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Lecture 10

Lecture 10, Oct 10, 2013.docx

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

Lecture 10, October 10, 2013 Midterm will cover topics from Napoleon to the Revolutions of 1848. Two parts. ID part: names, places, movements - access the importance, significance, consequences. Essay-type: major issues, access significance - have an introduction, thesis, prove your points by arguments, bring in as much evidence as possible. The Revolutions of 1848 The Springtime of Peoples & The Year of Barricades Nationalism and Liberalism became mainstream ideologies of the middle class, undermining the stability of the continent in social, political, and economic terms. Late February 1848 - a spring of Revolutions occurred in Europe that covered the entire continent. Nearly all central European states went through upheavals. Map. Revolutions occur in central Europe. Notably, during the first revolutionary wave of 1820s, the periphery of the continent was affected (Spain, Russia, Greece). Now - centre. • Why there? None of these places had any political representation, no liberalism. Also, industrialization was having its worst effects around this time: low standard of living, famine, unemployment. In Britain, Belgium, Sweden - timely reforms saved the states from upheavals. States that avoided the revolution: 1) The British understood the rising social tensions: after all, industrialization started earlier there, in the mid-18th century. By 1830s, great political instability existed in Britain. It became clear for the government that if they won't accommodate to the rising middle class they will have a revolution like the French one. One of the greatest reforms was introduced: 1832 - Reform act. Voting rights were extended to the cities and extension of franchise to now 3-4 % of the total population; this was still enough to satisfy the upper echelon of the new industrial middle class. So, political opposition to the state slowed down. The British read the situation correctly in the 1840s also. Again, one of the most important concessions occurred - getting rid of the Corn Laws in 1846 that had only one objective: to keep the landed aristocracy rich. The Corn Laws prevented imports of the cheap grain, which meant that the aristocracy would sell their grain at high prices and the lower classes could never buy enough bread. It was the industrialists who argued for cancellation of these laws, since cheaper grain would mean that they would have to pay lower wages to the workers to keep them satisfied. It took several years to implement this reform - landed aristocracy fought it tooth and nail. But - the industrialists were the new money. So, cheap foreign grain was allowed, by so doing illuminating the pressure from below and preventing the revolution in Britain. 2) In Belgium, political representation was also almost non-existent. The government had to offer a timely concession to the people. In February 1848, during the Revolution in France, Belgians were terrified that France, as always, will want to include them. Also, unemployment, starving masses, and recession contributed. So, the conservative government brought in liberal reforms. Revolutionaries, like Karl Marx, resided in Belgium at the time. By 1848, franchise was extended to 3% of the population. The upper-middle class was immediately satisfied. The lower classes were also kept happy. At the same time, many state projects were launched in Belgium to improve infrastructure, immediately employing hundreds of thousands of workers, thus avoiding the revolution. Any European government could have done that to avoid the revolution, but only a few were decisive enough to embrace liberal concessions. 3) Russia did not have a revolution at the time because it had virtually no middle class , liberalism was under political repression; no industrialization was underway yet. Millions of peasants-serfs are not enough to start a conflict that was led by the power of middle class. 4) Same reasoning
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