In 1775 American colonies were rich and well populated, there was an internal peace, but Great Britain wanted to tax colonies, so these established that if they didn’t represent British Parliament, they couldn’t be taxed. For this starts the American Revolution, with George Washington at the command. France and Spain help American colonies, and with the Treaty of Versailles, Great Britain accepts the Declaration of American independence, a document written by Jefferson, which established the same rights for everyone. Then, Britain acquired three new colonies: India, Australia and Canada. By the cost of intervening in the American revolution, France was in economic crises, so Louis XVI imposed a system of taxation, and citizen started the storming of the Bastille, a medieval fortress and prison.(French Revolution: 1789) The king, who didn’t accept the Revolution, tried to escape with his family, but they were discovered, so he was a traitor to one’s country, and was guillotined. The French Revolution was condemned by Britain for its violence. Britain became the leader of six coalitions against France and Napoleon (Britain begins the war against Napoleon 1793)(Publication of Lyrical Ballads 1798)(Napoleon crowns himself emperor 1804), who was defeated at Waterloo (1815). A treaty was signed, and established the re-establishment of the monarchies of Europe. A new economic philosophy was accepted, economic liberalism, which was free trade (laissez fare), illustrated by Adam Smith. In Britain there was The Industrial Revolution, a process of change from an agrarian economy, to one dominated by industry, with new machines, energy sources, materials, but all this signified less workers, and unemployment, women and children were paid less than men, and these workers lived in slums, without sanitation, so Trade Unions were founded (organizations of workers which represents them to change society, to establish that all people are equal, Socialism). Reform Bill (1832) extended the right of vote. Factory Acts, forbidding the employment of children under nine. Abolition of slavery and slave trade. A new system of national education. Now children were considered human being with their rights. Although women worked, they were subject to discrimination, they had rigid codes, so began to demand emancipation to have equal rights with men.
In the second half of the 18th century were considered new ideas of pre-romantic sensibility. The critical term was “the sublime”, which no indicates harmony but strength, irregularity. There was the predilection for night, darkness, death, so any tendencies were called Gothic. Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto was the first Gothic novel. The Romantic Revolution took various forms: political and social in America and France; ideological, because there was a critic of the social results of the Industrial Revolution; artistic against neoclassicism, in favour of the free expression of feelings. Now poet had to have the knowledge of his heart, to follow his instinct, feeling, intuition. The imagination was the central point of the poetry, connected the mind and universe, human and divine. In Romantic works we can find many descriptions of nature, a nature described with emotions, and supernatural elements. For the romantic poets the reality, the truth, were subjective, so the individualism expressed in literary forms as isolation from society, isolation in nature, revolt against establishment, exile from the country. There’s an Romantic area interested to strange, forbidden, so the typical hero was a solitary hero who seemed have committed an horrible crime. This desire to create myths expresses in the search for the infinity. In America, there was the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine was the result of political and intellectual freedom from foreign models, so there was a new American tradition. The most important poets are: Gray, who shows a real interest In the life of humble people. Burns, who sang things such as love, music. Blake, who wrote about social problems, conditions of children, of the injustice in the world.
The most important riots of that time were Luddite Riots, where the workers destroyed machines, and Peterloo Massacre, where many workers were killed by the army. Peterloo massacre is a ironic name because in the Waterloo Massacre Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington so the tyranny was defeated. Now in the Peterloo Massacre the workers are killed by the army, so the tyranny wins.
Reform bill was passed in 1832, it eliminated the rotten boroughs, so it extended the right of vote.
A borough was an electoral district, rotten boroughs were controlled by the land-owner or squire.