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9 Revolutions of 1848.doc

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McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Thursday February 7 The Revolutions of 1848 What, specifically, was achieved in 1848? I. Context A. Demographics 1. Between 1815-1845 the population of Europe increased dramatically 2. Much of this growth was absorbed in the cities where the new industries were located 3. Population increase hit both rural and urban a) Rural: plots of land are getting smaller (1) Less requirement for farm lands b) Urban: rents are increasing 4. Industrialization is taking root: people loose jobs to machines a) Unrest sits in 5. Bad harvests push people who are just sustaining themselves over the edge B. Economic Crisis 1. 1845 a potato blight occurred in europe 2. 1846 we had the poor grain harvest a) potatoes were the staple b) The cost of food goes way up 3. Many of the rural and urban poor are already spending 70% of their income on food a) So we get a good deal of suffering and hunger b) Reaction: food riots (1) Particularly in the italian and german states 4. Irish potato famine (1) Population is hit so badly that almost 1 million people die (2) Another 1 million emigrate (3) Worsens the already terrible relations between ireland and GB 5. The agricultural crisis triggers an industrial slump a) Higher bread prices reduced peoples capacity to produce manufactured goods b) This leads to unemployment and depression 6. 1848 rash revolutionary activity a) Springtime of the people: they swept through a lot of Europe (1) European history reached its turning point and failed to turn (2) The middle class liberals challenged the conservative order and failed (3) One of political apprenticeship as well (a) Working class putting forward organized demands (b) The Communist Manifesto (c) Emphasis on popular responses independent of whether the movements were successful i) Violence, political mobilization, grass roots nationalism ii) Highlights a common historical question: when were writing history, do we write it top down or bottom up? C. Historical Opinions 1. Top Down a) Leaders driving history 2. Bottom Up a) People driving history II. The Second French Republic A. Revolution 1. The abdication of Louis-Philippe (feb 1848) a) Cancelation of a banquet supposed to promote and celebrate reform sparked a protest b) Troops there to contain the assembly killed 40 people in a panic c) Riots erupt d) 23rd of February second french republic (1) Pre-existing liberal opposition elected a moderate republican provisional government with the acclaim and support of the crowds outside (BOURGEOIS) (2) When they got to city hall they were met with radicals intent on creating a radical regime (SOCIALISTS) (3) The spirit of the movement won out and they cooperated (a) Radical members are added to the list of provisional governors (b) Elections based on universal manhood suffrage 2. Political Clubs and Liberty Trees a) The revolutions spread to the country b) In Paris political clubs reemerged (1) Those who had made demands for women’s rights (2) Revolution created economic turmoil (a) We get a liberal nightmare B. Turmoil 1. Economic Troubles 2. The ConstituentAssembly a) Conservative forces want to clear a majority b) In May the radical left tried and failed to declare a republic of the people (1) The assembly arrested radical leaders (2) In June the assembly was forced to close down national workshops (a) So we get 3 days of riots in response! (b) Thousands of rioters were executed/exiled (c) Assembly the limited freedom of the press, forced political clubs to close, and did not allow women to participate 3. National Workshops C. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte 1. President 1848-52 a) Elected President of the 2nd French republic b) Reached out to the people using propaganda - radicals (1) But overstepped themselves (2) In june attempted to use insurrection (3) N. claimed there was a manifested threat to social order (4) Banned symbols of revolution (5) Dug out liberty trees c) May - residency requirement to vote (1) Removed many of the working class - most were itinerant d) December 1851 N. announced the dissolution of the constituent assembly/the elected body 2. Emperor 1852-70 a) This set the country back once more on a conservative path III. The German States A. Frederick William IV (1840-1861) and Revolution in Prussia 1. They also had many hunger related deaths 2. People were demanding change a) political reforms b) creation of constitution c) right to assemble d) free
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