The Enlightenment is often associated with its political revolutions and ideals, especially the French Revolution of 1789. The energy created and expressed by the intellectual foment of Enlightenment thinkers contributes to the growing wave of social unrest in France in the eighteenth century. The social unrest comes to a head in the violent political upheaval which sweeps away the traditionally and hierarchically structured ancien régime (the monarchy, the privileges of the nobility, the political power of the Catholic Church). The French revolutionaries meant to establish in place of the ancien régime a new reason-based order instituting the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and equality.
…enlightenment with the process of undertaking to think for oneself, to employ and rely on one’s own intellectual capacities in determining what to believe and how to act.