In the early decades of the nineteenth century, European intellectual life was enriched by the works of composers, painters, poets and writers who were influenced in a variety of ways by the spirit of romanticism. Although many English and German romantics adopted conservative positions after 1800, they were not merely reacting against the French Revolution and trying to restore what it had threatened or destroyed. In fact, they attributed the beguiling attractions of revolutionary doctrines to the shortcomings of prevailing conceptions of the nature and role of government. When those English and German romantics who had been politically active in the 1790s abandoned radical reformism and identified the organic community with the traditional order, they adopted positions which were somewhat similar to those forged by conservative critics of the Revolution. A willingness to contend with the swirling currents of modernity characterised the outlook of a number of romantic writers whose most important political writings were written in 1820-50.