A History of World Societies,
Ideologies and Upheavals
In 1815, with Napoleon safely exiled
to the island of St. Helena, many Europeans looked forward to a more peaceful
century than the eighteenth century had been. Although there were no continent-wide
wars like those associated with Napoleon in the nineteenth century, Europe
was hardly at peace with itself. The consequences of the "dual revolution"-
industrialism and the ideology of the French Revolution-shaped European politics,
economics, and society. Few areas went untouched. The dual revolution perpetuated
ideas such as socialism, liberalism, and nationalism. Throughout the nineteenth
century, these ideas spread throughout the continent and produce monumental
struggles between defenders of the past and champions of reform.
Symbolic of this clash were the revolutions
of 1848. In that one year alone, most European societies underwent violent
upheavals as they struggled to come to terms with the consequences of the
dual revolution. The following activities will explore this important year
in European history. You will be asked to take a "grand tour" of
major European cities and witness the conflicts firsthand in order to better
grasp the ideologies and upheavals of the nineteenth century.
- You may want to begin by printing this page. As
you explore different sites, use the printout to refer back to the instructions
and questions detailed in each activity.
- On many web sites you can increase the size of
the images by clicking on them. Whenever possible, use the larger images
to examine fine details in photographs.
- Pretend that you are a respectable middle-class
British citizen planning a "grand tour" of Paris, Berlin, and
Buda and Pest (these two Hungarian cities on opposite sides of the Danube
River did not merge until 1873) in 1848. During the eighteenth century,
such visits were common among the aristocracy. Increasingly, these excursions
were more readily available to the rising middle classes during the nineteenth
century. You plan to visit museums, attend symphonies, and mingle with the
people. You are particularly interested in the new Romanticism
displayed in European art, music, and literature. You hope to view the artwork
Delacroix or listen to the music of Beethoven.
To listen to some of Beethoven's work, go to The
Classical Midi Archives: Beethoven, and click on one of the choices.
Before you leave, you will want to acquaint yourself with the contemporary
situation in Europe.
- You arrive in Paris in February. On February 22,
fighting broke out between Parisian mobs and King Louis Phillipe's army.
For an eye-witness account, go to Modern
History Sourcebook: Percy B. St. John: The French Revolution in 1848.
Who seems to be protesting? How does Louis Phillipe's government try to
quell these demonstrations? Why does this strategy lead to his abdication
on February 24?
- On February 24, a new Provisional Government declared
France a republic and began writing a new constitution. See "The Overthrow
of the Orleanist Monarchy," at Documents
of the 1848 Revolution in France. At the end of this document, the new
government tries to reclaim the spirit of the French Revolution in the 1790s
by adapting its famous goals of "liberty, equality, and fraternity."
Soon, however, the Provisional Government issued another proclamation, "Decrees
of the Provisional Government Relating to the Workingmen." You can
also read that document at Documents
of the 1848 Revolution in France. What promises did the new government
make to the working classes of Paris? Why do you think it felt compelled
to do so? Did the working class play a crucial role in the overthrow of
- The Provisional Government in France reflected
the growing influence of the working class in Europe. (To review this concept,
go to Activity Eight in the web activities for Chapter 24.) After the advent
of the industrial revolution, the working class had become a major political
force in certain parts of Europe. Indeed, a whole new ideology - socialism
- had emerged that expressed the aspiration of the working class. Socialism
did not oppose industrialism, just the inequality in wealth and opportunity
that it produced. Socialist philosophers advocated reforming society so
that workers would receive more justice.
- Many early socialists were actually from the middle
classes. For example, read about one British socialist reformer at Robert
Owen, 1771-1858. Why was Owen motivated to do something about the plight
of workers in the industrial revolution? How can you summarize his reform
efforts? Another early socialist was the Frenchman Charles Fourier. For
his view, see Modern
History Sourcebook: Charles Fourier: from Theory of Social Organization,
1820. How did Fourier plan for a more just society for workers? Were
his views similar to Owen's? Did their ideas pursue the general goals of
French revolutionaries in 1848? In other words, do they reflect the concepts
of "liberty, equality, and fraternity?
- Reread the "Decrees of the Provisional Government
Relating to the Workingmen" at Documents
of the 1848 Revolution in France. How did socialist ideas inspire these
policies adapted by the new French government? Write a letter to a friend
back in Britain reflecting your observations on this last question.
- On March 27, you continue your grand tour of Europe
by leaving Paris for Buda and Pest. You arrive in this city on March 31.
Although you hoped to leave the chaos of Paris behind, the revolutionary
fever has spread to this central European city. Hungarians are demanding
more autonomy from the Austrian Empire. Being British, you are probably
confused by the multinational and multiethnic nature of the Austrian Empire.
Go to Map:
Austrian Empire and locate the areas called Austria, Hungary, Bohemia,
Croatia, and Galacia. Now study Map 24.2 on page 766 of McKay, A History
of World Societies (Sixth Edition). Which ethnic groups dominated each
of these areas? What other ethnic minorities were present in each region?
What threat did the Hungarian uprising against the Hapsburg monarchs pose
for the future of their empire?
- To catch up on the events of March and April,
review pages 778-779 in McKay, A History of World Societies (Sixth
Edition) and examine 1848
Chronology -- Austrian Empire giving special attention to what happened
in Hungary. As you can see, the Hungarian revolt began in reaction to the
monarchy's attempt to govern the province from Vienna, the capital of the
empire. Which elements of Hungarian society resisted this effort? How did
this coalition of supporters affect the makeup of the new Hungarian regime
that was proclaimed in March and recognized by the emperor in April?
- Study the new Hungarian constitution at March Laws.
McKay, A History of World Societies (Sixth Edition) describes this
document as "extremely liberal, almost democratic." Which elements
of the new constitution were liberal? Which elements were democratic? Was
this document a true declaration of independence from the Austrian Empire?
- How similar were the revolts in Paris and Budapest?
Did the people in each city share similar aspirations? On the one hand,
both reflected liberal ideology. For a concise definition of liberalism,
read the first paragraph at Encarta
Online: Liberalism. Review "The Overthrow of the Orleanist Monarchy"
of the 1848 Revolution in France. How do the actions of the French and
Hungarian revolutionaries reflect the impact of liberalism on nineteenth-century
- The revolts in Hungary and France also differed
in that they reflected other emerging ideologies in Europe. Activity Four
explored the influence of socialism on the French revolt against Louis Phillipe.
Do you see any socialist influence on the March laws of the Hungarian Revolution?
The French and Hungarian revolts also reflect the growth of nationalism,
but in different ways. For a definition, see nationalism.
Nationalism began during the first French Revolution and supported the idea
that "loyalty to the king was replaced by loyalty to the fatherland."
How did nationalism influence the French and Hungarian revolutionaries?
Were the French revolting against their king to form a new country? How
about the Hungarians?
- After reflecting on these questions, write a letter
to a friend or family member back in Britain that summarizes your observations
of the early Hungarian revolt against the Austrian monarchy. Be sure to
discuss the influence of nationalism and liberalism.
- After several weeks in Budapest, you leave there
on April 27 and head for Berlin. Because of a relaxation in press censorship
and through your conversations with fellow passengers, you are able to piece
together information about what is going on in Europe in March and April.
Go to 1848
Timeline and make a list of all the regions in Europe where revolts
have begun against existing governments up until June. Who seems
to be the target of the revolutionaries? How have they been inspired by
the French and Hungarians?
- When you arrive in Berlin, the people's attention
is focused on events in Frankfort, a city that was a member of the Zollverein
but not part of the Prussian state. Go to The
German 1848 Revolution: A German Perspective and read the sections entitled
"Märzrevolution (the March Revolution)" and "The National
Assembly meets in St. Paul's Church." What had begun in Frankfort during
the spring of 1848? What factors contributed to the desire to create a German
nation state? Which elements in German society supported this aspiration?
What major issues divided them over how to create a large German nation
state? Upon reflection, write another letter to a friend or relative in
Britain that explains how the Revolution of 1848 was affecting the German
people. Be sure to discuss the influence of liberalism, socialism, and nationalism
on this revolution.
- You leave Berlin on June 15 for Bremen, where
you take a ship back home to Britain. After your return, you continue to
follow the events you witnessed while on your trip. By the summer of 1849,
most of the revolutions had run their course, and results were mixed. In
France, the revolution resulted in the election of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte,
the nephew of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, as president. See France:
Election of President. What factors do you think contributed to his
election? Did he have the support of all revolutionaries, such as the socialists?
Why do you think he appealed to such a broad segment of the French population
after the revolution?
- For the Hungarian revolt, go to 1848
Austria and scroll down to "The Magyar Revolt." The Hungarians
failed to secure their autonomy. How had the Austrian government thwarted
this goal? The Germans were equally unsuccessful at creating a modern German
nation state. See 1848:
Revolution and Reaction. What factors contributed to the failure at
German unity? Were all of the groups who supported it in agreement as to
what kind of nation state it should be?
- Overall, the revolutionaries of 1848 in Europe did not
achieve their goals. Socialists were unable to get socialist principles
written into new state constitutions, nationalists failed to create new
nation states, and liberals did not achieve all of their goals. Nevertheless,
in the long run, some of all three groups' goals were accomplished. For
example, go to Western
and Central European Chronology: The Age of Liberalism. As you read
through this list, keep track of all the developments that reflect the goals
of the revolutionaries of 1848. Would you agree that their efforts had a