The Enlightenment, especially its most prominent contributors, was important because it created a climate of opinion in which revolution was possible. The philosophes had no unified theory; however, they were masters of criticism and dissent and were full of hope for change. They created in France a ‘political culture’ made up of a clientele of activists centered in the Paris salons, provincial academies, and in the Masonic order.28

While not directly generating the ideas of nationalism, certain aspects began to emerge in Enlightenment-era France, specifically that of la nation.