Revolution Forces

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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There have been four major forces that helped shape the history of the Western world during the past two hundred years. These forces are Conservatism, Liberalism, Romanticism and Nationalism. I will look at theses forces as they pertain to the French Revolution period of 1789-1791. The forces that I feel caused and directed this period are Liberalism, Nationalism, and Romanticism.

Before I state why these were the forces having an impact on this period, I need to define the four major forces. Conservatism is a term for the beliefs of certain people who believe in basically keeping things the way they are, or restoring them to the way they were. As Edmund Burke said, "when I changed it should be to preserve." Which allowed revolution to be acceptable if it restored tradition. Liberalism is essentially a political belief of using reason or common sense to form a somewhat limited government by providing checks and balances within it.

It also tries to stay out of the economic picture, allowing free markets. The middle classes, for its economic benefits, favored it. Nationalism is basically just what it says "˜nationalism.' It is a feeling of pride in your nation. And it seems to really come about with a fading role of religion in the society. Romanticism is basically just a movement of the 18th and 19th centuries that really doesn't seem to have a clear definition, partly because it seems to have come about gradually. A good quote on romanticism is that of Wolfgang von Goethe, "classic is that which is healthy, romantic that which is sick." Romantics valued emotion and imagination more than anything else, possibly to the extreme as von Goethe's quote points out.

Now as to why these forces had an influence on the Revolution. I believe Liberalism and Romanticism...