The Age Of Revolution(1830-1848)

Rise of Revolutionaries

  • From the early 19th century, the liberal nationalists chose the path of revolutions to overthrow conservative regimes.
  • The educated middle class elites of Italy, Germany, Ottoman Empire and Poland etc. led revolutions to establish liberal nation-states.
  • Notably, in July, 1830, in France, the Bourbon dynasty was again overthrown by the revolutionaries and installed a constitutional monarchy with Louis Phillipe as its head.
  • This July revolution also led to breaking away of Belgium from United Kingdom of Netherlands.
  • Another event of revolution was the independence of Greece from Ottoman Empire.
  • Began in 1821, the revolution received sympathy from other parts of Europe which treated Greece as “cradle of European civilization”.
  • In 1832, the Treaty of Constantinople recognized Greece as an independent nation.
Depiction of July Revolution(source: wikipedia)
Depiction of July Revolution(source: Wikipedia)

Romantic Imagination and National Feeling

  • The cultural aspect of liberalism also contributed to the growth of nationalism in Europe in the form of poetry, music and stories.
  • The Romanticism was a cultural movement of that time which focused on emotion, intuition and mystic feelings to create sentiments of national unity.
  • A shared collective cultural heritage was emphasized in the cultural elements. For example, German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder said the true German Culture was to be found among the common people- das volk.
  • Moreover, another motive of popular culture was to convey the feeling of nationalism towards the illiterate section. Emphasis of vernacular language and collection of local folklore was encouraged.
  • Language played a major role in inciting national sentiments.
  • For example, after Russian occupation, Polish language was replaced by Russian in schools and other fields. It led to an armed rebellion in 1831 which was cruelly crushed. But Polish was used in Church gatherings as a national resistance.
  • It became a symbol of struggle against Russian dominance.

Hunger, Hardship and Popular Revolt

  • The years of 1830s in Europe was a period of economic crisis.
  • Increasing population, unemployment, immigration from villages to town, monopoly of cheap goods imported from England led to economic hardship.
  • The exploitation of peasants under feudal lords and low production and price rise further added to the crisis.
  • In 1848, food shortage and unemployment in Paris led to population coming out to streets. Louis Philippe was forced to flee.
  • The National Assembly proclaimed a Republic and gave suffrages to all adult male above 21.
  • In 1845, there was a revolt by weavers of Silesia where they were supplied raw materials by contractors and ordered to produce finished goods but their payment was greatly reduced.
  • The crowd of weavers attacked the mansions of the contractors and the storehouses. In return, eleven weavers were killed by the army.

1848: The Revolution of the Liberals

  • The revolution of 1848 in France inspired the men and women of liberal middle class of Germany, Italy, Poland and Austro-Hungarian Empire who demanded for Constitutionalism with national unification.
  • The demand for freedom of press and freedom of association also went along.
  • On 18 May,1848, 831 elected representatives marched into Frankfurt parliament of St. Paul Church.
  • They drafted a constitution making the monarch subject to the parliament.
Revolution of 1848
Revolution of 1848
  • But Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia rejected it. Later, the middle class elites who dominated the Parliament opposed the demands of workers and peasants. They disbanded the parliament.
  • Women during this time began to form associations, found newspapers and took part in political meetings. But they lacked the political rights.
  • After 1848, autocratic regimes of Central and Eastern Europe began to bring changes and reforms. Serfdom and bonded labor was abolished.
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