The Rise of New Ideologies in the Nineteenth Century for AP European History (page 2)

based on 4 ratings
By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Mar 4, 2011


Romanticism was a reaction to the Enlightenment and industrialization. The nineteenthcentury Romantics rebelled against the Enlightenment's emphasis on reason and urged the cultivation of sentiment and emotion. Fittingly, Romantics mostly avoided political tracts and expressed themselves mostly through art and literature. Their favorite subject was nature.

The roots of Romanticism are often traced back to the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau because in Emil (1762), he had argued that humans were born essentially good and virtuous but were easily corrupted by society, and that the early years of a child's education should be spent developing the senses, sensibilities, and sentiments. Another source of Romanticism was the German Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) movement of the late eighteenth century, exemplified by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), which glorified the "inner experience" of the sensitive individual.

In response to the rationalism of the Enlightenment (and to some degree, of liberalism) the Romantics offered the solace of nature. Good examples of this vein of nineteenthcentury Romanticism are the works of the English poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who extolled the almost mystical qualities of the Lake District of northwest England.

Romantic painters like John Constable in England and Karl Friedrich Schinkel in Germany offered inspiring landscapes and images of a romanticized past. Beethoven, Chopin, and Wagner expressed the imaginative, intuitive spirit of Romanticism in music.


Nationalism, in the nineteenth century, was the ideology that asserted that a nation was a natural, organic entity whose people were bound together by shared language, customs, and history. Nationalists argued that each nation had natural boundaries, shared cultural traits, and a historical destiny to fulfill. Accordingly, nineteenth-century nationalists in existing nation states like Britain and France argued for strong, expansionist foreign policies. Nationalists in areas like Germany and Italy argued for national unification and the expulsion of foreign rulers.

In the early nineteenth century, nationalism was allied to liberalism. Both shared a spirit of optimism, believing that their goals represented the inevitable, historical progress of humankind. In the nonunified lands of Germany and Italy, occupation by Napoleonic France had help to foster a spirit of nationalism. Under Napoleon's rule, Germans and Italians came to think of their own disunity as a weakness. The best early examples of this kind of nationalism are the German writers Johann Gottlieb Fichte, whose Addresses to German Nation (1808) urged the German people to unite in order to fulfill their historical role in bringing about the ultimate progress of humanity, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who argued that every nation had a historical role to play in the unfolding of the universe, and that Germany's time to take center stage in that drama had arrived.

Like the Romantics, early-nineteenth-century nationalists emphasized the role that environment played in shaping the character of a nation, and sentimentalized the past. A good example of Romantic nationalism is the work of Ernst Moritz Arndt, who urged Germans to unify through a shared heritage and through love of all things German. Strains of Romanticism can also be seen in the work of the great Italian nationalist of the early nineteenth century, Giuseppe Mazzini, whose nationalist movement, Young Italy, made appeals to unity based on natural affinities and a shared soul.


Anarchism was the nineteenth-century ideology that saw the state and its governing institutions as the ultimate enemy of individual freedom. Early anarchists drew inspiration from the writings of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, who argued that man's freedom had been progressively curtailed by industrialization and larger, more centralized governments. Anarchy had the greatest appeal in those areas of Europe where governments were most oppressive; in the nineteenth century, that meant Russia. There, Mikhail Bakunin, the son of a Russian noble, organized secret societies whose goal was to destroy the Russian state forever. Throughout Europe, nineteenth-century anarchists engaged in acts of political terrorism, particularly attempts to assassinate high-ranking government officials.

View Full Article
Add your own comment