Revolution and the Reimposition of Order
Chapter XII. Sections 58-62 pp. 500-541
“Never before or since has Europe seen so truly universal an upheaval as in 1848....In 1848 the revolutionary
movement broke out spontaneously from native sources from Copenhagen to Palermo and from Paris to Budapest.
Contemporaries sometimes attributed the universality of the phenomenon to the machinations of secret societies...but
the fact is that revolutionary plotters had little influence upon what actually happened....Many people wanted
substantially the same things--constitutional government, the independence and unification of national groups, an end to
serfdom and manorial restraints where they still existed. With some variation, there was a common body of ideas among
politically conscious elements of all countries....But...[it] lacked basic driving strength. It failed almost as
rapidly as it succeeded. Its main consequence, in fact, was to strengthen the more conservative forces that viewed all
revolution with alarm. Revolutionary ideals succumbed to military repression....the governments of the 1850s and
1860s, while hostile to revolution, satisfied some of the aims of 1848, notably in national unification and
constitutional government with limited representation, but they did so in a mood of calculated realism, and
while asserting their own authority....[The] prophets of a new society also became more realistic, as when Karl
Marx...offered his own views as hard-headed and ‘scientific.’”
58. Paris: The Specter of Social Revolution in the West
A. The “February” Revolution in France
1. The July Monarchy of Louis Philippe represented only the upper bourgeoisie and was filled with graft and
corruption. Liberals wanted more voting rights; radicals wanted universal suffrage and a republic. The king
and Guizot, his prime minister, failed to ally with the liberals and obtusely opposed any change. An order
forbidding a banquet of reformers brought barricades in working-class Paris. A demonstration led to the death
of 20 demonstrators, the city rose in rebellion, and Louis Philippe fled to England.
2. A Republic was now proclaimed, a “provisional government” established with such leaders as the
socialist Louis Blanc and the poet Lamartine. Blanc wanted “national workshops”--state supported,
collectivist shops, but bourgeois opposition prevented their effective use, with a political enemy of
Blanc chosen as their head. They were used only for unemployment relief--as the number of legitimate
unemployed rose rapidly.
3. The Constituent Assembly, elected by universal male suffrage, formed a new executive board--no
socialists, since France in general was bourgeois and peasant. Thus again came the split of Paris/France,
but unlike 1783, Paris was much larger--and had 200,000 unemployed.
B. The “June Days” of 1848
1. The National Workshops had effectively mobilized the workers. In May they attacked the Assembly, but
order was restored by the National Guard. When the Assembly tried to end the Workshops, the laboring
class resisted; martial law was declared under Gen. Cavaignac and the regular army. The “ Bloody June
Days” of June 24-26 followed, with 10,000 casualties and 11,000 deported. “It was widely understood
that a class war had in fact broken out. Militant workers were confirmed in a hatred and loathing of the
bourgeois class....People above the laboring class were thrown into a panic.”
2. In England the Chartists acted--especially the violent minority. Clashes occurred in Liverpool and
elsewhere; plans for barricades and arson were made. Special constables were sworn in, but were
not needed; most Chartists were peaceful--and a secret organizer in London was a government spy
(agent provocateur?). The idea of insurrection collapsed, but the fear led to moderate responses.
C. The Emergence of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
1. The Constituent Assembly of France drafted a Republican constitution calling for a strong President
elected by u.m.s. to be elected immediately. Four candidates came forth: Lamartine, Cavaignac, and
Louis Napoleon, nephew of Nappy. LNB was elected with 80% of the votes.
2. LNB had become head of the Bonaparte family when Nappy’s son died. He had attempted two minor
putsches, ridiculous attempts to seize power to restore the “glory of the empire.” He had been a
Carbonari and had vaguely expressed liberal political and social ideas. He was seen as a friend of the
common man and the representative of order. But the key to his election was his name.
3. The Second Republic now elected a new Legislative Assembly. As in 1797, the majority were
monarchists, but they were divided into irreconcilable factions. One-third were republicans, divided
between 180 socialists and 70 old-line republicans. After an abortive insurrection in June of 1849, the
Assembly ousted 33 socialists and suppressed public meetings and the press, and took away the vote
from the poorest. Schools were put under the supervision of the Catholic clergy, to rally religion to “save
society.” Troops were sent to Rome to protect the Pope from rebels. LNB now placed his men as heads
of War and Interior (police), and in 1851 he sprang his coup d’etat. The Assembly was dissolved. After
brief fighting, LNB was elected president for a term of 10 years by a great majority, and a year later
he became Emperor Napoleon III.
59. Vienna: The Nationalist Revolution in Central Europe and Italy
A. The Austrian Empire in 1848
1. Austria was divided: Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary with a dozen linguistic and ethnic groups: Germans,
Czechs, Magyars, Poles, Ruthenians, Slovaks, Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Dalmatians, Rumanians,
Italians. Some were intertwined, some in blocks. Austria controlled two major segments of Italy, Venice
and Milan (Lombardy). Germans dominated, but the Magyars had heir pride and the Slavs their dreams.
Austria was dominant in the German Confederation, and Florence (Tuscany) and the Two Sicilies were
under Austrian control.
2. The problem was persistent feelings of cultural nationalism, and the Austrian leadership evaded the issue.
Only Piedmont-Sardinia had an independent policy; Italy was only a “geographical expression,” said
Metternich. Metternich opposed any cultural nationalism or liberal reformism; “a reigning house, with
an official bureaucracy, should rule benevolently over peoples with whom it need have no connection
and who need have no connection with each other”-- ideas best suited to an 18th century agricultural
B. The March Days
1. News of the February Revolution in Paris brought Magyar nationalist Louis Kossuth to the fore in
Hungary. His speech in Budapest was soon heard in Vienna, where it brought an insurrection that drove
Metternich from power. Rioting in Berlin led the king of Prussia to promise a constitution, and lesser
German governments fell soon. Hungary claimed autonomy within the Empire, and equivalent status
was granted to Bohemia by emperor Ferdinand. Milan and Venetia declared their independence, and
the people of Florence declared their republic. The king of Piedmont-Sardinia, who had granted a
constitution, declared war on Austria and invaded north Italy. Italian unity seemed certain.
2. “Patriots everywhere demanded liberal government and national freedom--written constitutions,
representative assemblies, responsible ministries, an extended suffrage, restrictions upon police action, jury
trial, civil liberty, freedom of press and assembly [and]...serfdom was declared abolished.”
C. The Turning of the Tide after June
1. In general, the revolutionaries were poorly organized; they were men of ideas, not spokesmen or powerful
interests. Workers were not politically conscious , angry, or organized; they soon separated into factions.
The army was the key, with noble officers and peasant troops.
2. In May, the Germans had called an all-German assembly for Frankfort; the Czechs replied with n all-Slavic
assembly in Prague in June. The Czech assembly was profoundly anti-German--but not anti-Austrian nor anti-
Habsburg. The main problem was Bohemia, divided between the Sudeten Germans and the Czechs.
When a Czech insurrection broke out, the Austrian army under Windischgrätz ended both it and the
Slavic congress. The following month, Radetsky decisively defeated the Italian forces and hopes of
Italian independence ended. The Hungarian movement soon followed. It had been based totally on
Magyar nationalism--feelings strongly resented by Slovaks, Rumanians, Serbs, and Croatians. A pro-
Habsburg army moved against the Magyars.
3. In Vienna, a mass insurrection forced Emp. Ferdinand to flee. But it was too late; Windischgrätz crushed the
rebellion. The forces of counter-revolution--the landed nobility, the Catholic clergy, and the army-- cleared
the past by forcing the abdication of Ferdinand and bringing Francis Joseph to the throne.
D. The Final Outburst and Repression, 1849
1. Riots, insurrections continued in 1849--Germany, Rome. Mazzini established a republic in Rome and
Kossuth declared Hungary independent; P-Sardinia attacked again. The Austrian army crushed Italy,
with Russian troops called to stop the Hungarians. Pius IX, once liberal, now turned reactionary and
2. Austria became repressive under the Bach (Min of the Interior) system: the government was rigidly
centralized, peasants were emancipated, internal trade barriers were ended, administrative efficiency
was increased. But it really consisted of “‘a standing army of soldiers, a sitting army of officials, a
kneeling army of priests, and a creeping army of informers.’”
60. Frankfurt and Berlin: The Question of a Liberal Germany
A. The German States
The Frankfurt Assembly met from May 1848 to May 1849 to bring a liberal, constitutional government to a
united Germany. It was made possible by the collapse of the existing German governments in the March days
of 1848. Germany was composed of 39 independent obstacles to unifications--the states recognized by