Metternich System

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  • Topic: Congress of Vienna, Concert of Europe, 19th-century diplomatic conferences
  • Pages : 6 (2251 words )
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  • Published : November 20, 2012
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“France made its revolutions and gave them their ideas, to the point where a tricolor of some kind became the emblem of virtually every emerging nation, and European (or indeed world) politics between 1789 and 1917 were largely the struggle for and against the principles of 1789, or the even more incendiary ones of 1793.” The principles of the French revolution lived on in every European continent; the French Revolution poured out its ideas and sent shock waves throughout Europe. Therefore this phenomenon together with the period of enlightenment, contributed to the rise of consciousness and of antagonism against the “Ancien Regime” (a general term for ‘The Old Order’ in Europe before the French Revolution of 1789, when most countries were ruled by absolute monarchs and the aristocracy were the dominant class). The Bourgeoisie class took full advantage of this period to bring across their needs and Ideologies but was rarely at the forefront of the revolution as the peasants were usually causing the riots. The Bourgeoisie played a more underlying role in this revolution. The people within the perimeters of the European wanted nationalism and liberalism. Napoleon Bonaparte also known as the “little corporal” came and restored stability and glory to France , “He was the man of the Revolution, and the man who brought stability.” Napoleon brought the French Revolution to its conclusion when he entered the French arena to restore peace by putting an end to the “Reign of Terror “and extinguishing the fire of the Bourgeoisie . His megalomaniac personality and ambitious thirst for battles made France a great power in Europe. This was illustrated in the series of battles he won, “Napoleon fought about sixty battles in his career and won all but a few of them, he rose to power because of his victories and fell because of his defeats.”

Metternich’s influence came about before the end of Napoleon’s regime. “Metternich was first appointed foreign minister in 1809 the Habsburg Empire was at its lowest point in its struggle against Napoleon. The French leader had forced the Empire out of its northern Italian territories, taken over the Austrian Netherlands and subsumed the Habsburg parts of Poland into the Duchy of Warsaw. Habsburg domination of Germany had also been smashed as a result of the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. This was a particularly powerful psychological blow to the dynasty’s sense of self worth: the Habsburgs had been Holy Roman Emperors for almost all of the previous 400 years and suddenly it no longer existed. To add insult to injury, this particular act of Napoleonic modernisation changed the title of the Habsburg Emperor from Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, to Francis I, Emperor of the remaining Habsburg dominions. One of the few times in history that a monarch has been devalued.” Napoleon was defeated in 1815, after which the initiative was taken through the employment of the Vienna Congress of 1814-1815, to restore political stability to the fragile European which Napoleon had compromised. The Vienna Congress was chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, its objective was to address issues which arose out of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. This settlement lead to the redrawing of the continental map, in so doing establishing new boundaries of France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italian territories and Napoleon’s duchy of Warsaw. In 1815 when Napoleon failed to reassert his influence over Europe, the Congress of Vienna to all intensive purposes coped well with this problem. The Second Treaty of Paris further punished the French by reducing her borders to that of 1790, enforcing a large indemnity on her as well as forcing her to give back the stolen art pillaged from European Cities. This was a just punishment for France who had supported and welcomed Napoleon’s return. Additionally the Congress was against liberalism and nationalism which infiltrated into other European states from the...
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