During the Enlightenment, the small democratic state of Switzerland aroused considerable interest among philosophers and politicians. Plots against the French monarchy and Jacobin assemblies were likened to the secret pact signed at the Rütli. The Tell tyrannicide was also used to justify the guillotining of Louis XVI.
In 1766, the French writer Antoine-Marin Lemierre (1733-1793) wrote a play inspired by William Tell. The success of the work - which propagates the image of a hero freeing his people from the yoke of monarchy – made Tell a household name in France.
The Swiss hero even crossed the Atlantic where the concept of the warrior fighting for national independence found favour in the colonies during the American Revolution of 1776.