21 November 1694 - 30 May 1778


Francois-Marie Arouet most known by his pen name, Voltaire. Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher. Voltaire published various types of work such as poems, plays, essays, novels, and scientific and historical works.
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The d'Arouet family was part of the elite class during the reign of Louis XIV. Young Voltaire was taught by his father to respect politics and was pressured into taking up a high political position like his father did. Voltaire received a first class education at College Louis-Le-Grand in Paris, France.

Early Years

Early on Voltaire strived to fulfill his father's wish of becoming a successful political figure. He was a law student, then a lawyer's apprentice, and then a secretary to a French diplomat. Voltaire tried very hard to make his father's wish true but each time he either quit, or lost interest.


When Voltaire left school he had decided that he wanted to be a writer. He pretended to work in Paris as a notary assistant. His father eventually found out and sent him to law school in Caen, Normandy. Voltaire did not stop writing however, he became very popular with aristocratic families. Voltaire had problems with the government and its religious intolerance which led to his imprisonment and exile multiple times. Voltaire had a large influence on the development of historiography by finding new ways to look at the past. His best known histories are The Age of Louis XIV and " Essay on the Customs and Spirit of the Nations." Voltaire was the first scholar to attempt to write the history of the world including the economics, culture, and political history.

Famous Quotes

"Common sense is not so common."


"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do."


"Judge a man by his questions whether than his answers."


"God is a comedian playing to an audience to afraid to laugh."


Many more at the link.


Works Cited

Shank, J.B. "Voltaire." (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.