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The February Revolution In France Essay

1031 words - 5 pages

The February Revolution in France

The February Revolution in France gave impetus to a series of revolutionary explosions in Western and Central Europe. However the new French Republic did not support these movements. The stage was set when the unrest caused by the economic effects of severe crop failures in 1846--47 merged with the discontent caused by political repression of liberal and nationalist aspirations. In the German states, popular demonstrations and uprisings (Feb.--Mar., 1848) led to the dismissal of unpopular ministers and the calling of a national parliament to draft a constitution for a united Germany. While the constitution was debated at length, rulers of the German ...view middle of the document...

The results of the uprisings were the spread of parliamentary governments, the extension of manhood suffrage in France (and briefly in Austria), the abolition of manorialism in Central Europe, the beginnings of the German and Italian unification movements, and the establishment of Hungary as an equal partner with Austria under Hapsburg rule.

Revolutions of 1848 were a series of violent uprisings in European countries where attempts at economic and political change had proven unsuccessful. The revolutions were initiated by members of the middle class and nobility who began demanding constitutional and representative governments and by workers and peasants who revolted against developing capitalist practices that were resulting in greater poverty. Participating in the revolutions were Poles, Danes, Germans, Italians, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Croats and Romanians who demanded self-determination from the empires that dominated them. Although governmental changes achieved by the revolutions of 1848 were short-lived, the revolutions influenced the course of European government in the long term by undermining the concept of absolute monarchy and establishing an impetus for liberalism and socialism.
Revolution first erupted on February 22, 1848 in France, where supporters of universal suffrage and the socialists, led by Louis Blanc, overthrew King Louis Philippe and established the Second Republic. However, differences within the new government over political and economic reforms led to bloody street battles in Paris. At the end of 1848 Louis Napoleon, was elected president. The February revolution in France sparked movements for unification in several German and Italian states. Liberals in the German states proposed the formation of an elected national parliament for a united Germany. But the provisional government could not decide on a form for the new Germany, and the old order was restored.
Growing nationalism among the Czechs, Hungarians, Germans and other groups under the control of the Austrian empire led to rioting. The news from Paris inspired popular demonstrations that drove the conservative minister Klemens von Metternich from office. A sequence of German liberal reform ministries followed, but the other nationalities within the Austrian Empire wished to control...

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