From classical perspectives in music and art and a

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from classical perspectives in music and art and a shift to an emphasis on the senses. French poet Charles Baudelaire captured the essence of Romanticism when he wrote in 1846, "Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling." But while artists were countering the reason and rationality of the Enlightenment by pursuing natural, spontaneous, emotional modes of expression, others were using the philosophical and scientific groundwork laid by major Enlightenment thinkers to start revolutions and change the course of history. Major events that dramatically impacted the ideals and influenced the art of this time period were the Industrial Revolution and the residual impact of the American and French Revolutions and the American Civil War. The Industrial Revolution From the middle of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century, Europe, and especially Britain, saw tremendous industrial growth as a result of advances in technology and science. The Industrial Revolution signaled a dramatic shift from an agriculture­based economy to one centered around industrialization, mechanized labor, and urbanization. Inspired by the rationality, reason, and innovation of the Enlightenment, scientists, merchants, and engineers of the Romantic Period found practical applications for science, developing steam power, efficient machinery for factories, and new modes of transportation. The inventions, discoveries, and industrial engineering that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution occurred largely because of the free exchange of ideas that was encouraged in British society at this time. Traveling lecturers visited town after town, spreading new ideas, scientific principles, and discoveries. Groups of scientists, philosophers, and engineers met frequently to exchange ideas and collaborate on large projects. This collaboration fueled the Industrial Revolution in Britain. This freedom—the freedom to share ideas, to create, to experiment—was crucial for developing a strong economy and educated society in Britain, but this kind of freedom did not exist everywhere. In nearby France, scientists worked under the watchful eye of the monarchy. But this would soon change, as the people of France would soon coordinate a momentous revolution demanding these same freedoms. The French Revolution The French Revolution, which began with the storming of the Bastille in Paris in the summer of 1789, was a heated, bloody call for political change and an end to high taxes, food shortages, and the rising cost of bread. Starving middle­ and lower­class citizens were tired of watching the wealthy, royal family live garishly and lavishly with no regard for the struggling masses. In many ways, the philosophies of the Enlightenment empowered the citizens of France to organize the revolution and defend their basic human rights.

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