According to Wikipedia: "François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, and philosopher known for his wit, philosophical sport, and defense of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer, and produced works in almost every literary form, authoring plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, over 20,000 letters and over two thousand books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. A satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize Catholic Church dogma and the French institutions of his day. Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions."