ABSTRACT

This chapter aims to use the concept of ‘romantic liberalism’ to describe the sentiments towards revolutionaries in the 1800s. The 1800s witnessed the emergence of an ideal of a heroic political offender, fighting for liberty, democracy and nationalism. The Age of Revolution also witnessed a new take on political offenders, who were seen as heroes fighting for liberty instead of traitors opposing the might of the king. The idea that political offenders were in need of protection emerged in the spirit of a revolutionary atmosphere, combined with emerging liberalist ideas concerning the rights of the individuals. Anarchism is first and foremost a political ideology, aiming at a world without rulers. The depoliticisation of anarchism was perhaps an early effort to create equilibrium between demands for more civil liberties, such as the freedom of speech on the one hand and the fight against anarchism on the other.