Kyle La Barge
Define nationalism and liberalism. To what extent did the revolutions of 1848 support the ideas of nationalism and liberalism? Why in 1848 did revolution triumph briefly throughout most of Europe, and why did it fail almost completely?
Nationalism is the idea that each people had its own genius and specific unity, which was found most apparent in people with a common language and history. Nationalism often led to the desire for an independent political state. Liberalism is a view founded on the ideas of liberty and equality. Liberals wanted a representative government rather than an autocratic monarchy. Liberals also wanted individual freedoms such as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from arbitrary arrest (McKay, 691). These two powerful new ideologies of change, liberalism and nationalism, played a crucial role in the 1848 revolution that swept across Europe. In 1848, revolution triumphed because monarchies crumbled in the face of popular uprisings, but eventually failed when the nationalistic coalitions were weakened by their different opinions on the issues at hand. Prince Klemens von Metternich was a foreign minister to the multiethnic Austrian Empire. As a result of Austria’s diversity, national and liberal views were extremely threatening to the state. Metternich was afraid that liberalism and nationalism would divide his empire (McKay, 689). When liberal and national ideas entered the Austrian Empire, people started to demand written constitutions, representative government, and greater civil liberties. Revolts not only happened in the Austrian Empire, but across all of Europe. People were revolting against the monarchs that ruled the empire. Urban workers, students, middle-class liberals and peasants all united against the monarchs. These monarchs then broke down and granted nearly everything that the revolting people demanded, but in the...
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