The Enlightenment vs. the Romantic Era: Sense and Sensibility

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The Age of Enlightenment opened the doors to independent thinking and development in areas such as math, astronomy, politics, philosophy and many more. Toward the end of the Age of Enlightenment, the Romantic Era was born and it seemed to be in protest to the ideas that the Enlightenment had brought to society. Although both time periods were established around more independent thinking and growth, The Enlightenment and the Romantic Era contrast significantly. These two periods differed in almost every aspect, including (but not limited to): their beliefs, reasons for coming into being, and the impacts that they have had on society.

The contrast of beliefs between the Enlightenment and the Romantic Era is intense. They have complete opposite beliefs on most aspects minus their support of independent thinking and growth. In Life Magazine, it was said that, "There, is no truth, said the Enlightenment, which cannot stand the test of reason". The Enlightenment was all about sense over sensibility; people thrived for further knowledge with everything they could. On the other hand, the Romantic Era was very much focused on the imaginative part of knowledge. Carol Ferguson, a professor at Richard Stockton College, states in one of her lectures, “The logic, ordered, rational was gradually replaced with the magnitude of the imagination, the possibilities of intuition, the importance of the emotions, and the uniqueness of the individual”. Romanticism allowed people to deviate from the constrictions of strictly “logical” thinking of the Enlightenment and concentrate on the emotional and imaginatively curious side of learning. So while both periods started off focusing on learning new things and advancing society with knowledge, they had d...

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...r any “extremes” on the spectrum of sense and sensibility.

Works Cited

"Enlightenment." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 16 Aug. 2010 .

Ferguson, Carol. "LECTURE: THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE ROMANTIC ERA." The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. .

Kreis, Steven. "Lecture 16: The Romantic Era." The History Guide. Web. 18 Aug. 2010. .

"Romanticism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 17 Aug. 2010 .

"The Age of Enlightenment." LIFE Magazine 15 Sept. 1947: 75+. Web. 17 Aug. 2010. .