A Movement: Romanticism And Liberalism Interference - English 3200 - Research And Paper Discussing The Romantic Era

1889 words - 8 pages

Romanticism, Economic Liberalism, and Political Liberalism
The French Revolution, including the Napoleonic conquests of Europe, and the Industrial
Revolution had tremendous ramifications in Europe. Some, like Karl Marx, tried to make sense
of both by seeing them as the result of class struggles. Some others, who reacted negatively
toward the French Revolution and to the French export of Enlightenment philosophies even
before that, tried to figure out what was "wrong" with it by tracing its origin to the
Enlightenment and its "rigid" application of scientific rules to human society. Three modern
schools of thought were developed based on the negative reactions toward the Enlightenment
and the French Revolution: Romanticism, political Liberalism, and modern Conservatism. The
Romantic movement, first starting in central Europe as a negative reaction to the French export
of Enlightenment theories as universal scientific rules governing all humans, emphasized the
uniqueness of the human being and the mysterious nature of the human mind. The Romantic
movement received greater momentum after Napoleon's invasion of central Europe, and gave
rise to modern nationalism: the uniqueness of a people. The Romantic movement became a
European wide movement especially after the Industrial Revolution started, when many revolted
against the mechanization of labor and society in their writings. Political liberalism was
championed by social reformers in 19th century England. These reformers, however, tried to
avoid repeating the "mistakes" of the French Revolutionaries by applying abstract scientific rules
to the understanding of society. They decided successful social reform would come from the
application of tangible, practical rules to society, therefore their adoption of the term "utility" in
judging government performance, and their initial adoption of the term "happiness" as a measure
to evaluate the success or failure of administration. Economic liberalism, although similar to
political liberalism in its emphasis on restricting the role of the state in society, had a different
origin. It developed during the Enlightenment and bore the Enlightenment imprint of searching
for scientific rules governing the realm of economic activities. One of its founders, Adam Smith,
started to formulate his theories on the verge of the British Industrial Revolution.
1. Romanticism
It arose as a reaction to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Instead of searching for
rules governing nature and human beings, the romantics searched for a direct communication
with nature and treated humans as unique individuals not subject to scientific rules. Napoleon’s
invasion of central Europe also helped start a movement that emphasized the authentic national
culture such as the vernacular and folklore instead of the language and customs imposed by the
foreign ruler.
The romantic movement received new momentum after the Industrial Revolution, which to the
Romantics destro...

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