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The English Renaissance ends with the dead of Elizabeth I, a great supporter of the drama, the literature and the arts.

During the reign of queen Anne (1702-l714) broke out the succeeded war in Spain that ended with the Utrecht peace and the beginning of the slave trades.

After the Glorious Revolution, Britain wants to be sure that its king is protestant: George of Hanover, a German protestant noble, becomes king in 1714, in order to prevent a return from Scotland of the Catholic successor of James II. Fear of continued to play a significant politic role till 1746. George I was a very unpopular king, in fact he had never learned English and he established a liberal oligarchy. During his reign the Prime Minister was Sir Robert Walpole: he encouraged the trade and the industrial by abolishing export duties and decrease import duties of row materials.

In the 1727 George II succeeded the father and he reigned till 1760, a period of great expanding of colonies possessions, in particularly in India and North America. He availed himself of the help of William Pitt the Elder that became famous for his mercantilism policy. During the reign of George II broke out the seven years war between England, allied with Russia, and France, allied with Austria.

With George III we can see the first act of independence of American colonies: the Boston tea party, a boycott of tea trade. In the same years Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declamation of Independence and finally in the 1783 Britain recognised the independence of the thirteen colonies of North America. 

The gold period around the time of the accession of George I was called Augustan Age (from the Roman Emperor Augustus), neoclassic age, the Age of the Reason or the Enlightenment age; it was characterised by great political stability: in this period we can see the establishment the important influence of middle classes. Middle classes began to frequent coffee-houses, meeting places where intellectuals discussed about policy: the most important political party were born in a coffee-house. The Tories, more conservatives, descended from the Royalist, the supporters of the monarchy and the Church of England, and the Whigs, fundamentally liberally oriented, descended from the supporters of the Parliament, that, during them period of power (from 1724 to 1760) supported commercial and professional classes. In this period also flourished Journalism.

Augustan Age was characterised by the spirit of the Enlightenment, a philosophical and scientific movement based on ration spirit and a general scepticism about superstition. The Enlightenment contrasts with the darkness of irrationality of the Middle Age. The reason, man's central capacity, is the foot of this movement. For the Enlightenment thinkers all men are equal in respect of their rationality and the tolerance and individual liberty must be granted by the law. Enlightenment thinking that tended to atheism was the bases of French Revolution.

During the Augustan Age the wealth of the State, based on trade with the colonies, increased dramatically and Britain's position as a world power was confirmed by the victory in the seven years' war against France, for the supremacy in the colonies.

The political and social stability was reflected by an aesthetic which privileged order and harmony. The balance and the sobriety of Augustan art descended from the Puritan sense: Puritanism had become so much a part of the national character that it continued to exert an influence in daily life. Puritan pragmatism and realism would be an essential element in the new literature form: the novel.

In science field Isaac Newton finally established a coherent theory of the universe and discovered the laws of gravity and motion. In this conception there was still space for God, but only as a first cause: after the universe had began to move, there was no longer any need for Divine intervention. Science moved away from the idea of moral purpose and mysticism: this period of increasingly importance of science was called the Age of the Reason.


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