22 February 2012
European History AP
The Success of the Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna, held in Austria from September 1814 to November 1815, was a conference held by prominent European powers of the day. The Quadruple Alliance, consisting of Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, enacted the congress in order to reinstate peace throughout Europe after the tiring Napoleonic Wars scourged the continent. The Napoleonic Wars had dragged unwilling countries into a financially and socially exhausting conflict, and the goal of the Congress of Vienna was to end this conflict and restore harmony to Europe. The Congress of Vienna was ultimately successful in accomplishing its goals of preventing a recurrence of the Napoleonic nightmare and arranging lasting peace.
The Congress of Vienna prevented a recurrence of the Napoleonic nightmare by restoring the borders of Europe that had existed before the Napoleonic Wars, and establishing the principle of legitimacy in Europe. The Quadruple Alliance forced France to regress to its pre-War geographical boundaries and allowed the borders of countries surrounding France to strengthen their boundaries. The kingdom of the Netherlands was reestablished in the north of France, Piedmont was restored in the south, Prussia was given important territories in the west, and Austria gained full control of northern Italy. The principle of legitimacy in Europe allowed for royal families who had ruled before the French Revolution to take back their previous power. The reign of only legitimate monarchs in Europe was intended to crush any notion of the republican and democratic ideals that were conceived during the French Revolution.
The Congress of Vienna attempted to arrange lasting peace by reestablishing the previous balance of power throughout Europe. This was done by enforcing the concept of conservatism within the nations, meaning that the Congress...