(1814-1873) by Lance Wilson, Austen Tyryfter, and Cole Bachmeier

"The great questions of the day are decided. . . by blood and iron."- Otto von Bismarck

Following Napoleon's defeat in 1814, the countries of Europe met at the Congress of Vienna in September to discuss the restoration of the old order. The desired result was that the military and political powers of the countries would be balanced, so that no one country could dominate Europe as France had done. The results of the Congress of Vienna were based on conservatism. Conservatism is based on traditional values, such as the importance of religion in preserving societal order. They also preferred monarchies over democracies, and did not like revolutions, which upset the balance they saw in their views. These countries were strong supporters of hereditary monarchs, and revolutions were crushed in Spain and Italy by all other European powers except Great Britain, which did not believe in interfering with foreign affairs. On the other end of the spectrum was liberalism, which consisted of the need for people to be free of government restraints. These people believed in the freedom of speech, assembly, and press, as well as religious toleration and the separation of the church from the government. However, they were opposed to democracy, and believed that the right to vote should be contained to men who owned land. Another force at work during this time period was nationalism. Nationalism is a person's awareness of being in a nation of people with similar traditions and culture. In nationalism, and individual's loyalty is to the nation, not its ruler. Nationalism caused the unity of Germany and the attempt to separate Hungary from Austria. The other countries of Europe believed this would upset the balance of power created at the Congress of Vienna, and attempted to suppress it.

Both the forces of liberalism and nationalism led to revolutions in several countries. In 1830 a constitutional monarchy was set up in France. Around the same time Belgium declared independence from the Netherlands. The monarchy in France did not last long. As part of the Revolutions of 1848, the monarchy was overthrown, and an attempt at a republic was made. A new constitution with an elected legislature and elected president was ratified on November 4 of that year. The December elections declared Napoleon Bonaparte's nephew, Louis-Napoleon, as president. Revolutions also occured in the Austrian Empire. In March 1848, several of the races controlled by the Austrian Empire made known their desires for independence. The revolutionaries even took control of the capital and demanded a constitutional government. The Austrian rulers gave the Hungarians their own legislative body to appease the revolution, but they were still determined to maintain control over their empire. In June 1848, the military was sent to Prague, where it destroyed the Czech rebels. The ltalian provinces of Venetia and Lombardy also rebeled, but their attempt to create a unified Italy also failed. By the end of 1849, Austria had defeated all revolutionaries and taken control of their empire once again. Another revolution in 1848 occured in Germany. The German states created the Frankfurt Assembly to draft a constitution that would unite the German states. The constitution was created, but the German states did not accept it, and Germany remained a collection of small, separate states. The French Republic ended on December 2, 1852, when Louis-Napoleon took a public vote, known as a plebiscite, that requested the return of the country to an empire. Despite the loss of civil freedoms, Napoleon III's reign was popular because of the expanding economy. Napoleon III also rebuilt Paris so that it would have wide boulevards instead of narrow streets. This rebuilding's main purpose was to prevent rebellion. With wide roads and public squares rebels would not be able to create barricades, and the army would be able to quickly move through the streets and stop the revolts. When the French people spoke out against some of Napoleon's policies, he liberalized the government, allowing parliament more power.

Despite the failure of the Revolutions of 1848, the hope of a unified Germany and Italy was not gone. This was a result of the Crimean War. In the Crimean War, which began in 1853, Russia attempted to invade the northern provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Great Britain and France joined the fight against Russia because of their fear of the balance of power being upset. Russia suffered heavy losses however, and they signed the Treaty of Paris in March 1856, which gave the former Ottoman provinces of Moldova and Wallachia to joint control by the European nations. The balance of power, which was called the Concert of Europe, had been upset, for now Europe was against Austria, which refused to support Russia. Austria was then attacked by an alliance between the Kingdom of Piedmont and the French Empire in 1859. The result of the war with Austria was that Nice and Savoy would be given to France, and Lombardy would be given to Piedmont; Austria would retain control of Venetia. Over the following year, the Kingdom of Piedmont took control of much of the Italian peninsula. On March 17, 1861, the Kingdom of Italy was declared under Victor Emmanuel II. In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Italy allied with Prussia, and received Venetia as a reward after the Prussian victory. As a result of the Austrian defeat, Austria was forced to compromise its power and create a dual monarchy. The new nation was called Austria-Hungary. The two parts of the nation were separate in most aspects accept that they were ruled by the same emperor, Francis Joseph. In 1870, French troops withdrew from Rome to fight in the Franco-Prussian War, allowing Italy to annex Rome, which was made the capital of the new kingdom. Meanwhile, Prussia was unifying Germany. In order to increase the power of the army, King William I appointed Otto von Bismarck as the chancellor of Germany. Bismarck created a large and well-disciplined army. When Bismarck forced Austria into war on June 14, 1866, Austria was no match for the Prussians. They were defeated on July 3. The conquered states were organized into the Northern German Confederation. The southern German states allied with Prussia in 1870 for protection from France. On July 19, 1870, France declared war on Prussia. Like the Austrians, the French were no match for the Prussian army. On September 2, 1870, the Prussians captured an entire French army, as well as their leader, Napoleon III. During the war the southern German states agreed to join the Northern German Confederation. On January 18, 1871, ten days before the war ended, William I was made kaiser (emperor) of the Second German Empire, the successor to the Holy Roman Empire. The Franco-Prussian War ended when Paris surrendered on January 28, 1871; they were forced to give up Alsace and Lorraine to the new German state. The Second French Empire also fell as a result of the war.

Important European Nationalism People:

Abraham Lincoln
Czar Alexander II

William I of Prussia

Giuseppe Garibaldi


Charles X

Klemens von Metternich

Napoleon III

European Nationalism Terms:

Conservatism- A philosophy based on the tradition and social stability. Conservatives believed in obedience to political authority and believed that religion was crucial for the well-being of a society. Believers in this group hated revolutions and were unwilling to listen to people who wanted individual rights.
Liberalism- A political philosophy that was based largely on the Enlightenment principles. Liberals believed in protection of civil liberties, the basic rights of the people. Liberals also believed that these rights should be written down, like the Bill of Rights.
Principle of Intervention- A principle that granted the great powers the right to send armies into other countries where revolutions were happing. This was done in order to restore legitimate monarchs to their thrones.
Universal Male Suffrage- The idea that all adult men could vote. The French acted upon this idea when the monarch was overthrown in 1848. The provisional government called for an election to in place a Constituent Assembly, thus using universal male suffrage.
Abolitionism- A movement that was to end slavery. The United States had to very different opinions. The North, for example, wanted this to happen because they felt it was unconstitutional while the South needed workers for their plantations so they were for slavery. This sparked the American Civil War.
Emancipation- An edict that was issued by Czar Alexander II. This edict freed the serfs, the poor peasants. Peasants could now marry as they chose as well as own property. The government provided land for this people.
Militarism- A society that relied heavy on military strength. Countries such as Prussia were known for their militarism state. Countries that were militaristic often tried hardly to expand their land mass in all directions.
Realpolitik- “Politics of reality” or politics that were based on the practical matters rather than on ethics or theory. Otto von Bismarck was known for being a practitioner of the said practice. Bismarck was open about the people that opposed this.
Secede- A withdraw; a South Carolina convention broke apart first from the United States, or seceded. This led other Southern States to follow suit because they wanted to not be a part of Abolitionism. The states that seceded formed the Confederate States of America and fought the North.
Plebiscite- The most popular vote. The plebiscite for Louis-Napoleon’s restoration of the French Empire was 97 percent response of yes. This vote created Napoleon III, the new Emperor of France. Napoleon III had a son Napoleon II who never ruled.

View Congress of Vienna and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Key Dates

September 1814: The Congress of Vienna meets to discuss the restoration of the monarchies in Europe.
1830: France revolts against the monarchy, replacing it with a constitutional monarchy.
December 1848: Napoleon Bonaparte's nephew, Louis-Napoleon, is elected the French president.
December 2, 1852: A public vote is held, and a vast majority of people vote to return France to an empire.
1853: The Crimean War, in which Russia invades the Ottoman Empire, begins.
March 17, 1861: King Victor Emmanuel II is declared the ruler of the new Kingdom of Italy.
June 14, 1866: Otto von Bismarck forces Austria into a war, which they would eventually lose.
July 3, 1866: Austria is defeated in the Austro-Prussian War by the disciplined Prussian army.
July 19, 1870: France declares war on Prussia, beginning the Franco-Prussian War.
January 28, 1871: The Franco-Prussian War ends with the surrender of Paris; this ends the Second French Empire.


  1. Klemens von Metternich: A prince that was born in the Rhineland of Germany and later fled to Austria in 1794. He eventually joined the Austrian diplomatic service and he was made the foreign minister in 1809.
  2. Louis XVIII: he was appointed king by the congress of Vienna. His famous quote is “Sire, you are King of France”. “Have I ever ceased to be”! Louis XVIII tried to increase the king’s power during his reign.
  3. Charles X: The younger brother of Louis XVIII and the last of the bourbon kings of France. He tried to restore the absolute royal authority in France during his reign.
  4. Louis Phillipe: Also known as “Citizen King”. He was a Bourgeoisie Monarch. He was the 1st king to dress like the middle class. During his reign he was poor and he created a censorship that outlawed labor unions.
  5. Louis Napoleon: He was elected president on Dec. 10, 1848. The plebeian or popular vote by 97%. He was a champion of democracy because of the appeal to his Napoleon name. He eventually got captured and the second republic fell after the battle of Sedan.
  6. Charles Talleyrand: He was the French Foreign Minister. He was also part of the XYZ affair because he wanted bribes of $250,000 from U.S>.diplomats. This happened while John Adams was the U.S. President.
  7. Abraham Lincoln: He was elected president of the U.S. in 1860. He created the Emancipation Proclamation which proclaimed that the majority of the nation’s slaves shall be free.
  8. Guiseppe Garibaldi: He was Italian, he was very dedicated patriot who helped raise and army of a thousand volunteers called red shirts because of the shirts they wore.
  9. John Macdonald: He was the head of the Canada’s Conservative Party. He was also the first prime minister of the Dominion. He was influence in self-government.
  10. Louis Blane: He was the leader of the socialist party. His quote was “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.


This video summarizes the events that led to the Franco-Prussian War and the unification of Germany. The other describes the Congress of Vienna.


The map on the left shows Europe in 1860 before the unifications of Italy and Germany. The map on the right shows Europe after the unifications in 1871.

European Nationalism Links:

Klemens von Metternich This site explains Metternich was the leader of the congress or the Austrian foreign minister. It explains his role as a foreign minister as well as other roles he did throught his life. Finally, it explains his personal life such as his early life and his marriage.
Congress of Vienna This site explains exactly what the Congress of Vienna really was. It explained who all to a part in it, how long it was in use, and finally some of the acts that were passed. Finally, it explains that its final function was the Final Act, where a lot of land was split up.
Liberalism This site explains exactly what the political philosophy was and is. It explains the criticism and support for this philosophy. This site explains that liberalism is people should be free of government restraint.
Conservatism This site explains the philosophy that was conservatism. It states that conservatism is a philosophy that promotes traditional values and is opposed to abrupt changes in society. This link explains conservatism in many different countries around the world.
German Unification This site goes into great detail in explaining German's Unification. It explains key dates and other important information about it. Finally, it explains the struggles as well as external forces that influnced this event.
Giuseppe Garibaldi This site provides all the information on Giuseppe Garibaldi. It explains everything on him from his early life till his death. It has fairly good information and is fairly easy to navigate and find information throughout the site.
Abraham Lincoln This site explains everything Abraham Lincoln did. It goes into depth about he different acts and laws he set in place to remove slavery ect. It is full of information and is a great site if you want to learn everything about Abraham Lincoln.
Louis XVIII This site goes into great detail of Louis XVIII and his reign, it provides all the essential information plus lots of other little tidbits about him. It is full great information and is fairly easy to navigate through the whole site.
Charles X This site explains everything that Charles X does during his reign. It goes into great detail of everything he did. It also explains how he became ruler after Louis XVIII. This site is full of information and is a little bit harder to navigate through.
Overview This site just provides a general explanation of what happened during the European Nationalism. It does not really go into detail about anything but it provides enough information to give you a general understanding of what happened. It is really easy to navigate through and its the best overview out there.