Lead: In 1729 François Marie Arouet, Voltaire, returned from self-imposed exile in London. He brought a reinforced determination to challenge the ancient regime in France.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: His English experience had changed Voltaire. He became enamored of the intellectual ferment that the relatively free atmosphere in Britain afforded. The work of Shakespeare, the scientific theories of Isaac Newton and others, impressed him and he envied the English their freedom of thought and commercial prosperity. Born of middle class circumstances, because of his talent, early he was thrown into aristocratic circles. He savored the comforts and pleasures of life he saw there, but also realized that financial independence would allow him to speak more freely. Almost immediately upon his return from abroad, in a very English manner, he began to improve his economic situation. Over the years prudent and clever investments reaped him a fortune and by the end of his life he was wealthy as a prince.