Revolutions of 1848

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The Revolutions
of 1848
Revolution in France
Revolution in Habsburg areas
Revolution in Germany
Revolution in Italy
Revolution in Poland
Society was cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror.
Alexis de Tocqueville, Recollections

The European Revolutions of 1848, in some countries known as the Spring of Nations or the Year of Revolution, were the bloody consequences of a variety of changes that had been taking place in Europe in the first half of the 19th century. In politics, both bourgeois reformers and radical politicians were seeking change in their nations' governments. In society, technological change was creating new ways of life for the working classes, a popular press extended political awareness, and new values and ideas such as nationalism and socialism began to spring up. The tinder that lit the fire was a series of economic downturns and crop failures that left many of the poor starving.

The result was a wave of revolution sweeping across Europe and raising hopes of liberal reform as far away as Brazil, where the rhetoric surrounding the Praieira revolt took many cues from European events, as did its thorough repression. Only the United Kingdom and Russia were missing: Russia had not yet a real bourgeois or proletarian class to initiate a revolution. In the United Kingdom, the middle classes had been pacified by general enfranchisement in the Reform Act of 1832, with the consequent agitations, violence, and petitions of the Chartist movement that came to a head with the petition to Parliament of 1848. The repeal of the protectionist agricultural tariffs called the "Corn Laws" in 1846 had defused some proletarian fervor. The United States remained profoundly isolated, increasingly involved in its own expansion and social ills; there, after a summer of European revolutions, the Free Soil Party in the November presidential election sufficed only to divide Democrats and bring the apolitical slave-holding career soldier General Zachary Taylor into office.

Although the revolutions were put down quickly, in their span there was horrific violence on all sides. Thousands were killed.

Although the immediate effects of the revolutions were short-term, there were lasting legacies.

See also

External links and references

fr:Le Printemps des peuples nl:Revolutiejaar 1848 pl:Wiosna Ludów ja:1848年革命 he:אביב העמים


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