English II Honors
20 October 2013
The French Revolution: Clemens Von Metternich
According to Clemens Von Metternich, “The men who make history have not time to write it.” Metternich himself had made a great deal of history in his time. His name will always be remembered for his actions in the French Revolution. Not only will he be remembered, but what he stood for will be recalled throughout the many times of the world. Before his time, the French Revolution was brewing, and the power had been transferred through various social groups or independent others. Holding many official titles in the empire of Austria, he had played a huge role in manipulating whatever power had been held in France. Clemens Von Metternich was a part of the Napoleonic Era and being of many Austrian titles, he was able to play a key role in controlling the power of France.
First of all, Metternich had roamed the world during the 1770s to 1860s during the Napoleonic time period. The Napoleonic time period was the era where Napoleon Bonaparte had been crowned emperor of France. Although, Napoleon had not been the first power to rise in France during Metternich’s life, Napoleon was in power when Metternich was. Before Metternich received his power in Austria, the two empires have had many encounters. When the monarchy was first limited in France, Austria and Prussia had had issued a Declaration of Pilnitz which swore to protect the monarchy of France. “In August 1791, the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria issued the Declaration of Pilnitz. In this Document, the two monarchs threatened to intervene to protect the French monarchy. The Declaration may have been mostly a bluff, but revolutionaries in France took the threat seriously and prepared for war” (World History). Even though, this declaration brought the countries to war with each other, it was proven unsuccessful when the radicals’ power rose, and monarchy was completely abolished from France. The Austrians’ dedication to monarchy was seen as an enemy to France’s revolution. The radicals of France had announced war on the Austrians and all surrounding countries with monarchy. The radicals soon feel from being unable to govern France while fighting numerous wars. In result to the power lose, Napoleon had claimed the power, and announced himself emperor. Under Napoleon’s rule, many nations were conquered, and Napoleon had placed his loyal friends and family on the fallen empires to control the other nations. The widespread of nations opposed Napoleon with a weakness. The citizens gained from war were not loyal to Napoleon. With any falters, the citizens would likely rebel. Napoleon had made that falter when he had lost a war with Russia and lost over 580,000 men. Napoleon had fallen. Kings and Queens had again taken the throne of France. Monarchy was returned, and Austria had gotten what they declared. Metternich had to make sure that the monarchy would stay there.
Second, Metternich made history of his own during the Napoleonic period in Austria. Metternich was born an aristocrat. He was a prince, son of Count Francis George. He later became a politician, statesman, and diplomat. He worked as an ambassador for Berlin in 1795 and for Paris in 1806. Then in 1809, “Metternich was made Austria's Foreign Minister, replacing Johann Philipp Von Stadion, and pursued a pro-French policy, going so far as to engineer the marriage of Napoleon to Marie-Louise, Emperor Francis's daughter” (Klemens Wenzel Von Metternich). The marriage had tightened the bonds between the two countires. He, himself had married Count Wenzel Von Kaunitz. Napoleon was starting to fall; the relationship between the two countries was slowly weakening. Napoleon’s power was taken from him, and Metternich had a huge say in the power hunt afterwards.
Last of all, Clemens Von Metternich had been a very influential person in the French Revolution. During the French Revolution like many other countries, Austria was at war with the radicals of France in the early 1790s before Napoleon. Austria fought on the side of monarchy. They believed in a strong ruling power. When the revolution unfolded, Metternich had stayed loyal to his feelings of monarchy. Later in the early 1800s, “Metternich attempted to mediate a peace between Napoleon and his Russian and Prussian enemies… Soon after, mediation having failed, Metternich brought Austria into the war against France” (Klemens Wenzel Von Metternich). He wanted to create peace amongst all monarchs. He was willing to negotiate with Napoleon due to his feelings towards his power. When the compromise wasn’t possible, Metternich realized that Napoleon was inexorable and declared a war which was quickly lost. After Napoleon fell, Metternich formed the Congress of Vienna. This congress was a group of ruling diplomats from many countries who meet to discuss issues around Europe, especially concerning France at the time. “Metternich tried to maintain a balance of power in Europe. He played a major role at conferences of European leaders, beginning with the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815). This conference determined the rulers and boundaries of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon I. Metternich encouraged European powers to suppress liberal and nationalist activity. He employed a network of spies to inform him of political threats” (Stearns). The members of the Congress kept the central idea that monarchy was important to have. They would argue to return back to the ways of the old regime, or old order. The meetings were meant to keep ideas of the citizens to revolt against monarchy unrealistic. Metternich helped return monarchy after the French Revolution unfolded, and helped keep it in place.
Overall, Clemens Von Metternich had contributed to the French Revolution by being a key power holder. Metternich had lived in the time of the of Napoleon’s reign. Being a part of the Napoleonic time period, he controlled the power of Austria, and became an important diplomat in the power struggle of the French Revolution. This time period had brought war between his home country, Austria and France. Austria had been fighting to keep the monarchy which was prevailed when Napoleon took power. Under Napoleon’s rule many empires around Austria had been conquered, and Europe’s map had been changing, but Metternich stayed constant. He continued to believe in his faith of monarchy which formed due to his upbringings as an aristocrat. He had had much power being a politician, statesman, diplomat, ambassador, foreign minister, and prince. He had lived in luxury with his wife, and the endless responsibilities he faced. Some of these responsibilities were finding time to meet with the Congress of Vienna. At this congress, he fought with others to protect the old regime of France. He wished to start over, like the French Revolution never happened. With this congress, they would prevent from any future uprisings against monarchy to occur. Metternich had protected monarchy throughout the French Revolution. Clemens Von Metternich was a man who made history.
Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor., and Anthony Esler. Prentice Hall World History: The Modern Era. Boston Mass.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.
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"Quotations About HistoryMetternich." History Quotations : Metternich : Italy Geographical Expression. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. .
Stearns, Peter N. "Metternich." World Book Student. World Book, 2013. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.