In What Ways and to What Extent Did the Aims and Policies of the Great Powers in the Vienna Settlement Shape Europe Until 1852?

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The Congress of Vienna attempted to set Europe straight following the disruption caused by French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic imperialism within Europe itself. All European powers of any considerable size were invited to participate, including "defeated" France. Mercurial French statesman Talleyrand, priest, revolutionary, official under Napoleon, and in all regards a powerful representative of the French nation, was given a serious role at the Congress. Austrian minister Prince Clemens von Metternich played the key role in Vienna. His conservative (perhaps reactionary) actions and views made him the dominant European continental spokesmen of post-French Revolutionary conservatism. Irishman and British parliamentary figure Edmund Burke was the leading representative of English conservatism in this epoch. Among other things, conservatives sought to ease European imperialist competition in Europe itself. The delegates at the Congress of Vienna (1814 - 1815) were motivated to a large degree by the desire to benefit Europe as a whole, reflected in the purpose in calling the Congress together and the settlement reached at Vienna in 1815. National interest was modified for the sake of the general interest of Europe. The Congress of Vienna, held in order to sketch out a plan to alter Europe politically and territorially, aimed to prevent the extensive expansion of any one great power, such as that Napoleon had brought about. Reinstating conservative regimes, finding a balance of power among powerful European nations, containing France and reaching an agreement to cooperate with each other are goals of the Congress, and illustrate the altruistic attitude of the national representatives present and supported the overall purpose of preventing future widespread conflict. Although separate ambitions of the winners at the Congress to gain territory were mostly fueled by naked self-interest, all were forced to compromise in order to establish a balance of...
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