The Historical context (1776-1837) The Historical context (1776-1837) The Romantic period is known as the “Age of Revolution”.It opens with the American Declaration of indipendence and the loss of the American colonies.Then there are the French and the Industrial revolutions.The first one destroyed the old social order in the name of liberty,equality and fraternity and marked the beginning of the rise of the middle class.
It was followed by the ascent of Napoleon who became Emperor in 1804.The duke of Wellington defeated him at the battle of Waterloo.The second one generated violent class conflicts between employers and workers, most notably in Luddite Riots when textile workers attacked the new machinery which had put them out of work.. The Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution is the change from an agrarian or maritime economy to an industrial (factory-based) economy.The term `Industrial Revolution' could suggest a sudden and violent event.On the contrary changes began to be felt in Britain around 1780 and developed over a number of decades and as a continuing process.It first affected the textile and metal industries.The most important factors were the technological innovations that made industrialization possible.The old sources of energy like water- and wind-power were replaced by steam power.The fuel for the steam engines was provided by coal.Other British technical innovations included processes for producing wrought iron,Heargreave's spinning-jenny and Cartwright's power loom.Coal was at the heart of Industrial Revolution.Industries like iron-making were based on coal mines and the growth of the textile industry was linked to the coalfields.The spread of canals and railways cut the cost of transporting coal from mines to factories which were sited near coalfields.The use of iron instead of woods,the use of large steam engines,new mass-production methods were responsible for the development of large-scale factory manufacturing.The cotton and woollen industries became concentrated in huge factories in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
The factory became the main ew unit of the system: it concentrated production in one place and imposed a new discipline on the workers among whom women and children were badly treated. The cultural context The three main branches of the romantic moviment were German, English and French. German romanticism had a preparatory stage in “Sturm und drang” moviment of the 1770s and was essentially philosophical. English romanticism started in 1780s and is best represented by its poetry. French romanticism developed in drama and literary criticism; its way was prepared by Rousseau. He climed that man is good by nature, but corrupted by society. In italy romantic moviment officially started in 1816; its best expresion is in the poetry and in the novel. There is a close relation between the cultural aspects of romanticism and the socio-historiacal context, in which it developed. The expansion