Lecture 6 -
Revolutions of the 1820s
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Revolutions of the 1820s
Congress of Vienna, 1815: objectives: restore the balance of power, ensure political stability in Europe
and to contain France forever. For the British, containment of France was the primary purpose. Austrian
main objective was similar, yet they also wanted to safeguard against Russia. Metternich had a larger
scale of the Balance of Power in mind: Hapsburg Empire, France and Russia. Alexander's ambitions were
a concern for Austria. Russians wanted to increase their prestige and influence in Europe. Objectives, as
different as they are, were achieved. Results: Quadruple Alliance, Holy Alliance, Balance of Power.
Conservatism was used as an ideology. Legitimacy of governance was re-established by monarchies.
However, the congress failed to address two major issues:
1) Liberalism; and
(Romanticism was a stream of thought that affected art, literature and minds as manifestation of those
two undefeated ideas that were suppressed by the restoration of conservatism and monarchy).
Once these two ideas were out, they spread like fire. It took no more than 5 years for both liberalism
and nationalism to resurface and challenge the entire newly re-established order. Social equilibrium was
not achieved by the Congress of Vienna.
3 main revolutionary waves overflew Europe in the 1920s.
The periphery of Europe was mostly affected by the waves: Spain, Russia, Italy. Ideas were deeply
rooted after they were out. The revolutions identify weak spots in the new system.
The Spanish Revolution
It originated from the French experience. Spain was occupied by France in 1808, Joseph Bonaparte was
put on the throne. This created resentment of Napoleon and the imposed regime, but at the same time
brought the new liberal ideas to the country. Now the Spanish wanted liberalism, participation in the
political life of the state. Spain accepa liberal constitutionand idea of limit to future monarchy. The
monarch in exile, Ferdinand VII, accepted it.
Yet, when Ferdinand VII (1814) was brought back by the Congress of Vienna, the first thing he did is
denounce the liberal Constitution of 1812, discarding his promises. He re-established absolutist
monarchy, the Church was brought back. He confiscated the lands bourgeoisie purchased after they
were taken from the Church. With all that in the air, what started the Revolution happened not in Spain proper but in Latin America.
The colonies there were pretty much independent at that point. Spain could not impose its rule there
during the Napoleonic wars: it was too weak and busy fighting the enemy in Europe.
However, Ferdinand VII wanted to bring the colonies under control again. 1816-17 - turmoil in Latin
America because of the effort by the former Spanish colonies to gain independence, supported by the
British and the new USA. 1819 - the Spanish king decided to start a major campaign in the colonies. It
was that move, building up an army and shipping to Latin America what started the revolution. The army
officers that served under the French rule accepted Napoleonic ideas of Nationalism. They were pretty
much sympathetic to the colonies and also did not want to go die in the jungles on another continent.
They started an uprising in Cadiz. The rebels Marched into Madrid, declared a new state
Pronunciamiento (declaration) that established a liberal state. This signified the start of the military
leadership in Spain that would last until the 1970s, with the death of the dictator Franco. The Spanish
rebels easily won because most of the Spanish population supported this development. Europe reacted
to this challenge.
Italian territories at the time were divided. Southern part was united into the kingdom of two Sicilies,
northern - given to the Hapsburg Empire at the Congress of Vienna. The kingdom of 2 Sicilies is where
the Italian revolution has began. It followed a pattern almost identical with Spanish. Napoleonic
experience gave it a start: despite opposing the tyrant, liberal state established by him and constitution
were accepted and welcomed by the middle class. When the southern Italian state was unified, it
created an immediate economic boom - no borders anymore. It also was manifestation that Italy could
be united on national basis. Murat (Napoleon's brother in law) was put as head of state.
Later on, Murat was overthrown, executed. The monarch, Ferdinand I, was brought back by the
Congress of Vienna. He follower the pattern of Ferdinand VII of Spain. He also lashed out against the
previous supporters of liberalism; ruled as a tyrant. Two groups represented the main opposition of
1) Former supporters of Murat (Muratisti) - opposed him on the basis of not having the constitution.
They opposed the dictatorship of the Absolutist monarchy.
2) The lower classes manifested their resentment by organizing the secret society based on freemasonry
(the Carbonari). Their goal, like the Muratisti's, also wasa liberal constitution . However, the Carbonari
wanted to go all the way to the left of the political spectrum and create a Republic under French
Revolutionary goals: equality, fraternity, liberty. In addition, they wanted to unify the entire Italian
peninsula under one flag, not just the south.
The minute they forced Ferdinand I to abdicate, and thus gain both groups' first objective, the two
movements came to oppose one another. Muratisti wanted the bourgeoisie to stay in power; liberal
state - but not a Republic.
Within 6 months, 2 revolutions challenged the system of the Great powers. A special meeting was called
to deal with this:
The Congress of Troppau It gathered a