After the trauma of the French Revolution, Catholicism began to regain at least some- thing of the confidence it had known in earlier periods. The rise of Romanticism had a powerful effect on the reawakening of interest in Catholicism, particularly in Germany and France. François-René de Chateaubriand’s Genius of Christianity did much to develop this new interest in the Christian faith, which can be seen reflected in many aspects of nineteenth-century culture. Other writers who drew on Romanticism in their defense of Catholicism included Alessandro Manzoni in Italy and Friedrich von Stolberg in Germany. Rationalism was seen by some as having led to the catastrophes of the past, such as the violence and excesses of the French Revolution. There was a new sympathy for the view that Christianity was a major source of artistic inspiration and cultural excellence.
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Yet the impact of the Napoleonic wars would be felt in other Christian churches. A good example of the new pressures facing Christianity can be seen in the forced merger of Lutheran and Reformed churches in Prussia in the aftermath of the Council of Vienna. Napoleon’s defeat of Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt in October 1806 brought home the need for institutional reform. Prussia’s feudal system of government and military leadership had proved incapable of responding to the challenge of Napoleon. King William III of Prussia set out a series of reforms, designed to streamline and modernize his govern- ment. This had significant implications for Prussian Protestantism