of oppression Ertai left the wounds on his mind and planted the seeds of his resistance to feudal privilege.
  In 1715, Louis XIV, the “Sun King” known for his brutality in French history, died amid complaints. His successor, Louis XV, just turned 5 years old. Although this young yellow-haired child was declared the successor, he did not understand the world. Difficult to manage the government, the royal family decided to be regent by his cousin, the Duke of Orleans. The prince regent has the sole power, his life is corrupt, and he sells his officials and vassal. The political darkness has reached the extreme, causing public grievances to boil. At that time, Voltaire, who was just 20 years old, was full of the dream of a poet and was preparing to show his talent in the literary world. He immediately wrote two poems satirizing the regent and his daughter, Duchess Beliskaya, and called on the enthusiasm of young people. The people stormed the feudal fortresses and smashed the shackles of slavery.
  Voltaire’s astonishing feat was regarded as a treason by the court and directly angered the regent. The rulers announced that they would be expelled from the capital Paris and exiled to Sully. But Voltaire did not succumb to this. Soon, he published a satirical poem entitled “Under the Rule of the Yellow-haired Child”, which slammed the licentious customs of the court and the licentiousness of the government. See and hear. An outraged regent issued an arrest warrant. One day in May 1717, Voltaire was thrown into the Bastille and became a prisoner.
  When he was in prison, Voltaire behaved quite like a general, and seemed to be indifferent to prison, thinking that it would make him more famous. He even felt that for a writer, going to prison was an excellent opportunity to be undisturbed and avoid all kinds of social activities. Therefore, he asked his family to send the ancients he called “the god of the house”. A collection of poems by the poets Homer and Virgil, determined to write the long-awaited epic “Henriart” in prison, but was later discovered by the jailer and confiscated his pen, ink and paper. Fortunately, Voltaire kept a pencil, he wrote quickly, and completed his first tragedy “Oedipus the King”. He was confident that it was a play with profound meaning, so he chose a few main letters among the names of “François Marie Arrouet” and spliced ​​it into “Voltaire”. pen name.
  After 11 months of life behind bars, Voltaire was released from prison in the spring of 1718. Soon, the tragedy “Oedipus the King” he completed in prison was put on the stage of the French theater, which caused a strong response in the audience after its performance. The voices for and against made the streets of Paris uproar, and “Voltaire” became almost a well-known name. The huge effect caused by the sensation even made the Duke of Orleans, who had ordered Voltaire to be imprisoned, come out to join in and pay him an annual salary.
  Voltaire was overwhelmed by the rush of honors, and he was glad that he was appreciated by the court. Admiration for vanity made him obsessed with clinging to the powerful. In order to express his gratitude to the Prince Regent, Voltaire wrote a poem “Bastille” to praise the Duke of Orleans. Instead of expressing any resentment, he thought that the exile and imprisonment were just a misunderstanding. The regent was very satisfied after reading this little poem and decided to summon him. Voltaire was overjoyed, saying that he was “smooth as an eel, agile as a lizard, and diligent as a squirrel”, thinking that his wish to be a writer had finally come true, and that a new life was about to begin, and he was determined not to write tragedies instead. Transcribe comedy. Soon Voltaire won the favor of the prime minister, the Duke and Duchess of Bourbon, with the comedy “Dareng”, and was invited to attend the wedding of King Louis XV. Voltaire was even more flattered, and planned to write a play for the queen in the future to repay the kindness of the encounter. At this time, Voltaire, who was far from prison and the suffering of persecution, bowed down in front of power, money and honor, and became a smuggler who was chasing after the fire. the little man.
  Just when Voltaire was smug, happy and forgetting his worries, a bad luck came again.
  One day in early 1726, Voltaire was chatting at the house of his mistress, the actress Adrienne of the French Theater, when suddenly an ugly guy broke into him. He was furious and aggressively insulted Voltaire. Voltaire, who did not want to be ashamed in front of a woman, fought each other with fists and feet, and the two fought hard for a while. Adriana, a famous star of the French theatre and a romantic figure in the Parisian social scene, fainted on the spot because of the shock. Seeing that the situation was not good, the knight named Loon put away his cane and left angrily. Lon never succeeded, and he made another plan, deliberately taking revenge on Voltaire. Three days later, Voltaire visited the Duke of Sully as a guest. The servant told him that there was a messenger outside the door, and Voltaire bowed to apologize. Then he came to the door and saw two cars parked at the street corner. Voltaire didn’t know that he was cheating. He was knocked down with a blow to the head, and then several thugs rushed forward and beat him severely. Luo An, who was sitting in the second car, showed a smug smile, and then greeted the thugs and walked away together. The spectators surrounded the bruised Voltaire and laughed happily. When the embarrassed Voltaire returned to the master’s house and told Duke Shuli the details of the attack just now, all the guests present were shocked. The incident happened at the door of Duke Sully’s house, and it was Voltaire who was beaten, and the Duke’s family would naturally be ashamed. But after all, this was a scandal caused by jealousy in the love scene, so the Duke refused to accompany Voltaire to the police station to file a complaint.
  Voltaire was wronged, but no one was willing to help him appeal and fight for justice. Although he was eloquent, he was protected by high-ranking officials and officials and did not regard him as his own. Voltaire had no way to sue, so he had to bribe a group of hooligans to get revenge on Loon. Unexpectedly, Lon falsely accused Voltaire through the dredging of upper-level figures, and actually received the protection of the king. On the night of April 17, 1726, Voltaire was indicted by the court for assembling a crowd and was thrown into the Bastille again. Although the regent soon ordered Voltaire to be released, he ordered his expulsion on the condition that he would no longer provoke Loen. With no other choice, Voltaire left Paris by boat for England with a grudge against high society.
  Voltaire was imprisoned twice, especially the second time he was imprisoned, so that he finally came to his senses. He began to recognize the ugly face of the autocratic regime that officials protect each other and bully the weak, and also understood the shameful and ridiculous attempt to rely on the powerful. He finally realized that this entanglement, on the surface, was a love battle, but in fact it was the inevitable result of his long-term conflict with the French autocracy. This realization contributed to another major turning point in Voltaire’s life and laid the foundation for the formation of his later Enlightenment worldview.
  In August 1726, Voltaire, who was expelled and humiliated by the French rulers, came to England and was warmly welcomed by people from all walks of life in London. Some political leaders, famous scientists and writers were willing to get acquainted with him. The courtesy he received in a foreign country was in stark contrast to the unfair treatment he received in his own country, which gave Voltaire a better understanding of the reactionary nature of French feudal autocracy, and a more vigorous appreciation for the bourgeois constitutional monarchy. Vibrant Britain greatly appreciated. What excites him in particular is that he can enjoy certain political and religious freedoms in London, that he can go toe-to-toe with celebrities and dignitaries, or debate them; Instead of having to be on guard at all times as in Paris.
  The three years of living in England broadened Voltaire’s horizons. He inspected the political system in England and studied Locke’s materialist empiricism; he studied Newton’s scientific achievements and formed political and materialist views against feudal absolutism. It further strengthened the position of anti-Catholic theology and religious fanaticism, advocating freedom of belief, and advocating religious tolerance. “Philosophical Letters” (formerly known as “British Letters”) is a summary of his perceptions and experiences in England. This work established Voltaire’s revolutionary consciousness against the feudal order and contributed to his maturity in philosophy, religion and political thought. Later, when he was passionately writing a Dictionary of Philosophy for the Encyclopedia. He further systematized and theorized the ideas in it in conceptual form.
  On the one hand, Voltaire fought uncompromisingly against the French autocratic government, and on the other hand, he had illusions about several autocratic monarchs in Europe at that time, hoping to attract and impress them with his own theories and prestige, and promote them to implement enlightened politics. Make social improvements. Not only did he expect the Prussian monarch Frederick II to carry out reforms, but he also went to Germany several times to be the senior attendant of this militant, brutish and savage king. He also placed hope on the more tyrannical and cruel Russian empress Catherine II. In order to persuade the hypocritical empress to accept the new revolutionary ideas, Voltaire even offered to flatter the empress, making the empress easily use Voltaire’s name Come to decorate the dark reign of an autocratic dynasty.

  Efforts to carry out reforms hit a wall everywhere, and finally Voltaire, a pure-hearted and kind-hearted giant of enlightenment, gradually awakened. With the deepening of the Enlightenment, his thinking continued to progress, and the persecution he suffered became more and more serious, but his fighting spirit also became stronger.
  Voltaire purchased a piece of land on the French-Swiss border as a safe haven to escape the “vicious dogs” of the Catholic Church and the autocratic regime.
  On this piece of land that belongs to him, Voltaire, who is over sixty years old, cultivates the fields, grows mulberries and raises silkworms, and also runs factories, reeling silk and knitting socks, and generously helping farmers who have no food or clothing due to poor harvests… In addition, he continued to work diligently, not only wrote several philosophical dramas such as “Olympia” and historical works such as “Parliament History”, but also completed his most representative philosophical novels “The Honest Man”, “The Innocent Man” and so on. This idyllic pastoral life seemed to prove that Voltaire was trying his best to distance himself from the raging real struggle and live a secluded life in peace.
  However, as a revolutionary fighter, Voltaire never forgot the great mission given him by history, and he has always been paying close attention to the world outside “Taoyuan”. During this period, religious factional struggles continued to occur in France, resulting in a large number of fugitives. Voltaire took in hundreds of refugees in his estate. He stood up to do justice for the poor, and confronted the forces of feudal Catholicism time and time again.
  In 1761, the famous French actress Lou Gufrou died, and the Paris church did not allow her to be buried, but ordered her body to be thrown on the garbage heap. After Voltaire learned about it, he worked hard all night and wrote a poem entitled “Long and Short Sentences of Miss Gufreux in the Diaolou Tower” to show his protest against the Catholic Church. The poem reads: “If an actress as good as Lou Gufreux was in ancient Greece, people would build an altar for her; but in France today, people would not bury her!” A terrible tragedy occurred at a home in the Rue Filatier in Toulouse: Marc-Antoine, the eldest son of the Protestant Jean Carra, hanged himself in the shop late at night. In the panic, the mother’s crying voice alarmed the neighbors and attracted many onlookers. Suddenly someone in the crowd said, “Mark Anthony was killed by his parents because he chose Catholicism.”
  A Toulouse judge came to hear the news, without investigating or interrogating, and without even taking a look at the scene, he arrested all the people who were at home on the night of the “murder” incident.
  Why did Mark Anthony commit suicide? It turned out that the 28-year-old had studied law and wanted to be a lawyer, but when he was ready to practice, he found that he was not qualified to work in this profession. So he concealed his Protestant status and managed to get a certificate of Catholicism, but it was finally revealed that he was faced with two choices: either give up Protestantism or let the years of hard study go to waste. Indulging in anguish, Mark finally hangs himself between the store’s two doorposts. At the time, the only mistake the father made was that he demanded and persuaded his family to declare that his son died of natural causes. Because according to the law at the time: the bodies of suicides must be dragged through the streets naked, stoned and muddy thrown by the masses, and their property confiscated by the state. The next day, all members of the Kara family were interrogated, but they all overturned their previous confessions, saying that Mark committed suicide. The police chief did not believe their words, and charged them with crimes before many of the people and the Toulouse Assembly, saying that they had murdered Anthony in order to prevent him from converting to Catholicism. Many false testimonies were given by those whose hearts had been closed by the madness of vengeance. While the trial was being carried out by several Toulouse court judges, a barber testified that he heard an exclamation from Kara’s house that night: “Oh, God, they’re going to strangle me.” Other People also claim to hear this cry. After the city court’s decision was appealed to the Toulouse Parliament, the trial dragged on for three months, and only the father was found guilty.
  How can an old man with gray hair hang a young and strong man? The crime of “murder” is obviously difficult to establish. Prosecutor Diku was righteous, but was suspended for 3 months when he appeared in court to defend the old Kara. Lawyer Suder wanted to clarify the truth, but was rejected by the judge. The presiding judge abused his power and forced Kara to confess his complicity. Carla resigned sternly and categorically said: “Since there is no crime, why is there an accomplice?” On March 10, 1762, the court disregarded all evidence of innocence and rudely sentenced Carla to the sentence of splitting the car. Innocent Kara was killed, and his children were imprisoned in the monastery.
  Shortly after the incident, Voltaire, who had heard various rumors, was enraged by this inhumane crime of the church, and he came forward to defend Carla, who was innocently murdered. He investigated and collected evidence calmly through various channels, and summoned the two sons of Carla, who had been exiled to Geneva, to Fernay and published their confessions in a pamphlet; in order to attract the attention of the public, he also Mrs. Carla arrives in Paris and provides her with everything for free. At the same time, he also hired a lawyer and asked other writers to awaken the conscience of Europe with their pen. On the one hand, he raised funds to meet the expenses of the campaign, on the other hand, he insisted that the Toulouse Parliament and the French Supreme Court publish the inquest materials and reopen the case.
  Within a few months, Voltaire and the progressives inspired by Voltaire published a large number of articles and talks around the Carla incident, setting off a huge wave of protests, awakening the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, and hitting the church and the church hard. The reactionary arrogance of the autocratic government finally forced the Supreme Court to announce the revocation of the original sentence, and the injustice of Jean Carra was finally cleared. The Carla affair ended with a victory for Voltaire and his comrades.
  Voltaire seized the crimes of the church and ruthlessly exposed and attacked them, which played a huge enlightening role, and his influence penetrated into every corner of French society. There is an anecdote that illustrates this well: after Voltaire returned to Paris in his later years, when his carriage was surrounded by a group of people, a passer-by asked: “Who is he?” An old lady replied: “Carla The benefactor!” This shows how deeply Voltaire’s struggle educated the people.
  Another persecution case also brought Voltaire to the fore. The 19-year-old Protestant de la Barre, accused of desecrating a wooden statue of Christ on a bridge with his friend, was sentenced to burn at the stake, a sentence approved by King Louis XV. The rebels tortured Barr frantically, cutting off his tongue and cutting off his right hand before burning it in the square. The death of Barr also made Voltaire extremely shocked and angry. In particular, the church found a copy of Voltaire’s “Philosophical Dictionary” on Barr, which was also used as one of the evidences. Voltaire was even more indignant, and he shouted Defend this young man and write articles denouncing the barbarity and brutality of religious persecution. He wrote with grief and indignation: The nation has allowed such atrocities, and I cry for the child whose tongue has been cut off! He said to the “cannibals” in disgust: “I just don’t want to breathe the same air as you!”
  Apart from Carla and Barr, Voltaire also initiated and led the struggle to avenge the other two victims, Sylvain and Montbarry, which also caused huge social repercussions, shook the church’s rule, and deeply educated the masses. This series of struggles made Voltaire’s name a household name in France. When Voltaire’s ashes were reburied in 1791, in the inscription on his hearse, it was specifically mentioned: “He washed the shame of Carla, La Barre, Sylvain and Montbarry”, which made people never forget it.
  During his settlement in Fernay, Voltaire maintained frequent correspondence with people from all walks of life in various European countries. He used this method to discuss various social issues with his correspondents and to promote the enlightenment thought of anti-feudalism and anti-church. Voltaire’s unremitting struggle earned him a great reputation, his name resounded across Europe, and many celebrities came to Philnay to see him. Fairnay became the center of progressive public opinion in Europe at that time, and the progressive socialists at that time respected Voltaire as “Master Fairnay”.
  Voltaire in his later years was full of desire for revolution. He said: “Everything I see is spreading the seeds of revolution. Revolution will inevitably happen.” Sure enough, 10 years after his death, France finally broke out in a bourgeois revolution that shook the whole of Europe. Although Voltaire regretted that he could not see it with his own eyes, his thoughts played a great role in enlightening the minds of the people and inspiring their yearning for liberty rights. In 1791, when Voltaire’s remains were transported back to Paris, several striking letters were written on his hearse: “He taught us to be free.” It should be said that this is the greatest consolation for Voltaire under the Nine Springs.

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