19th Century European revolutions : World History | UPSC Notes

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19th Century European revolutions : World History | UPSC Notes

• In the new Europe that came about after the Congress of Vienna, it was easy for liberal and nationalist ideas to spread. There were a lot of uprisings, especially in places with social and economic issues.

• The 19th century was a time of industrialization, development, population growth, new transportation and communication methods, and big changes in other areas.It was a century of big changes that the world had never seen before: more people learned to read and write, cities grew quickly, government institutions changed, national identities grew, culture grew, amazing scientific discoveries were made, and people’s lives changed dramatically. Changes in society became very different because of how much things changed.

Revolutions of 1820´s

• In 1820, Spain was the first country to have one of these uprisings. In 1812, the Cádiz Constitution was made, which was a free document. However, after the Congress of Vienna, King Ferdinand VII did not follow the Constitution. General Riego led a military revolt in 1820 to bring back liberal ideas, and Ferdinand was forced to agree to the new constitution. In 1823, the Congress of Verona sent French soldiers called the “100,000 Sons of Saint Louis” to restore Ferdinand’s power and put down the rebels. Despite this, liberal ideas quickly spread to Portugal, Two Sicilies, Sardinia, and some German states, but the army put down revolts in all of these places.

• A Greek rising against Ottoman rule did better in 1821 because Greek nationalists tried to get Europeans to feel sorry for a Christian country fighting against Muslim rule. Greece finally got its freedom in 1829, with help from the French, British, and Russians. By 1832, Greece was recognised as a sovereign country.

• By the middle of the 1820s, liberal groups started to get back together in Britain, France, and the Low Countries. Liberals wanted parliaments to be stronger and for people’s rights to be better protected. They also wanted the people with money to be able to vote. They wanted business laws that would help businesses grow. In Britain, this meant getting rid of the Corn Law tariffs, which favoured landlords and kept food prices (and, by extension, pay) artificially high. Belgian liberals also felt hurt because the Treaty of Vienna put their country under Dutch rule, which they thought was unfair.

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Revolutions of 1830´s

• In 1830, a new uprising in Paris sparked a new round of change, which was driven by liberal concerns. The “July Revolution” got rid of the very strict Bourbon King Charles X and put in his place Louis-Philippe I, who was more open-minded. Charles, who liked absolute power, tried to go back to the Ancient Régime, but the upper bourgeoisie and many important liberals were against it, and they encouraged the people to rise up against him. France became a kingdom with a written constitution.

• Belgium: When the Kingdom of the Netherlands was set up after the Congress of Vienna, its southern part, which is now Belgium, was mostly Catholic and spoke French. In the north, which is now Holland, people spoke Dutch and were Protestant (Calvinist). In 1830, a revolt started in Brussels, and by 1831, Belgium was independent, with a new king named Leopold Ist and a liberal government.

• After the 1820 and 1830 revolutions, liberal governments grew in all of Europe. Only the powers of Russia, Austria, and Turkey, as well as the German and Italian states (except for Savoy), and Central Europe stayed absolutist.

• The west of Europe was more liberal, while the middle and east were more conservative. In fact, Russia didn’t seem to be affected by the political changes happening in the rest of the continent. This was partly because there wasn’t much social or economic change. In 1825, some liberal-minded army soldiers started a revolt called the Decembrist revolt. It was quickly put down, and Nicholas I, the new tsar, put in place a stricter system of political police and censorship. Part of the movement of 1830, a nationalist uprising in Poland was put down with a lot of force. Russia’s political goals stayed mostly the same, and it went to war with the Ottoman Empire over and over again in order to get land in the south. After 1850, the strict conservatism of the Russian government was seriously rethought.This could not happen anywhere else in Europe. By giving parliaments more power, governments in Scandinavia and the Netherlands went towards becoming more liberal. This change was finished in the late 1840s. In other places, the next big step came from a series of revolutions in 1848, which turned out to be the last round of revolutions in western Europe.

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Revolutions of 1848:

1848 was a big year in European history because a lot of revolutions and protests happened all over the continent. This year is called “The Spring of Nations” by historians. We could add the following causes to the things that led to the earlier revolutions:

Some of the changes from the earlier revolutions started to happen, like in France. In countries where absolutism was still strong, the bourgeoisie rose up against it. But in countries that already had a constitutional monarchy, radical politicians, who were generally from the working class and were called “democrats,” wanted more changes to their parliamentary governments, such as giving everyone the right to vote.

Industrialization brought about changes in technology, which led to the rise of a new class called the proletariat.

Changes in technology also led to a wider press, which helped ideas spread more quickly to a wider group of people.

Nationalism was getting more powerful.

Socialism grew more quickly after Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto was published in 1848.

Another reason was that crops failed in Europe in 1846. Because of this, there was an economic disaster, which made the peasants and the new working classes unhappy.

• The uprisings of 1848 happened in most of Western and Central Europe (France, the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Ireland, parts of Germany like Prussia, Saxony, and Venice-Lombardy), as well as Brazil and other parts of South America. Some of these protests also had nationalist elements, like the ones in Italy and Germany.

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• The 1848 uprising led to important changes, some of which are listed below:

Manorialism was done away with for good in Germany and the lands of the Habsburgs, giving people new rights.

Even though there was a lot of manipulation under the new empire, France was still a democracy, and everyone over 18 could vote. This was a lasting change.

Even though Prussia was once again run by conservatives, it set up a parliament with restricted voting rights as a sign of respect for liberal ideas.

The Habsburg empire put in place a system of rationalised bureaucracy to replace landlord rule at the local level.

There had been some female protests in France and Germany. After 1850, things in politics changed quickly, which made it harder and harder to start a real revolution.