An acerbic social critic, Voltaire condemned injustice, clerical abuses, prejudice, and fanaticism.
The incident left an indelible impression on Voltaire, and from that day onward he became an advocate for judicial reform.
Voltaire distrusted democracy, which he saw as propagating the "idiocy of the masses".
Voltaire has cast a shadow over much of Europe to the present day in the marginalizing of Christianity and secularism of European society.
Voltaire’s philosophical ideas and ethical and social criticism tended not to be original, but he generally displayed a keen common sense.
Voltaire himself was safe in the independent duchy of Lorraine where he had begun what was to be a long relationship with Йmilie du Chвtelet.
Today, Candide is recognized as Voltaire's magnum opus and included as part of the Western canon.
The philosophes, including Voltaire, Montesquieu, d’Alembert and Diderot, were not philosophers in the technical sense of the word, neither were they academically trained scholars operating in the official institutions of their time.
Candide is the most widely read of Voltaire's many works and his only work which has remained popular up to the present day.
When he graduated and returned home at the age of 17, Voltaire planned to start a career in writing, but his father opposed it.
Both in content and in style, Voltaire’s philosophical attitudes were influenced by John Locke and England’s skeptical empiricism.
Finally, Voltaire was typical of the Enlightenment in France in that he not only showed an anti-religious bias, but also displayed a strong tendency towards libertinism and hedonism.
Voltaire emphasized reason, despised democracy as the rule of the mob, and believed that an enlightened monarchy, informed by the counsels of the wise, was best suited to govern.
In 1746 Voltaire, who had been for years acknowledged the first writer in France, was at last elected to the Acadйmie Franзaise.
Above each kidney is an adrenal gland (also called the suprarenal gland).
At Ferney, he became a complete country gentleman, and was henceforward known to all Europe as Monsieur de Voltaire, the patriarch of Ferney.
On these two points, disciples of the Enlightenment in Germany (Immanuel Kant) and in America (Thomas Jefferson) parted ways with Voltaire and his fellow philosophes.
To Voltaire only an enlightened monarch, advised by philosophers like himself, could bring about change as it was in the king's rational interest to improve the power and wealth of France in the world.
Throughout his life, Voltaire fought for religious liberty.
Voltaire's mother died when he was seven years old.
Voltaire believed in progress and in the virtues of civilization, contrary to Rousseau’s belief that civilization corrupts man.
Voltaire's works, and especially his private letters, constantly contain the word l'infвme and the expression йcrasez l'infвme (crush the infamy).
Voltaire’s lasting friendship with a few individuals also appears through his informal exchange with them, much of which is filled with spicy remarks.
Franзois Marie Arouet, known as Voltaire, was born in Paris as the last child of a wealth notary, Franзois Arouet, and Marie-Marguerite Daumart or D'Aumard.
Such was the project of the Encyclopйdie, to which Voltaire contributed numerous articles.
Voltaire is well known for his defense of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and the right to a fair trial.
Much of Voltaire’s production expresses the pure enjoyment of the intellectual play with words.
The two men would soon come to hate each other intensely and publicly, Voltaire using his reputation to destroy that of his opponent.
In 1749, Madame du Chвtelet died while giving birth to a child that was not Voltaire’s.
Voltaire returned to Paris around the time of the death of Louis XIV.
Voltaire also greatly admired English religious tolerance and freedom of speech, and saw these as necessary prerequisites for social and political progress.
Voltaire returned to a hero's welcome in Paris at age 83 in time to see his last play, Irene, produced.
Voltaire was a philosopher in the sense of the French eighteenth-century philosophes, free thinkers in an age where freedom of thought was emerging sufficiently to stimulate challenges to the established order.
A combination of both brought success (including a medal from the Pope) as well as trouble, since Voltaire was unable to lastingly control his taste for witty criticism.
In 1751, Voltaire accepted Frederick of Prussia's invitations and moved to Berlin where he stayed at the king’s court until 1753.
Calvinist Geneva’s prohibitions of theatrical performances finally caused Voltaire to abandon the city for nearby Ferney (now called Ferney-Voltaire).
Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers, most conspicuously Leibniz and his optimism.
Voltaire’s vast correspondence is constantly being augmented by fresh discoveries, much of it remaining unpublished.
In 1735, Voltaire was allowed to return to Paris, which at first he only did occasionally.
In works such as Candide, L'Homme aux quarante йcus, Zadig and others that puncture received forms of moral and metaphysical orthodoxy, the peculiar quality of Voltaire—ironic style without exaggeration—appears.
Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form, authoring plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical, philosophical and scientific works, pamphlets, and over 20,000 letters.
Voltaire’s viewpoint is best summarized in the article entitled “theist” of his Philosophical Dictionary ("theist" stands for "deist" in Voltaire’s terminology).
There he completed his first play, Oedipe, which was also to be his first success, he began the Henriade and decided to change his name to Voltaire.
Voltaire's emphasis on reason and justice, his icy wit, and his formidable gifts as a satirist and polemicist influenced such Enlightenment figures as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
Voltaire's tales are unquestionably the most remarkable fruit of his genius.
The theist, Voltaire states, is deeply convinced of the existence of a supreme being “as good as He is powerful,” just without cruelty and kind in his rewards.
Voltaire was a man of ideas, not a lover of systems, be it for others or for himself.
Voltaire envisioned a secular, tolerant society and emphasized progress through scientific advances and social and political reform, and through transcending the confines of religious dogma and superstition.
Voltaire is known to have recommended that religion be maintained for the people as a deterrent and an encouragement toward the good life.
Voltaire’s position towards religion per se oscillated between prudent approval and violent opposition, complete with incisive verbal abuse.
Not surprisingly for a man renowned for his bons mots, a great number of quotes circulate that are attributed to Voltaire.
Voltaire is quoted as saying that he “would rather obey one lion, than two hundred rats of species.” Voltaire essentially believed monarchy to be the key to progress and change.