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Nationalism And Liberalism Essay

1389 words - 6 pages

Often called “the People’s Spring”, the Revolutions of 1848 marked a time of political and social turmoil widespread across the European continent. It is during this time we see monarchies overthrown, the formation of new countries, and “radical ideologies” such as Nationalism, and Liberalism become the beliefs of the middle-class. The populations of European countries were growing at a rate never seen before. The masses started becoming agitated with the current monarchial system of government ruling across Europe in the nineteenth-century, and wanted change that would bring about individual freedom and equality. It is well known that the Revolutions of 1848 were multi-casual, and that there was not just one factor that can be attributed to all the revolutions during this period. However, certain ideologies of the middle-class, as well actions taken by the monarchs and nobility had been felt across all of Europe. The spread of liberal and nationalist ideas brought changes to the post-Napoleonic settlement established in Europe, and acted as a counter to the Reformation being imposed by the Old Order upon the European citizens.
The events leading to the culmination of the Revolutions of 1848 were set in motion by 1814-15 meeting of the Congress of Vienna. During the Congress, “representatives of the allies who defeated Napoleon – Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Great Britain – came together to re-establish peace in Europe”. The Congress opposed liberal and nationalist ideas which called for the reorganizing of states on ethic or national lines. The Congress of Vienna imposed a treaty on France, and created a new “international mechanism”, the Concert of Europe, where the powers, this time joined by France, would meet annually and “put down any movements that could threaten the status quo.” The leaders of these countries feared another movement like the French Revolution because they believed it would inevitably lead to another European war. During the Congress of Vienna the combined powers redrew the map of Europe, undoing many of the changes caused by the Napoleonic wars, and reinstated old rulers to their thrones. Prussia was to receive territories on the left bank on the Rhine River as a way to discourage any future French rebellion or aggression. Austria was given Lombardy and Venetia, as well as other small nationalities, in an attempt to keep the states within Italy from starting a rebellion. The kingdom of Poland was created, but was essentially made part of the Russian empire, with Czar Alexander occupying the throne. The French monarchy, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and Metternich’s Austrian monarchy “utilized the bureaucratized state apparatus inherited from Napoleon to repress liberals”. The redrawing of European territories was done without consideration for the peoples living within , thus feeding the already growing agitation of the people, and promoted the call for unification along nationalistic lines.

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