The Revolutions of 1848 by ckwyK4to


									The Revolutions of 1848
Big Picture: the Revolutions of 1848
were the result of the movement of
Liberalism in the 19th century in Europe.
Remember the contrast between
political Liberalism and Conservatism?
Simply put, political conservatives
represented the values of the Ancien
The Revolutions of 1848
Liberals sought:
Representative Governments
Civil Liberties
Improved conditions of the working classes
In some cases, liberalism was tied to
nationalism; specifically, the desire to form
states based on Ethnic unity. (Hungary)
The Revolutions of 1848
Immediate results were seemingly
catastrophic, but the long term changes
were generally halted by the reactions
of the conservative powers in charge.
Further, and this is a big issue, the
liberals who sought political reform
generally avoided the social changes
connected with it.
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More importantly, there is no revolution
for the working classes.
There is no restructuring of the social
classes that have been exacerbated by
the growing industrial revolution.
There is no workers revolution in 1848;
ironic because that is the year that the
Communist Manifesto is published.
The Revolutions of 1848
Two key issues before we start:
Britain and Russia do not undergo any
manner of revolt in this time period for
different reasons.
The Continent, everywhere from France to
Italy to the German States to the Hapsburg
Empire do under go some manner of
Why not Britain and Russia?
The Revolutions of 1848
The revolutions did not affect England
because England had already gone
beyond the goals the revolutionaries
sought to achieve.
Britain had a representative government, a
relatively progressive liberal economy.
Key, this does not mean the England was
“worker friendly.” No part of Europe was…
The Revolutions of 1848
They did not affect Russia because Russia
had not yet developed the economic and
social pressures which stimulate the liberal
They literally were so far away from the
impact of liberalism that revolution was not
even a issue.
Russia at this time is a country ruled by
repressive Czars, and dominated by a feudal
agrarian Economy.
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The Rest of Europe?
The revolutions of 1848 did, however, sweep
across Europe from Paris in the west to cities
throughout Germany and Italy, to Berlin in
Prussia, and to Vienna and Prague and Budapest
in the Austrian Empire.
This is part of the larger trend of the formation of the
nation state in Europe.
Another way of looking at it would be this:
The Revolutions of 1848
Generally speaking, the trend in 19th century
Europe of State formation shows the conflict
between two forces:
Established monarchies and family dynasties
tended to represent the values of the “Ancien
Replacing these monarchies and families by
representative governments meant a true
shift in the role of government in society.
The Revolutions of 1848
Blanket Statements:
The revolutions of 1848 occurred in cities
where a middle class was often joined by
university students, who shared liberal
They united temporarily with urban
working people who sought to relieve the
oppressive working conditions imposed
upon them in the early industrial period.
The Revolutions of 1848
Middle class people; entrepreneurs,
industrial managers, shopkeepers,
professionals, could not identify with the
workers and their goals. Therefore, the
united front was short-lived.
They could cooperate in overthrowing the
government of the old regime, but they
could not share in the effort to create a
new government.
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The revolution hardly touched the
countryside because the peasants
did not participate in the revolution
and had their own agenda.
Wherever peasants enjoyed
ownership of the land, they tended to
be a conservative influence.
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More specifically, there was an element of
crisis all over Europe which also
contributed to the revolution.
That is, an economic depression and
sporadic famine and high unemployment
were involved.
Living conditions in cities were growing sores,
and there were no social services to deal with
the growing urban poor.
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Revolutions in a case by case basis:
The Habsburg Empire
German States
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Louis Philippe and Francois Guizot (Minister)
Political banquets had been held to criticize
the government
Poorer harvests and high unemployment in
1847 and 1848 posed greater criticism to the
Hence, these banquets are forbidden by
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Feb 1848: Guizot resigns under pressure
from the Parisian mobs.
Feb. 24. Louis Philippe abdicates and flees
What now?
Lamartine leads the provisional government
Louis Blanc leads the Parisian workers in a
more labor oriented movement.
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To review, here we see a split between those
who seek merely to change the mechanism
of government, to make it more politically
Those that are seeking true change for the
poor of a country, specifically France.
And, there was a tremendous amount of
resistance in the rural areas concerning these
Urban Radicals.
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The provisional government clashed with the
Parisian mobs, and this new government
goes so far as to close the Paris workshops,
which were set up as a means of training
workers in a skill.
Clearly, this is not a move to help the poor.
The barricades are assaulted by the
government troops, and the revolution is
essentially ended here.
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Louis Napoleon emerges…
These issues is the protection of private
property, not the plight of the working poor.
Not some Marxist revolution.
The presidential election gives France the
nephew of the Emperor, napoleon.
“Little Napoleon” calls and end to this Second
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What Louis Napoleon will do will be to
gradually take power from the national
Assembly, and be categorical in his belief that
he, not they, represents the will of the people.
He seizes power in a coup, much like his
By 1852, France was under the Rule of
Emperor Napoleon III
France had, for the second time in less than
fifty year, had gone from Republicanism to
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The Habsburg Empire.
Remember the issues that faced the
Multi-ethnic population.
It was dominated by a serf based economy
Metternich was the poster boy for political
It was in existence for the benefit of a
dynastic family…no hint of a representative
government here…
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The problem within the problem is the
desire of the Magyars (Hungarians) for
ethnic unity.
Louis Kossuth calls for independence
for the Hungarians.
Major disturbances in Vienna follow
The army fails to deal with it, and
Metternich surprisingly flees the country
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The Government eventually falls to the hands
of a 200 person committee.
As a means of preservation, the Vienna Govt.
declares that serfs are free, as a means of
gaining their support.
As Vienna continues to fragment, this has to
give hope to the Hungarians, and it does.
As the Hungarian diet passes legislation, the
Emperor Ferdinand approves these
measures because he can do little else.
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Magyars goal, establish an independent
What the Austrian do is to garner the support
of those groups that would be harmed by the
independence of the Hungarian
independence movement.
Groups like the Romanians, the Croats and
the Serbs would be oppressed by the
Magyars, and so the Austrians get their
support and suppress the Magyar revolt.
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Czech Nationalism
The Czechs version of nationalism was the formation
of a Pan-Slavic state, which we now will become a
major issue in European history as the century
This would be a state freed from the dominion of both
the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire
Though the movement is quelled by General
Windischgraetz, it does show a long-term issues of
nationalism brewing in eastern Europe.
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Issue: The rise of the so-called
Romantic republican movement.
Italians began to see the possibility that
Piedmont, under the guise of King
Charles of Piedmont, leading the
possibility of freedom from Austrian
dominance of the Northern states.
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Yet, the defeat of Piedmont by the forces lead
by Austrian general Radetzky, prevented
Piedmont from gaining autonomy.
However, in “Italy”, in February, a radial
insurrection in Rome forced the Pope, Pius
IX, to flee and the radicals Proclaimed a
Roman Republic.
This was to be the place from which a unified
Italy could be formed, Mazzini and Garibaldi
are the two key figures in this.
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The French help to defeat this Roman
Republic, primarily because fo the
conservative nature of the Napoleonic
government, and because France saw a
possible threat in a unified Italy to their
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Germany: The Frustration of the Liberal
Remember, as far as the Revolutions of
1848 are concerned, “when France
sneezes, all of Europe gets a cold.”
German will also undergo a flirtation of
Liberalism, and an ultimate conservative
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Prussia, the major German State, will
be the focus for this Liberal uprising.
Frederich William IV refuses to turn
troops on protesters in Berlin.
He believed that foreign intruders were
responsible for this activism.
This proves to be a huge short term
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Frederich makes a series of
concession, including the promise of a
Constitution and a promise that Prussia
would lead a movement toward German
This is a short term example of
monarchical concession to the
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An assembly that was predominately
democratic and radical is eventually ignored
outright by then monarch.
By April, the monarch has declared his own
constitution, and voting was based on
income, which of course meant that high
income citizens could exert influence on this
We are seeing a swing back to conservatism.
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The Frankfurt Parliament.
May 1848…Frankfurt Parliament is formed to
call for a unified German State.
How could a movement like this face
The working class was fearful of economic
liberalism because it would eliminate
protection to guilds.
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In Fact…the parliament called in troops
to repress urban workers who had, like
the French, erected barricades.
And, the issue of Unification was a
another sticking point for the parliament.
The issue was whether to include
Austria in the unification movement.
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The Grossdeutsch solution favored the
inclusion of Austria
The Kleindeutsch solution favored exclusion.
It Would the the latter of the two that would
receive more support.
Frederick William IV rejects a proposal that
he led a Unified Germany – He was king by
God, not by some mortal decree
The parliament was dissolved, and German
liberalism never recovered.
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How can we assess the Revolutions of 1848?
This ends, effectively, the era of political
liberalism as a romantic and philosophical
Liberals/Nationalists knew now that they had
to be more pragmatic, and less romantic.
What would be the unifying factors in the
creation f a Nation?
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Rather that relying on: Language and cultural
heritage in the formation of a national
It would be factors like railways, commerce,
guns, soldiers and diplomacy that would unify
a nation.
We need only to look to Bismarck and his
“Real Politique” as an example of the death of
political liberalism.
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And, and this is very significant, workers
would turn to more organized
methods/tactics to achieve their ends…
 Rather than taking to the barricades,
they began to utilize trade unions and
worker organizations to achieve their
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Finally, this was the end of the
revolutionary desires of of the Middle
It was more concerned about protecting
its property against the rise of political
Specifically, it would oppose the rise of

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