Revolutions and reactions

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

The congress of Vienna

During the 1800s the liberalism was growing, even though the conservatism did not decrease. Liberalism stood for guarantees of individual freedom, political changes and social reforms. These ideas supported the Enlightenment and the French revolution. In contrast people with conserv values disliked the ideas of the Enlightenment and the French revolution, like Edmund Burke who condemned the French revolution as an English spokesman. The governments in Europe were mostly under the control by people with conservative values, but the growing liberalism was needed to be considered. Furthermore the Nationalism was a growing force shaping Europe during the 1800s. The congress was about conservative ideas.

The congress of Vienna was an international peace conference with the main aim to change the map of Europe. It was held in the capital of Austria, 1814. Attending the meeting was for example: Czar Alexander I of Russia, Metternich, King Frederick William III of Prussia and Lord Castlereagh, the British foreign minister. The congress restored the balance of power by strengthening the neighboring countries of France. Now the Netherlands was created by putting the Dutch and Austrian Netherlands into on country and Switzerland was seen as an independent country. However the congress was profitable in the eyes of Britain, due to it gaining most land because of their long struggle against Napoleon.

The Quadruple Alliance

Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia formed the Quadruple Alliance to protect the peace in Europe. But Czar Alexander had grander visions. He suggested a Holy Alliance to tight and knot between all the governs following the christians principals. Both of these alliances preserved the peace and lead to nations helping each other.

The Metternich System

Prince Metternich dominated european politics for 30 years and he defended the work of the Congress of Vienna. His policies was The Metternich System, based on status quo which was the existing states of affairs. Status quo was against liberalism and nationalism and meet opposition from many angles. Prince Metternich was a conservatism and opposed the Liberalism.

Revolutions in France, AGAIN

The divine rights of kings was brought up again, previously seen during the Absolutism, after the Congress of Vienna when Louis XVIII was announced king of France. The problem for him was an uprising middle class with liberal ideas inspired by the French Revolution. They did not agree with the status quo and joined forces to upset it, between 1830-1848. In 1814 Louis XVIII accepted the Constitution due to him realising he had to share the power with the people. But he did only allow wealthy people to be in power which only upset the liberals further. When he died, his brother inherited the throne as Charles X. He gave back the land that the nobles lost during the French revolution as well as he wanted laws to decrease individual freedom. When he eventually realised that he had no support in France, he fled to England. The July Revolution made France a constitutional monarchy with Louis Philippe as king, due to the middle class fearing the leaders of foreign republics.

The Bourgeois Monarchy

Louis Philippe made the middle class growing by adapting to their preferences and demands which was why he was called the “bourgeoisie monarch”, but many felt betrayed, due to the July Revolution and Philippe's regime favoring the wealthy. With the industrialization starting in France, people were dissatisfied even more, because improvements were going slow, wages were bad and job hours were far too long in the 1800’s.

A reformer, Louis Blanc came to the rescue by fighting for the rights and protections for the workers, while the socialism was growing. The king, Louis Philippe disliked the growing force among the people, which led to The revolution of 1848. By the 22nd of february, 1848 Louis Philippe fired his chief minister. The reason to this was because he canceled a huge public banquet in Paris, which made the public very agitated. However, the king could not manage the situation, leading to him running away to England. The agitated mob hurdled inside the palace and ate the royal meal set for the previous king.

In comparison to the revolution in France, the people in Germany also wanted change. They were inspired by the ideas of french liberals and started to reform as well, in 1848. In contrast to this, people in Prussia met more difficulties. In march the police shot against the opposing crowd, making the crowd setting up barricades. However, the Prussian king, Frederick William IV did not want to spill any more sweat and blood on this matter, leading to him promising a reform. A national assembly was elected, which the king changed to a new one because he disliked it. The aim with the revolution was to unite Germany and Prussia, but when the german people offered the throne to Frederick William IV, he rejected, leading to the unification of the countries failing.

Going back to France, the revolution of 1848, led to the establishment of the second republic, which was led by Louis Blanc. He provided good amount of jobs for the unemployed, with the con of raising the taxes, which angered the middle class and the peasant. Further opposing led to a new constitution in 1848. The first election held place in France voted for Napoleon Bonaparte’s cousin, Louis Napoleon to become the president of the second Republic. People's support, led to a virtual making of dictatorship later in december 1851.

The Second Republic ended later, with the cause of the creation of the Second Empire. In 1830, Metternich said that “When France sneezes, Europe catches cold”. His aim with this message, was to show how France inspired other European countries to revolt, with the dream of renewing the old orders restored by the Congress of Vienna.

The revolutions of 1830’s

The Dutch king, united the Austrian Netherlands and Dutch. But in the south of Belgien, people disliked this arrangement, because of how their language did not correspond with the Dutch as well as the Belgians being mostly Roman Catholics, while the Dutch were protestants. This triggered a nationalistic way of thinking among the Belgians around 1800’s.

In august 1830, riots broke out in Brussel with Belgien defeating Dutch army with Britain and France on Belgians side. Austria, Prussia and Russia were completely against any changes, but later on signed a treaty recognizing Belgium as an independent nation.

In similarity to each other, the July revolution in France and nationalism in Belgian succeeded, because both had strong middle classes. However, in contrast to other revolutions, some during the 1830’s failed, like how the Polish tried to win their independence from Russia, but instead gave up especially because Britain and France did not provide the help they promised to the Polish. Revolts occurred in Italy and Germany, as well.

Austria tried to control/suppress nationalism in Italy, by immediately sending troops. Metternich tried to persuade the German states to renew the Carlsbad Decrees and this silenced the unrest. “The dam has broken in Europe”, wrote Metternich in 1830, but they at least held back the flourishing growth of Liberalism and Nationalism until 1848.

Revolts in the Austrian Empire

In March 1848, news of the overthrow of Louis Philippe in France spread and led to a revolution with liberal students and middle classes filling up the streets, with the aim to end feudalism and Metternich. The Austrian Emperor feared the people and so he spread faith among the people by ending Metternich and promising a new reform.

All these uprisings triggered many more :

  • The uprising in Vienna also triggered many other parts of the Austrian empire like Hungary (Magyars led by Louis Kossuth demanded a constitution and independence)

  • Bohemia and Czech (Pretty similar to Hungary)with many similar demands. Nationalists in

  • Lambardy in Italy also revolted against Austria. This led to the emperor accepting Bohemia and Czech demands, but within three months it all turned.

  • Germans living in Bohemia did no longer want to be under Czech control, so they turned to the Austrian army and occupied Prague.

  • June 1848, Austria took control over Bohemia again.

  • October troops revolted against the ongoing revolution, eventually crushing it.

However it took longer to end the revolution in Hungary. Austria's strategy was through taking advantage of the cultural difference between Croatia, Slavic people in Hungary and Magyars. Austria decided to give armor to Croatia, which led to them storming Budapest in September 1848.

Magyar defeated Croatia with their leader Kossuth and by 1849 Kossuth declared Hungary a republic.

Russian Czar disliked the new order in Eastern Europe and so they helped Austria by invading Hungary and stopped the magyar revolt, August 1849.

Uprising in Italy

The revolts in Lombardy and Venetia were not the only revolts in Italy during 1848. Sicily had revolted and overthrew their king and in other Italian states people revolted against the rulers, demanding liberal constitutions, in similarity to the revolution in France. Italian nationalists in Rome tried to win over the pope on their side to unite Italy, however it showed out to be that the pope had too much respect/fear against Austria, even though he was in the strongest catholic power in Europe. The people disliked the pope's decision, rebelled and the pope went into exile. Guiseppe Mazzani led Roman to become republic February 1849.

By 1849, Austria had restored the order in Vienna and most parts of northern Italy. In contrast to Rome Louis Napoleon won the pope over by sending french troops to Rome and restored the pope's order.

Italy’s dream of being united and independent was crushed, but the people never stopped believing and preserved their dream to one day regain unification. Italy idolized the kingdom of Sardina to have won the liberal constitution in 1848.

Did the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 change anything?

The revolutions did not really impact or change anything, due to the lack of clear goals, missing good structured plans or techniques. Two positive outcomes from the many revolutions, was the happening of Belgium's independence and in France and Prussia, adult men got the right to vote, which shows the growth of democracy in a political aspect.

The revolutions created a huge gap between the conservatisms and the liberals in the middle class, but because the conservatism was stronger, they defeated the liberals in most countries.

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