The Revolutionaries of 1848-49 achieved nothing. To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Since 1815 Europe had been undergoing massive economic expansion new methods of production brought in by the industrial era had caused economic disturbance and overexpansion in cities. Unemployment was high especially among artisans and craftsmen. A massive problem industrially was overproduction and the result of this was employers compensating by production curbing and so unemployment rose and wages were reduced meaning the industrial crisis was closely linked with the agricultural crisis which throughout the 1840’s had caused millions of deaths. The potato famine in Ireland caused a backlash on the German people coupled with the failure of the grain harvest in places such as Switzerland and Hamburg. This persisted and caused steep rises in the price of food and in the ‘German states this was averaged at a 50% increase between 1844 and 1847.’ So the elements of discontent came together in a clash of deprivation, desperation and discontent, the clashing of high food prices and low wages caused widespread hardship, the amount of bankruptcies multiplied and businesses were unstable and money from the government could not be spent to save the ailing industries as it was being input into importing food into the country to balance the agricultural failure. These hardships were the cause of some of the following revolutions because even though they happened in the time after the European crisis in the following prosperity the memories of the hardships suffered during the period were too hard to forget even though some countries were appeased others couldn’t move on and the revolutionary spirit survived and lay waiting to be kindled by the opportune moment.
The centre from which all revolutions spread was from France not because of the revolutionary strength but because of the weaknesses of the monarchy at the time. In March 1848 the procrastination of the government to improve conditions in France after the European crisis caused revolutionaries to have free reign in instilling revolutionary feeling in France and ‘Revolutionary Banquets’ took place these banquets were not threatening to the government as they currently were just a talking shop. However the way that the government dealt or the lack of the way they were dealt with caused them to gain widespread attraction and they then advertised them by trying to prevent them. Louis tries to regain control but by now the country is too far gone and even when he dismisses Guizot the man whom all the hatred was aimed at that was not enough and it caused even more trouble which ultimately led to the fall of the French monarchy. A crowd on the 23 Feb set out to Guizot’s official residence but encountered file of soldiers and a massacre ensued this enraged the people and on the 24th Louis abdicates. The French revolution and its aftermath had left the aristocracy of Europe in a fearful state dreading the day of a working class revolt, as they had seen the ease at which people like themselves had been led to the guillotine. This fear developed to the thought of lower class workers having any sort of power in the government and in response to this a wave of conservatism spread among monarchs and their states. To prevent the workers from obtaining more power conservatives supported a restoration of strongly hierarchical governments. The idea of “von Gotten Gnaden” (king by the grace of God) found new life as monarchies were restored throughout Europe in wake of the French Revolution. Also in Germany the social and economic situation was giving cause to a lot of revolutionary feeling as increasing numbers of rural labourers moved from the countryside into German cities to find jobs in newly created industries. The early industrial revolution was associated with great hardships and the German confederation was not spared its growing pains. Fourteen hour days were common, as were...
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