Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that took place during the second half of the 18th Century, also known as the Romantic Era. Romanticism was in part a revolt against the Neoclassicism of the previous centuries and was embodied strongly in the visual arts, music and literature, but also had an impact on historiography, education, and natural history. The poet Friedrich Schlegel defined it as "literature depicting emotional matter in an imaginative form." The Romantic Era also gave birth to many famous people we know today from artists like Van Gogh and Cezanne to writers like Emerson and Thoreau.
The main causes of Romanticism were the French and Industrial Revolutions. The French Revolution set the groundwork for Romanticism as it overthrew the old ideas of hierarchy and tradition and replaced them with principles of citizenship and natural rights. The Industrial Revolution helped push the Romantic Era forward as people became disgusted and hostile toward the new development of industrialism and the troubles that it brought with it. People with their new look on natural rights and enlightened views began to see machines as monstrous creations and felt the need to stress the importance of nature as they felt that life could be greatly improved by understanding nature and keeping life simple as Thoreau once said “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness” (Thoreau 209).
The results and achievements of this era were the great works of art that were created by individuals that were able to free themselves from the intellectual chain of the past. Thanks to the new views of nature and society that Romanticism brought about. People were able and inspired to create great works in literature, visual arts, and music. Works in literature like “Self-Reliance”, “The Scarlet Letter”, “Leaves of Grass”, “Walden”, and “I died for Beauty — but was...