Essay about Burke's Reflections

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Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France was written in 1790 at a time where conservatism was gaining support. Burke was a native Irishman and had strong support for Catholicism. His opinions were probably influenced against a revolution that went against God because Catholicism was very prevalent in Ireland. The French Revolution was occurring at this time, completely reversing the social order in France. The Church was losing power and Enlightenment was occurring in France. The Jacobins were gaining power in the Revolution and Burke was against them. He opposed enlightenment thinkers and their positive view on humanity. He was more of a pessimist, no doubt inspired by the Church and the medieval ages. He is against those like Hobbes who believe that humans and government can be understood through deductive reasoning. He also goes against what Locke says about overthrowing an oppressive government. The Old Regime was destroyed at this time. The Terror was occurring at this time as well. People were being be-headed by the guillotine; twenty-five per day in the summer. The fall of the Bastille probably pushed Burke to further his resentment of the revolution. Another fellow conservatist was De Maistre, who had similar ideas with Burke, condemning the enlightenment because it spawned the French Revolution. Robespierre helped foster the Terror and tried to instill fear in those who opposed the new regime. Things were growing out of hand in France, too many people were dying and as a result people began opposing this. A paper constitution was in the making, and many conservatists opposed this. There was no true government at this time. He also built upon Hegel’s ideas of the dialectic. He starts off by saying the Revolutionaries show no respect to the virtue and wisdom of their ancestors. The revolutionaries think they can start anew, but that is impossible because they too have been molded into a civil society. They would have been regarded in a positive light by other countries and would have had a disciplined army, free constitution and spirited nobility. He says they have caused nothing but anarchy in France and also says they extended the corruptness that previously only lied with the rich and powerful to all ranks of Frenchmen. He calls the revolutionaries corrupt. People cannot, in one lifetime gain the experience necessary to create a good government. It takes many decades to be perfected and builds upon itself. It cannot be recreated in one year. Just like the dialectic, government builds upon itself throughout time. Older actions set precedence for newer ones, and with a removal of older actions, we have no direction to go in. Society is complex, and a simple overthrowing of a tyrant cannot do anything positive. France has become a great deal worse because of…