Rethinks the relationship between the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, taking as its starting point the recent interpretations proposed by Jonathan Israel. Partially refuting Israel’s thesis, the aim of the article is to highlight the differences between the political languages of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Firstly, it shows that it is impossible to draw a linear genealogy from radical Enlightenment to Girondinism and from Rousseau to Jacobinism; secondly, it emphasizes that one of the main novelties of the Enlightenment lay in the idea of violence as one of the foundations of modern political discourse. But if the philosophes acknowledged this element in an anthropological and historical perspective, they put it aside as far as politics was concerned; indeed, it became the enjeu of political ideology during the years of the Terror.
Keywords: Illuminismo, Rivoluzione, Violenza, Girondinismo, Giacobinismo