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REVOLUTIONS OF 1848 Europe was literally convulsed by a wave of revolutions in 1848 –Unprecedented in their scale and aspirations Revolutions were the.

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Presentation on theme: "REVOLUTIONS OF 1848 Europe was literally convulsed by a wave of revolutions in 1848 –Unprecedented in their scale and aspirations Revolutions were the."— Presentation transcript:

1 REVOLUTIONS OF 1848 Europe was literally convulsed by a wave of revolutions in 1848 –Unprecedented in their scale and aspirations Revolutions were the culmination of a series of political, economic, and social crises which had started in the late 1840s –Began with widespread harvest failures in 1847 and were intensified by an international financial and industrial crisis Result was widespread hunger, disease, unemployment, business failure, and revolution

2 ECONOMIC CRISIS Severe economic crisis intensified social problems created by industrialization and rapid population growth from 1845 on –Began in agricultural sector and then spread to industry Poor grain harvests hit most countries in 1845 and 1846 –Caused food prices to skyrocket –Demand for manufactured products declined as people now spent a larger proportion of their incomes on food Unemployment therefore increased dramatically Connected in an indirect way to crisis was a serious contraction of credit –Caused cash flow problems for many and led to numerous bankruptcies

3 VARIED IMPACT OF CRISIS Social and geographic impact of the crisis varied –Harvest bad in Great Britain in 1845 but it improved in 1846 Relatively advanced economy, involvement in overseas trade, and repeal of Corn Laws made England well placed to secure additional food supplies Economic crisis was therefore not particularly severe there –Russia and Poland were also spared worst aspects of economic crisis Because their grain harvests remained good –Hardest hit countries were Ireland, Belgium, Prussia, and northern part of Austrian Empire

4 THE REAL DANGER Economic crisis generated widespread sense of grievance among those who felt it was the duty of their governments to take positive action to help them –Included urban and rural workers, businessmen, peasants, and all those frightened by increase in crime and disorder The real danger for European governments was that this discontent might take political shape –That economic misery might become politicized

5 MIDDLE CLASS LIBERALISM Economic difficulties only become dangerous when they receive a political focus –Decisive factor in this process appears to have been the aggravation of discontent within the middle class Who had the organizational capacity to mobilize themselves and wider mass support Middle class tended to present demands within the context of liberalism –Ideology which favored end of arbitrary government by reducing power of traditional institutions, a wider sharing of power by means of developing parliamentary government, and guarantees of individual freedoms –Liberals generally rejected democracy in favor of rule by those who owned property John Stuart Mill Liberal philosopher

6 SOCIALISM Issue of poverty attracted considerable attention in the 1840s –Witnessed by numerous official and private inquiries into the problem –And by growing popularity of the humanitarian socialism of Louis Blanc and Etienne Cabet Found receptive audience among skilled craftsmen in towns of Central Europe and France Workers looked forward to the day when, through the formation of workers’ cooperatives, they might become masters of their own destinies Less skilled workers showed little interest in democratic or socialist ideas Louis Blanc

7 BANQUET CAMPAIGN A variety of opposition groups appeared in France during 1840s –Included Republicans Pressed for extension of the right to vote Republicans launched reform campaign in July 1847 –Organized banquets to get around law prohibiting political meetings –Louis Philippe’s hostility to demands presented at banquets radicalized movement –Radical republicans assumed an increasing prominent role at the expense of more moderate men Alexandre Ledru-Rollin –Banquet campaign was planned to culminate with mass banquet in Paris on February 22, 1848 Ledru-Rollin

8 PRUSSIA Frederick William IV relaxed censorship and created semi-elected body of advisors –Encouraged liberals to push for completely constitutional regime Variety of social clubs and professional organizations formed to be fronts for political debate and training ground for political organization Their ideas spread down hierarchy to lower middle class and skilled workers –Most believed that their interests would be best served by the protection of their handicraft way of manufacturing against industrial competition and through reinforcement of their guild privileges »Not the way middle class saw things Frederick William IV

9 THE SOCIAL QUESTION German liberals were not in complete agreement –Seen in their attitude towards the “social problem” Some were determined to blame the “lazy” poor for their own misery –Which could only be eased by rapid economic modernization combined with moral education Others had a desire to protect the interests of the small independent craftsman and farmer from unrestrained capitalism Minority of radicals even advocated compulsory education and progressive income tax Even before 1848, it was evident that popular unrest was leading many German liberals to question their blind faith in progress and look to the state as a source of protection

10 AUSTRIAN EMPIRE Influential works smuggled into the empire from the west attacked inefficient bureaucracy, censorship, taxation, centralization of political power in Vienna, a favoritism shown nobles –Stimulated discussions of reform in the Legal Political Reading Club, the Concordia Society, and the Lower Austrian Manufacturers’ Society In Bohemia and Hungary, opposition combined with nationalist discontent –Mainly only among educated upper classes

11 ITALY In Austrian-controlled northern Italy, local elites of landowners, aristocrats, and wealthy professionals and merchants felt unfairly excluded from government –Also resented Austrian censorship –Businessmen objected to economic policies which favored Austria –Italian clergy objected to Austrian interference in ecclesiastical affairs

12 PIUS IX Election of Pius IX in June 1846 –Freed 2000 political prisoners –Relaxed censorship –Stimulated liberal and nationalist sentiment throughout Italy Governments of Tuscany and Sardinia-Piedmont made similar concessions Widespread and growing criticism of Austrian government in years leading to 1848

13 ENGLAND Mass propaganda in favor of democratic reforms embodied in Great Charter –But Chartism did not lead to revolution Limited concessions and the fear of disorder that Chartism contained reduced middle-class support of radical politics –Depriving masses of the leadership necessary to mobilize popular discontent Chartist Demonstration

14 UNCOMPROMISING CONTINENTAL GOVERNMENTS In France, Louis-Philippe and his prime minister Francois Guizot were confident that no concessions were necessary and that protest could be contained Frederick William IV of Prussia was convinced of his divine right to rule and was confirmed in this belief by his narrow circle of aristocratic advisors In Austrian Empire, a poorly educated king and elderly Metternich could not respond effectively to financial problems and pressure for reform All continental governments had lost touch with the reality of an Europe undergoing rapid economic and social change –Resulted in political polarization –Unresolved crises caused loss of confidence among government supporters Francois Guizot

15 Why did revolutions break out in 1848? Revolutions of 1848 began in capital cities and urban centers and then spread to other towns and rural areas Outbreak in Paris on February clearly served as major stimulant Intensifying government crisis elsewhere and encouraging opposition

16 FEBRUARY 22, 1848 Banquet, planned for February , banned by French government out of fear of disorder Radicals call for protest demonstration –Students and workers gather at Place de la Concord where sporadic violence occurred

17 FEBRUARY 23, 1848 Elements of National Guard defect to the side of the protestors –Louis Philippe loses nerve and fires Guizot Barricades erected in poorer quarters of Paris Nervous troops near Foreign Ministry fire at crowd –10 pm –Enrages popular opinion

18 FEBRUARY 24, 1848 By morning, 1500 barricades had been constructed and a mass insurrection was underway Louis Philippe orders troops to smash revolt –Difficult to move troops in city and they become demoralized and are forced to withdraw Louis Philippe abdicates Group of prominent republicans proclaim Provisional Government from balcony of city hall

19 SUMMARY Revolution took place in France because, in a situation of economic and social crisis, the regime had lost the confidence of its habitual supporters –It had failed to introduce timely concessions in response to the growing demand for political reform And when an essentially fortuitous incident led to a mass uprising, government was paralyzed by a crisis of confidence and unable to coordinate effective repressive measures –As a result, a small body of active republicans took advantage of the regime’s paralysis to mobilize mass support, to seize power, and establish new government

20 MARCH 3, 1848 IN THE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE Hungarian Diet officially supports program of constitutional reform designed to establish the autonomy of Hungary within the Empire On the same day, the Legal-Political Reading Club in Vienna issues proclamation demanding –Creation of an United Diet in which both middle classes and peasants would be represented and to which ministers would be responsible –Expansion of education –Equitable taxation –Abolition of censorship

21 FALL OF METTERNICH Metternich was determined not to give in and considered imposing martial law Large crowds take to the street on March 13 –Troops ordered to disperse them were met with hail of rocks and bottles and open fire in response –Demonstrators construct barricades and full-scale insurrection was underway On March 15, Metternich resigned and the emperor promised a liberal constitution –On the same day the emperor met with delegates from the Hungarian Diet and granted them greater autonomy

22 BOHEMIA AND ITALY Subject peoples of the Empire take advantage of government collapse –Stirrings of independence in Bohemia –Big trouble in Italy Riots forced Ferdinand II to grant his people a constitution Grand Duke of Tuscany, the pope, and King Charles Albert of Piedmont- Sardinia all granted, or promise to grant, their people constitution –To avoid violence Revolt erupts in Milan on March 18 –Austrian commander withdraws after 5 days of fighting Similar event in Venice –Results in establishment of Venetian Republic under leadership of Daniel Manin Daniel Manin

23 GERMANY News from France sparks disorders in Bavaria, East Prussia, and northern Germany –Rural disorders occurred in southwest and central Germany In Prussia, Frederick William IV is faced with numerous petitions for reform and serious urban and rural disorders –When he learned of collapse of Austrian regime, he decided to make concessions –Too late—riots already swept Berlin and army had been forced to withdraw from city –King announces that he will establish a constitutional monarchy Other German rulers do essentially the same thing

24 GREAT BRITAIN AVOIDS TROUBLE Chartists originally received news of events in Paris with enthusiasm –But most Chartist leaders refused to depart from their commitment to strictly legal agitation Movement was already in decline and proved unable to mobilize support Another factor was official preparedness –Preventive measures were put into effect immediately –But premature repression was also avoided

25 SYNOPSIS I With the exception of Great Britain and Russia, it was a combination of poor leadership, division among the propertied classes, loss of confidence among political elites, and the domino effect of governmental collapse which stimulated demands for reform and discouraged effective government resistance in France, Germany, and Austrian Empire

26 SYNOPSIS II Initial revolutionary outbreaks varied –Violent overthrow of monarchy in France –Violent efforts to expel foreign rulers in Lombardy and Venetia –Peaceful effort by Hungary to assert its autonomy –Various searches for constitutional compromise in German states, Austria, and Bohemia

27 SYNOPSIS III Groups which seized power or who were seeking accommodation were mostly coalitions of people with differing and often conflicting objectives Old Regimes had collapsed so suddenly that those who now claimed power were surprised and unprepared –Actually the rapid progress of events had advantages Little initial opposition to widespread assumption of power by liberal critics of earlier regimes


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