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1848 European Revolutions Essay

1126 words - 5 pages

In 1848, there were revolutions across Europe by the middle class against the nobles who controlled the government. They were backed up by workers seeking better lives. Only two countries, England and Russia, survived the revolution untouched.Why there were so many revolutions in Europe in 1848In the first half of the 19th century, there was a huge population growth. In France and Germany, populations grew by more than 40%. Paris grew by more than 100%. So there was a lot more people than before on the same amount of land. This made it easy for ideas to spread and develop quickly, especially in cities, where people went when they could not earn a living off farming. The surge in population also meant there was less food for every mouth.Then, in the 1840's there was a harvest and economic failure throughout Europe. People had trouble buying enough food, and poverty increased, especially in cities where bread had to be bought. But the government failed to relieve the poor. This caused unrest, and people in Paris shared their liberal and national ideas in so called 'banquets,' since assemblies were forbidden. But in February 22, a 'banquet' was canceled by King Louis-Philippe and Prime Minister Guizot. The next day, there was a fight on the streets between revolutionists and the army. Some soldiers opened fire, and others joined the revolt. That day, frightened Louis-Philippe dismissed Guizot, and the next day fled himself.Being the center of European civilization, news of what happened in Paris traveled to all Europe quickly, and influenced revolutionaries everywhere. Inspired Magyar, Italian, Czech, German, and Viennese nationalists and liberals took their move, and revolted against their various rulers. For example, the Germans forced King Louis of Bavaria to abdicate, and formed the Frankfurt Assembly as their own parliament.In Italy however, the revolutions had begun against the Austrians before France. Most likely because it had the most concentrated population in Europe, Lombardo-Veneto had social unrest in 1847. Border disputes between the Austrians and the Papal states caused more trouble, making the Austrians invade the Papal States. Pope Pius IX protested against this, pushing the Austrians out and inspiring revolutionaries elsewhere. On January 1 of 1848, Milanese citizens planned to quit lottery and tobacco, to make less money go to the Austrian treasury. Angered Austrian soldiers shot and killed 61 Italians. This caused the Milanese to take arms, and push out the Austrians. Similar insurrections occurred in towns and cities elsewhere in Italy.Conversely, in England, an electoral reform had taken place in 1832, and there was freedom of speech, meaning that the middle class no longer had trouble with the government. All they had to do was keep the Irish under control, which they did with an iron hand. In Russia, feudalism was still in existence, meaning there was no middle class.Things in common and why revolutions failedIn each...

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