History 1401E Lecture Notes - Lajos Kossuth, National Workshops, July Revolution
The Revolutions of 1848
Monday, November 29, 2010
Nationalism and Liberalism
In its earliest stages, nationalism was linked with the optimistic idea of
These twin forces led to anumber of dramatic uprisings across Europe.
The 1848 revolutions can be understood by two themes:
o The contention between the forces of liberalism and nationalism
o The struggle of various subject peoples for autonomy to gain
autonomy – particularly under the Austrian empire.
The important trigger was the events in France after the fall of Napoleon
France after Napoleon
o The Bourbon house was restored in 1814.
o Louis XVIII realized the need for a charter – a constitutional
o He accepted Napoleon’s civil code, and established a two house
An upper house, chosen by the king, and a lower house, elected
by an elite electorate.
This was only slightly democratic.
o These pleased few people – it left both the liberals and the royalists
o Louis dies in ’24, and is followed by Charles X – idiot.
o Charles was a reactionary – a leader of the royalists.
Essentially, he tries to undo the charters. By 1830, France was
once again on the verge of revolution.
He censored the press, and dissolved the legislative assembly
because it was dominated by liberals.
He tried to elect a new royalist house.
o July Revolution
Charles was forced to abdicate after the populous revolted – he
flees to England.
He is replaced with Louis-Phillipe – called the ‘Bourgeoisie
He adopted a middle-class image, and called himself the
King of the French – not of France.
This is indicative of the new power of the growing
His reign clearly favoured the upper middle class.
o France is now in the throws of its own Industrial Revolution.
o They now encountered the same growing working class and ills faced
in England earlier.
o There is a certain aspect of radicalism.
o After 1840, there was resistance to change – there was increasing
disconnect and tension between the legislators and those outside.
o The government’s resistence to reform made tensions worse. As well,
they were faved with economic troubles; essentially, Paris was a
hotbed of tension.
In 1848, these tensions came to a head.
Paris in 1848
The protestors held ‘Banquet’ – essentially protests.
The last one, on Feb 22, turns into a large-scale political riot.
From this, we see Louis-Phillipe abdicate and flee to England.
A provisional government is established.
Universal male suffrage is awarded, and this new constituent assembly
desires a new constitution.
o To solve the economic problems, there was a socialist solution – the
o These were nothing more than unemployment reliefs.
o By the 1840’s, there was massive unemployment – these National
Workshops were swamped, and proved very expensive.
Effects in Europe
By March, these disturbances had spread to Vienna, Prague, Berlin, and
Like France, central Europe was suffereing economic woes, rooted in
o They were part of the Austrian empire, and were touched by
o Louis Kossuth used the news of the French conflicts to spark the
Hungarian nationalist movement.
o He used the Paris uprising to demand independence from Austria, as
well as suggesting this for other parts of the Austrian empire.
o There were hopes that the Prussian king would at last provide a
constitution – the first step towards independence.
o Throughout Germany, the states were providing elections with the
goal of uniting Germany
o Frankfurt Assembly
It tried to declare itself the government of Germany, but
couldn’t agree on the definitions of the new German state.
Essentially, this attempt at unity failed.
o They withdrew from the Frankfurt Assembly
o However, the protest movements forced Metternich to flee to England.
Metternich was a conservative, opposed to much change.
He was largely anti-middle-class. He didn’t allow them to gain
the power that they were striving for.
o He is replaced by an electorate trying to replace him with a
o Italian revolutions began in January
o They began in Sicily and spread from there. They shared the same
theme – liberty for the people.
o Italian states were ruled by Austrian overlords – another example of
the subject peoples moving for autonomy.
Essentially, there is a great wave of constitutionalist nationalism that was
spreading across Europe, inspiring revolutions with this intent.
o There was a rift between the liberals of the National Assembly.
The moderates won out in the elections, followed by some
monarchists, and then the radicals.
o France is still suffering from the economic problems in spite of the
o They close these workshops – the workers take to the streets for 4
bloody days of conflict. This was a true class war.
o These ‘June Days’ represented the struggle of the working calss
against the bourgeoisie.
o The Second Republic
What was supposed to be the best outcome
It consisted of one house, universal male suffrage, regular
elections, all headed by a president.
It looks like we are all set…
o The republicans in the presidential election were overwhelmingly
defeated by the nephew of Napoleon – Louis Napoleon Bonaparte.
o He in turn declares himself Emperor of France within 4 years
o Essentially, these revolutions FAILED/
o These class struggles were used by the authorities to eradicate
o They played up middle class fears of the working class.
o October – the Viennese rebels were defeated.
o Emperor Ferdinand abdicated in favour of his nephew, Francis Joseph,
who crushed the Hungarian hopes by 1849.