From the Ancien Régime to the Spirit of the Revolution

Europe and Worldwide

The second half of the eighteenth century saw the spread of enlightenment among the bourgeois elites. People placed their trust in reason, relying on it to achieve knowledge and to establish human and social relations. Ideas began to spread. People proposed rejecting all dogmas and traditions, exhorting others to “walk alone”. 

In the meantime, the start of the Industrial Revolution in England led the middle classes to push for the removal of all trade barriers, while the American and French Revolutions caused the middle classes to demand more rights and liberal constitutions.   

Switzerland and Ticino

In the eighteenth century, the Swiss Confederation was made up of thirteen confederate cantons that governed various regions, known as bailiwicks, and were allied with neighbouring cities, republics and principalities. A centralist state – the Swiss Republic – was created in 1798, doing away with the cantons. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Filosofo, scrittore e musicista svizzero (1712-1778)
Dipinto di Angelica Kauffmann (1741–1807)

Until 1798, Italian-speaking Switzerland continued to be divided into eight bailiwicks dependent upon other Swiss cantons. The situation changed with the birth of the Swiss Republic. The emancipation of the bailiwicks led to the creation of the cantons of Lugano and Bellinzona.

Modellino di macchina a vapore di James Watt

Technology, Science, Customs and Society

The second half of the eighteenth century was characterised by technological innovations that contributed to the development of the industrial sector, starting in Great Britain. In 1787, Edmund Cartwright invented the mechanical loom.

Nel 1787 Edmund Cartwright inventa il telaio meccanico
A fine Settecento iniziano gli esperimenti sulle vaccinazioni contro il vaiolo

In 1769, the Scotsman James Watt patented his steam engine. In 1783, the first manned flight took place in Paris thanks to the hot-air balloon developed by the Montgolfier brothers.

Il palazzo del teatro La Scala a Milano, Italia
Sala di letture del British museum di Londra
Con la Rivoluzione francese si passa da abiti sfarzosi a vestiti dalle linee più semplici
Un giovane Beethoven ritratto a suonare davanti a Mozart
Un anno dopo la prima conquista anche lo scienziato de Saussurre salirà in cima al Monte Bianco