Economy and Society in Europe During 1848
The revolutionary year of 1848 was an extraordinary period in which popular disturbances brought down the government of many countries. The revolts were very widespread, seriously affecting about fifty countries in Europe.1 It ranged from an enormous area, ranging from the Atlantic to the Ukraine, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. Factors that contributed to these revolts included: the potato crop had been destroyed, food riots broke out, and financial crises sprung about due to the high rate of unemployment.2 The development of major cities, such as Prague, Berlin, Liepzig, etc. contributed to the creation of the revolution. Also, anger arose over political issues because the middle class was taking control, and the peasants were starving due to this. Another point that caused rage was tax collection. People threatened to beat tax collectors and burn down revenue offices. Europe, at this time, was fighting a battle that would last many years and change many different aspects of European countries. For the most part, the revolts were due to the bourgeoisie (upper class citizens) and how they controlled everything, including factories, machines, and people. The proletariat (working class that consisted of the factory laborers) were dominated by the bourgeoisie and began to look for a social change.3 The different changes in Europe in 1848 resulted in economic revolts, the Industrial Revolution, and how Karl Marx had an impact on society.
The economic revolts took place right before 1848. This economic crisis resulted from the agricultural failures, which set off a serious industrial and commercial crisis, as high food prices would not let people buy anything else. Due to these failures, many starved throughout Europe, and food riots sprung about. There were a significant number of lives lost, and people started to demand freedoms, including suffrage and granting constitutions that would help out Europe. These demands caused difficulty in the area of economics, where conflicts strike forms of disorder. This caused division within the government, enormous economic uncertainty, increased unemployment, and a rise in crime rates. The demands of the working class led to a bloody suppression, with thousands being killed. The failure of the new regime to gain control of their own armies also occurred. The survival rate in Europe was very low, yet the revolutionaries kept protesting to get exactly what they wanted.4
During this time, the Industrial Revolution was also taking place, yet it was in the midst of being over. Technology and production advances were taking place, no longer were hand tools common, and machines driven by waterpower and factories were now common in Europe. Coal mining was one key industry, in that it was a new source of fuel and was used in creating machines. Due to the flooding problem in coalmines, Thomas Newcomen invented the steam-driven pump. The middle nineteenth...