Chapter : 4. Print Culture and The Modern World

Print Culture and the French Revolution

(b) Print Culture and the French Revolution :
Many historians argued that the print culture created the conditions which brought about the French Revolution in 1789.
(i) The print culture laid emphasis on the rule of reason rather than custom, demanded that everything should be judged through the application of reason and rationality, attacked the sacred authority of the church and despotic power of the state. Those who read these, saw the world through new eyes, eyes that were questioning, critical and rational.
(ii) Secondly, the print culture created an atmosphere of dialogue and debate. As such, all existing ideas and beliefs began to be questioned by the public. Such a thing created the ground for social revolution.
(iii) Thirdly, by the 1780s, there was outpouring of literature that mocked the royalty and criticized the monarchy. This process led to the growth of hostile sentiments against the ruler.
No doubt, print helps the spread of ideas, but people did not read just one kind of literature, they were also exposed to monarchical and Church propaganda. They were not influenced directly by everything they read of saw. They accepted some ideas and rejected others.

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