Discuss the impact of French Revolution on Romantics.Only the impacts.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although the Romantics, in particular - the British poets (Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, Blake, Shelley) did not believe themselves to be a 'Romantic movement,' they were united in support for the French Revolution. The Romantics did hold a lot of the same motivations (imagination and freedom of the individual) and because they so believed in the freedom of the individual, they considered themselves as different artists within a general ideology which was based on freedom, emotion, and imagination of the individual. Since the French Revolution was an international statement of displacing monarchy in favor of a more democratic (and in some cases, socialist) system, they of course praised this move because the individual has more power in those systems; particularly the democratic. Unfortunately the French Revolution resulted in a dictatorship by 1799 which just replaced one owning class (aristocracy) with another (military dictatorship). Eventually, Marxists would see this is as well (Karl Marx writing around 1850). The Romantics did not like the way the revolution turned out, but they did praise the general statement it made; a ‘beginning of the end’ of the inescapable hierarchies/oppression of the lower classes by monarchist rule. So, despite the revolution’s problems, the end result was a progression in favor of democracy and individualism; ideologically and in terms of socio-economics.