There has been a different era in history that helped in reshaping the present. These eras led to the development of art, literature, inventions, etc. Did you know that the heart symbol was not always a symbol of love, but rather emerged as one? However, there was an era known as romanticism that represented this and also many other feelings. Do you remember any one factor that led to the emergence of romanticism? If not, no worries. Today you will get to know what was the rise of romanticism and the historical background of romanticism.
1. What is Romanticism?
A movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century that included artistry, musical, literary, and intellectual movements is known as romanticism. It is also known as the Romantic Movement or Romantic Era. It was first introduced by James Barry, Henry Fuseli, and John Hamilton Mortimer, who were passionate painters of their time. The true essence of the era of romanticism was to let the artist freely express his feelings and emotions. (See What are the 3 Types of History?)
2. What was the Historical Background of Romanticism?
To slowly understand the one factor that led to the emergence of romanticism, let us first learn about the historical background of romanticism. The term romanticism referred to the poets, novelists, painters, and musicians of that era. It emerged as a response to the Industrial Revolution and was based on similar ideas of liberty and fraternity. The historical events that influenced the background of romanticism were the following:
- The American Revolution (1775-1783)
- The French Revolution (1789-1799)
- The Napoleonic Wars
The two revolutions affected the thinking of the Europeans and ideals that were summed up in the French slogan, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. The Napoleonic wars affected the economies of the countries at large. There were times of overproduction and employment, but that was followed by periods of depression and unemployment.
3. How was the Working Class affected?
Let’s get to know about the working class of that time before discussing the one factor that led to the emergence of romanticism. The wars affected the working class the most. They were left in misery due to taxes, food prices, and unemployment.
The government followed the economic theory of Adam Smith, a Scottish economist that stated, that the government could not interfere with private activities if they want to improve the economic conditions of the country. It means that any individual who tried to take any personal economic advantage was pushed away by an invisible hand. They were forced to work to uplift the society and economy as a whole. Also, check out what were some negative effects of the Industrial Revolution?
4. How were the Working Conditions?
Due to the impact of this theory, there were no fixed working hours or wages. Workers lived in unhealthy conditions in the slums. They were forced to work for 12 to 19 hours a day viz 84 to 133 hours a week but were paid very little salary. Women and children worked in factories to increase family income. These conditions led to the upliftment of Trade Unions, the first associations of workers. The government and industries tried to suppress the association through the Combination Acts but when nothing worked, they used the military forces. The soldiers killed 11 workers and this was termed the Peterloo Massacre. (See Why was Cottage Industry Replaced by Mills?)
5. What Acts were formed after this?
After the withdrawal of the Combinations Acts, the situation of the workers improved to great extent. Take a look at the reforms before moving towards that one factor that led to the emergence of romanticism. The series of reforms passed after the withdrawal of the Combination Act are:
- The Bill for Catholic Emancipation (1829): This gave the Catholics the same rights as the Protestants.
- The First Reform Bill (1832): It led to the redistribution of the Parliament seats and the middle-class gained the right to vote. However, the working class was still ignored to vote.
- The Factory Act (1833): Under this, no children under the age of 9 will work in the factory, Also, people under 18 years of age will not be working in the factory for more than 12 hours per day.
6. What were The Reasons behind the Rise of Romanticism?
Now that we know about the historical background of romanticism, let us learn about its rise. People were inspired and enlightened by the wars. They were not ready to accept the emphasis of enlightenment on rationality, clarity, rules, conventions, and form. The following were the reasons leading to the movement:
- People were tired of the orthodox and rigidity of the church.
- They wanted freedom of thought and to express it without the restrictions of the rules.
- They wanted freedom for expressing their imaginations and fantasies.
- They were now interested in past ages and concerned about nature and its beauty.
- They began to question everything that was followed in Neoclassicism.
- They wanted to know the reason behind everything: creativity to imitation, imagination to realism, the unknown to the known, country to town, Celtic age to Middle Age to Classical Greece and Rome, and from the world of spirits to the world of things.
7. What was The Rise of Romanticism in Literature?
The rise of romanticism cannot be traced and related to any specific event because there were a number of reasons that could have led to this movement, like the beginning of various religious movements in the late 17th century and early 18th century. The orthodox thinking of the Church was like an obligation to the people, and they had to follow them. Freedom of thought and expression was absent during this time. With the movement of Romanticism, writers and novelists began to express themselves more freely. This led to that one factor that led to the emergence of romanticism. Also, check out who painted the last supper in the Sistine Chapel?
8. What was The Rise of Romanticism in Society?
Dogmatism is the set of beliefs that is followed by a group of people, and they do not want to be questioned about the principles that they laid down. These principles are not backed by evidence, but the followers do not prefer to listen to the opinions of what others have to say. This is why in Germany, dogmatism paved the way for the romanticism and freedom of thought of everyone. The individual human soul was given dignity with emphasis on God’s love for the individual. (See How would you Explain the Rise of Napoleon?)
9. What was the One Factor that led to The Emergence of Romanticism?
The Baptists, Methodists, and Quakers raised their voices against the Age of Reason in England. They were all ready to preach their messages with great enthusiasm. Their preaching was full of the fact that every human soul is important to God, and He (God) is interested in everyone irrespective of their status, background, and literacy levels. Their need to change the political and social views of Enlightenment led to the emergence of Romanticism. They said that the human soul is dear in the sight of God. The hymn that mentioned this was written by Charles Wesley, and it began as Jesus, the lover of my soul.
Well, today you got to know about the historical background of Romanticism. So, among many other movements, the above-mentioned reason was the one factor that led to the emergence of romanticism. However, there were several other explanations for what was the rise of Romanticism. (See Fall of Constantinople Effects)