Chapter 21—Reaction, Revolution, and Romanticism (1815-1850) [See 12, 46, 47, 48] overview



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Taken from http://www.gemair.com/~raischc/, This is a very long outline of the topics covered in the second Semester.

Chapter 21—Reaction, Revolution, and Romanticism (1815-1850)

[See 5.12, 5.46, 5.47, 5.48]
OVERVIEW: The forces of upheaval unleashed during the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars were temporarily quieted in 1815 as rulers sought to restore stability by reestablishing much of the old order to a Europe ravaged by war. Kings, landed aristocrats, and bureaucratic elites regained their control over domestic governments, while internationally the forces of conservatism tried to maintain the new status quo; some states even used military force to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries in their desire to crush revolutions.

But the Western world had been changed, and it would not readily go back to the old system. New ideologies, especially liberalism and nationalism, both products of the revolutionary upheaval initiated in France, had become too powerful to be contained. Not content with the status quo, the forces of change gave rise first to the revolts and revolutions that periodically shook Europe in the 1820s and 1830s and then to the widespread revolutions of 1848. Some of the revolutions and revolutionaries were successful; most were not. Although the old order usually appeared to have prevailed, by 1850 it was apparent that its days were numbered. This perception was reinforced by the changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Together the forces unleashed by the FR and the IR made it impossible to turn back. Nevertheless, although these two revolutions initiated what historians like to call the modern European world, remnants of the old persisted in the midst of the new.


I. The Conservative Order, 1815-1830

 After the defeat of Napoleon, European rulers moved to restore the old order

 This was the goal of the great European powers—Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia (Quadruple Alliance)—when the met at the Congress of Vienna in September 1814 to arrange a final peace settlement


  1. A Peace Settlement after Napoleon




    1. Restoration of Kingdoms

 Leader of the congress was the Austrian foreign minister, Prince Klemens von Metternich (1773-1859), who claimed that he was guided at Vienna by the principle of legitimacy...

 To keep peace and stability in Europe, he said it was necessary to restore the legitimate monarchs who would preserve traditional institutions




    1. Containment of France...another guiding principle of course, was one that had long been the center of European diplomacy  balance of power...ensuring that no one country could dominate Europe as France had tried to do under Napoleon




  1. The Conservative Domination: The Concert of Europe

 The peace arrangements of 1815 were the start of a conservative reaction that sought to contain the liberal and nationalist forces unleashed by the FR


 Metternich and his supporters were representative of the ideology (a political philosophy such as conservatism or liberalism) of conservatism


    1. Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France as a Guide

 Conservatism dates to the publication of this important work by Burke in 1790

 He argued that government was a contract or partnership “not only b/w those who are living, but b/w those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born”

 No one generation has the right to destroy this partnership; each generation has the duty to preserve and transmit it to the next

 Burke did not favor the violent overthrow of a government by revolution, but he did not reject the possibility of change...gradual not sudden


    1. Principles of Conservatism:

a. Obedience to political authority, organized religion was crucial to social order, hated revolutionary upheavals, were unwilling to accept either the liberal demands for civil liberties and representative governments or the nationalistic aspirations generated by the FR

b. The community took precedence over individual rights; society must be organized and ordered, and tradition remained the best guide for order

c. Supported by hereditary monarchs, government bureaucracies, landowning aristocracies, and mainstream churches (both Protestant and RC)




    1. From Quadruple to Quintuple Alliance (+ France)

a. Concert of Europe: one method used by the great powers to maintain the status quo they had created was the Concert of Europe, according to which GB, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and later France, agreed to meet periodically to discuss their interests and ensure the maintenance of peace in Europe

b. Concert of Europe failed: the Quintuple Alliance adopted a principle of intervention that was based on the right of the great powers to send armies into countries where there were revolutions to restore legitimate monarchs to their thrones

 Britain refused to agree to this principle...it had never been the intention of the alliance to interfere in the internal affairs of other states

 The other four ignored Britain, and used military intervention to defeat revolutionary movements in Spain and Italy and to restore legitimate monarchs to their thrones

 COE broke down when the British rejected the p of i and ultimately prevented the Continental powers from intervening in the revolutions in Latin America




    1. Revolt in Latin America

 Latin America remained in the hands of the Spanish and Portuguese up until the early part of the 19th century

 When the Bourbon monarchy in Spain was toppled by Napoleon, Spanish authority in its colonial empire weakened

 From roughly 1810-1825, nearly every country in LA achieved their independence, with the help of such “liberators” as Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin




    1. The Greek Revolt, 1821-1832

 p of i could be used to support revolution if the great powers found it in their interests to do so

 in 1821, the Greeks revolted against their Ottoman Turkish masters, who had ruled them for over 400 years

 A revival of Greek national sentiment made this a popular cause...Great Britain, France, and Russia aided Greece in their struggle

 in the Treaty of Adrianople, the Turks agreed to allow Russia, France, and Britain to decide the fate of Greece...in 1830, they declared Greece an independent kingdom, and two years later, a new royal dynasty was established

 up until 1830, this was the only successful revolt in Europe because the great powers themselves supported it




  1. The Conservative Dominion: The European States

 domestically, conservative governments worked to maintain the old order


1. Rule of the Tories in Britain
 GB governed largely by the aristocratic landowning classes that dominated both houses of Parliament...within Parliament, there were two political factions, Whigs and Tories...both groups comprised of members of the landed classes, although the Whigs were beginning to receive support from the new industrial middle class
2. The Bourbon Restoration in France
a. Bourbon monarchy restored in the person of Louis XVIII (1814-1824), who understood the necessity to accept some of the changes brought to France during the FR and Napoleonic eras...he died in 1824, and was succeeded by his brother, Charles X

b. Charles’ attempt to restore the old regime as far as possible led to public outrage; by 1830, France was on the brink of another revolution


3. Italy...after the Congress of Vienna still largely dominated by the Austrians, and all the states had extremely reactionary governments eager to smother any liberal or nationalist sentiment
4. Repression of Liberalism in Central Europe
a. Germany...the Vienna settlement recognized the existence of 38 sovereign states (called the Germanic Confederation) in what had once been the HRE...Austria and Prussia were the two major powers; the Confederation had little real power, but served as an instrument to preserve the conservative status quo

  1. The Stagnation of Austria...a multinational state (11 ethnicities)...forces of nationalism were strong, though Metternich managed to repress the nationalist forces and hold the empire together

5. Tsarist Autocracy in Russia


a. At the beginning of the 19th c., Russia was overwhelmingly rural, agricultural, and autocratic...Russian tsar still regarded as a divine-right monarch

b. Alexander I (1801-1825)...initially seemed willing to institute enlightened reforms, but after the defeat of Napoleon, implemented reactionary policies



  1. The Reaction of Nicholas I (1825-1855)...he also turned into a strict reactionary after a military revolt at the beginning of his reign...called the “Policeman” of Europe b/c of his willingness to suppress brutally revolutionary movements

II. The Ideologies of Change


 Although the conservative forces were in the ascendancy from 1815 to 1830, powerful movements for change were also at work...these depended on ideas embodied in a series of political philosophies or ideologies that came into their own in the first half of the 19th c




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