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The Defense of the Old Regime, 1815–48 459

Illustration 24.1

— The Congress of Vienna. The peace congress following the

defeat of Napoleon was also one of the most glittering assemblies

in the history of the European nobility. The statesmen portrayed

here redrew the map of Europe in between balls, while other aristocrats celebrated in a party that lasted for months. Prince Met-

ternich, who dominated European affairs for the next generation,

is the dandy in tight white breeches standing at left. Lord Castlereagh, whose party life would soon lead him to suicide, is seated

at center with legs crossed. Prince Talleyrand sits at right with his

arm on the table and his crippled foot hidden.

respect for Louis XVI’s son who had died in prison. The

allies considered Louis XVIII a member of the counterrevolutionary coalition, so France lost recently annexed

territory (such as Belgium) but kept the borders of 1792

without losing older provinces (such as Alsace).

These treaties were secondary issues to the allies,

who wanted to reconsider the entire map of Europe and

restore the prerevolutionary order. Representatives

from hundreds of states assembled in Vienna in 1814

for this peace congress and to celebrate the end of the

revolutionary era (see illustration 24.1). The decisions

of the Congress of Vienna were made by the four

strongest allies. The most influential statesman was the

foreign minister of Austria, Prince Klemens von Metternich. He was a native of the Rhineland, and he had

been raised in the French language, which he spoke at

home; Metternich only entered Austrian service after a

French army drove him from his Rhenish estates in

1794. His ideas, however, won the confidence of the

emperor of Austria, Francis I; they agreed that revolu-

tionary ideas were “moral gangrene.” Francis trusted

Metternich to maintain a world with “no innovations”

(see document 24.1). Enlightenment was so unwelcome, wrote the poet Heinrich Heine, that he should

be remembered as “Prince Mitternacht” (midnight).

The allies shared variants of Metternichian conservatism. Britain was represented by the foreign secretary

of a conservative government, Viscount Castlereagh.

He was such a forceful spokesman for the aristocratic

cause that the poor of London lined the streets to cheer

his funeral procession. Prussia was represented by

Prince Karl von Hardenberg who earned a reputation

for liberalism for Prussian domestic reforms but who

defended Prussian interests and international order with

tenacity. The czar of Russia, Alexander I, the most complex and intelligent monarch of the age, often chose to

represent Russia in negotiations himself. These counts,

viscounts, dukes, and princes stated a guiding philosophy for the Congress of Vienna: the principle of legitimacy. Every province in Europe should be returned to

460 Chapter 24

[ DOCUMENT 24.1 [

Metternich: The Conservative’s Faith (1820)

Prince Klemens von Metternich (1773–1859) was the Austrian foreign minister for nearly half a century, from 1809 to 1848. He was the

most influential statesman in post-Napoleonic Europe, and he shaped

the peace treaties of 1815, the postwar alliance system, and the antiliberal domestic policies of the age. The following document, which he sent

to the emperors of Austria and Russia in 1820, explains his conservative values and his reasons for his policies.

Kings have to calculate the chances of their very existence

in the immediate future; passions are let loose and league

together to overthrow everything which society respects as

the basis of its existence: religion, public morality, laws, customs, rights, duties are all attacked, confounded, overthrown, or called in question. The great mass of people are

tranquil spectators of these attacks and revolutions. . . . It is

principally the middle class of society which this moral

gangrene has affected, and it is only among them that the

real heads of the party [of revolution] are found. . . .

We are convinced that society can no longer be saved

without strong and vigorous resolutions on the part of the

its legitimate ruler, and the people of each province

should be restored to their place in the legitimate (Old

Regime) social order.

In theory, the doctrine of legitimacy meant the

recreation of pre-1789 frontiers, monarchies, and social

systems—the divinely ordained order. In reality, the decisions made at Vienna stemmed from self-interest (see

map 24.1). Compensation was a truer name for the philosophy of the congress, and the four allies each annexed territory without a pretense of legitimacy. Whole

regions of Europe—such as Belgium, Genoa, Lombardy, Norway, Poland, and Saxony—became the

pawns of the great powers. Russia kept Finland (which

it had annexed during the war) and gained most of

Poland. The Russian concession to legitimacy was to

give “Congress Poland” its own constitution. Prussia annexed half of neighboring Saxony and several small

states in the Rhineland. This changed the course of

European history because an enlarged Prussia acquired

great industrial potential and a presence in western


Britain and Austria demanded compensation to balance the gains of the Prussians and Russians. This led to

Governments. . . in establishing the principle of stability,

[which] will in no wise exclude the development of what

is good, for stability is not immobility. . . .

Union between the monarchs is the basis for the policy which must now be followed to save society from total

ruin. . . : Respect for all that is; liberty for every Government to watch over the well-being of its own people; a

league of all Governments against all factions in all states;

contempt for the meaningless words which have become

the rallying cry of the factious;. . . refusal on the part of

every monarch to aid or succour partisans under any mask

whatever. . . .

We are certainly not alone in questioning if society

can exist with the liberty of the press. . . . Let the monarchs in these troublous times be more than usually

cautious. . . .

Metternich, Klemens von. Memoirs of Prince Metternich, 5 vol., trans.

Mrs. Alexander Napier. New York: Scribner’s, 1880–1882.

a two-against-two stalemate until the four powers asked

a fifth diplomat to join them—Louis XVIII’s foreign

minister, Prince Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand.

Talleyrand had served the Old Regime as a bishop, the

French Revolution as a legislator, and Napoleon as a

diplomat, so he was comfortable when self-interest was

more important than principle. He supported Britain

and Austria, so they, too, received compensation. The

British took new colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Americas plus strategic islands, such as Malta; they also insisted that a friendly state (but not a great power)

control the lowlands from which an invasion of England might be launched. Consequently, the predominantly Protestant, Dutch-speaking Netherlands

annexed the Catholic, predominantly French-speaking

region of Belgium. The Habsburgs had previously ruled

this region (then known as the Austrian Netherlands),

so Austria took compensation in northern Italy: Lombardy and the Republic of Venice.

Even after their mutual aggrandizement, the great

powers did not follow the principle of legitimacy. They

did not resurrect the Holy Roman Empire, which had

confederated two hundred German states in central

The Defense of the Old Regime, 1815–48 461



Se a


















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Da n u





















New Lanark

St. Petersburg



Black Sea

B a le a r







ic Is

750 Kilometers









T a u r u s M t s.

500 Miles

Boundary of the

Germanic Confederation


Mediterranean Sea



MAP 24.1

Europe after the Congress of Vienna, 1815 —

Europe until Napoleon abolished it in 1806. Instead, the

allies restored only thirty-nine German states, linked in

a loose German Confederation with a weak Diet at

Frankfurt. The dispossessed rulers kept their titles, their

personal estates, and good reasons to doubt the meaning of legitimacy. Italians had their own reasons to

question the validity of that principle. Lombards and

Venetians discovered that they were legitimate Austrians; the Genoese learned that their historic government

was not legitimate because it had been a republic; and

others, such as the Tuscans, found that their legitimate

rulers were members of the Habsburg family.

Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his lenient exile

on Elba in March 1815 and returned to France during

these negotiations. Louis XVIII fled and his army defected to Napoleon, but the allies rejected Napoleon’s

claim to the throne and assembled armies in Belgium

under the duke of Wellington, who had defeated

Napoleon’s armies in Spain. A combination of British

and Prussian armies defeated Napoleon outside Brussels

at Waterloo, and his reign of one hundred days ended

with harsher settlements. Napoleon became a British

prisoner of war, and they held him under house arrest

on the island of St. Helena until his death in 1821. A

Second Peace of Paris made the French pay for accepting Napoleon’s return. France lost more Rhineland territory to Prussia and more of Savoy to the Kingdom of

Piedmont-Sardinia, had to pay an indemnity of 700

million francs, and endured the military occupation of

northeastern France until it was paid.

The Conservative Alliance and the Congress System

After the difficult negotiations at Vienna and the shock

of the Hundred Days, the allies resolved to protect

their newly restored order. Alexander I, who was attracted to religious mysticism, proposed a Holy Alliance in which they would pledge to act according to

the teachings of the Bible. Most statesmen agreed with

Castlereagh that this was “sublime nonsense” (one

called it a “holy kiss”), but they promised to act “conformably to the words of the Holy Scriptures.” In case

that did not work, they also renewed the Quadruple Alliance against French armies and French ideas. Austria,

Britain, Prussia, and Russia pledged “to employ all their

means to prevent the general tranquility from again being disturbed.”

462 Chapter 24

The allies also protected the conservative order by

planning regular meetings to discuss international problems. This led to a series of small congresses, also

shaped by Metternich, during the next decade. In 1818

a congress met at Aachen to recognize that the French

had paid the indemnity and to welcome the government of Louis XVIII into a Quintuple Alliance to maintain the status quo. A more important congress met in

1820 at Troppau, where the three eastern powers (Austria, Prussia, and Russia) adopted the Troppau Protocol,

asserting the right of the allies to intervene in smaller

countries if the conservative order were threatened. A

congress of 1821 used this principle to justify an Austrian invasion of the Italian states to suppress radical

rebels. The congress system faced a difficult decision in

1822 when a liberal revolution occurred in Spain. The

Troppau Protocol called for armed intervention to

crush the revolution, but that meant a French invasion

of Spain. The allies decided that they were less afraid of

a French army than of a French constitution and accepted the ironic position of cheering French military


Protecting the Old Order: Religion

The conservatism of the post-1815 world is especially

clear in the religious revival of that era. After an age in

which philosophes satirized churches and the educated

classes became skeptics, after a revolution in which

churches were closed and their property seized, after an

economic revolution that dechristianized many workers, and after a cynical conqueror imprisoned the pope

and used religion as an instrument of political policy,

many Christians were eager for their own restoration of

old values and institutions.

The Vatican was a leader of the new conservatism.

Pope Pius VII had slept in French jails during the revolutionary era and now retaliated against French ideas.

He restored the Jesuit order, reestablished the Inquisition, and reconstituted the Index of prohibited books.

Catholics were forbidden to believe that the Earth rotated around the Sun or to read Gibbon’s The Decline and

Fall of the Roman Empire. In the papal states, Pius annulled

Napoleonic laws of religious toleration and reintroduced persecution of the Jews, who were returned to

the ghetto and compelled to attend mass once a week.

Pius ended freedom of speech and the press, outlawing

statements of heresy, radicalism, or immorality. His

criminal code permitted torture but outlawed vaccinations and street lighting as radical innovations.

Pope Pius VIII continued this effort to return to the

Old Regime. As he explained in the encyclical Traditi

humilitati nostrae (1829), the church must combat secularizatism in all its forms, including public schools, civil

marriage, and divorce. Catholics must return to a religion based upon faith and Christian mysteries. A leading Catholic intellectual, the viscount René de

Chateaubriand, had championed this in The Genius of

Christianity (1802). Christians, Chateaubriand argued,

must reject rationalism because it rejected religious

mysteries: “It is a pitiful mode of reasoning to reject

whatever we cannot comprehend.”

Even political liberals embraced religious conservatism in some countries. In Spain, liberals fought an

obsessively religious monarch, King Ferdinand VII,

who was so devout that he personally embroidered

robes for statues of the Virgin Mary in Spanish shrines.

Yet Spanish liberals shared his religious beliefs. When

they imposed a constitution in 1820, they rejected religious freedom. Article 12 said simply, “The religion of

the Spanish nation is, and shall be perpetually, Apostolic Roman Catholic, the only true religion. The nation protects it by wise and just laws and prohibits the

exercise of any other religion whatsoever.”

A somewhat different conservatism characterized

Protestantism. Evangelical churches (especially Pietists

in Lutheran countries and Methodists elsewhere) denounced the evils of the modern world and taught obedience to established authority, as did the Vatican.

Methodist governing statutes stated: “None of us shall,

either in writing or in conversation, speak lightly or irreverently of the government.” Prince Metternich could

not have said it better. Even hymns could be counterrevolutionary: “The rich man in his castle, The poor

man at the gate, God created both of them, And ordered their estate.” An evangelical “awakening” swept

Britain, the north German states, and Scandinavia and

even won converts in such Catholic regions as Belgium,

Switzerland, and France. This development was so important that some historians have argued that the

spread of Methodism in the British working class was a

reason why Britain never experienced a major revolution during industrialization.

Protestants stressed another element in conservatism: Puritanical restrictions upon behavior. Evangelicals insisted upon strict sexual morality, campaigned for

the prohibition of alcoholic beverages, and fought blasphemous language. The most famous illustration of the

Protestant effort to supervise morals is the work of Dr.

Thomas Bowdler and his sister Harriet. The Bowdlers

worked so avidly to censor immoral literature that they

The Defense of the Old Regime, 1815–48 463

left their name behind for expurgated (bowdlerized)

works. They abridged Shakespeare to produce The Family Shakespeare in 1818. The bowdlerized Shakespeare

eliminated all passages that might “raise a blush on the

cheek of modesty,” such as Hamlet’s famous remarks to

Ophelia about sex.

Protecting the Old Order: The Law

Historians often characterize Metternichian government

as an effort to curb dissent. Every state in Europe

adopted such legislation as a bulwark against revolution.

Freedom of the press and freedom of speech were the

first targets. Russian restrictions were so severe that writers spoke of a “censorship terror.” Two of the greatest figures of Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin and Fyodor

Dostoevski, were exiled—Pushkin for writing “Ode to

Liberty” and Dostoevski for belonging to a radical organization. In Scandinavia, the tales of Hans Christian Andersen were banned for corrupting the youth; Dante’s

The Divine Comedy was forbidden in Prussia because the title seemed blasphemous to a censor.

Such counterrevolutionary legal restrictions did not

stop with obvious political targets; they also had profound effects on individual families. In France, for example, the government sought to rebuild the traditional

family. The chief legal expression of this effort was the

repeal of the divorce law adopted during the French

Revolution. As Louis de Bonald, a philosopher of

monarchism, explained: “Just as political democracy allows the people, the weak part of political society, to

rise against the established power, so divorce, veritable

domestic democracy, allows the wife, the weak part, to

rebel against marital authority. In order to keep the

state out of the hands of the people, it is necessary to

keep the family out of the hands of wives and children.”

Metternich adopted similarly motivated family legislation in Austria. A Marriage Law of 1820, for example,

forbade marriage by beggars, people receiving relief,

the unemployed, and migrants; it also required a “marriage permit,” without which servants, journeymen, and

day laborers could not marry.

The policy of social control made schools another

favorite target of conservative governments. Metternich’s regulations for schools, announced at Karlsbad in

1819 (see document 24.2), put German universities under the control of a government commissioner, fired

liberal professors, and closed student clubs. Francis I

liked this policy; as he told a group of teachers in 1821:

“I do not need scholars but obedient citizens.” The arbitrary arrest and trial of teachers followed. In Prussia the

[ DOCUMENT 24.2 [

The Karlsbad Decrees, 1819

Supervision of Universities

1. The sovereign [of each German state] shall

choose for each university an extraordinary commissioner. . . . The duty of this commissioner shall

be . . . to observe carefully the spirit with which

the professors and tutors are guided in their public

and private lectures; . . . to give the instruction a

salutary direction, suited to the future destiny of

the students. . . .

2. The governments of the states . . . reciprocally engage to remove from their universities and

other establishments of instruction, professors and

other public teachers against whom it may be

proved, that . . . in abusing their legitimate influence over the minds of youth . . . they shall have

shown themselves incapable of executing the important functions entrusted to them. . . .

3. . . . [L]aws . . . against secret or unauthorized associations at the universities shall be maintained in all their force and vigor.

Press Censorship

1. . . . [N]o writing appearing in the form of

a daily paper or periodical pamphlet . . . shall be

issued from the press without the previous consent

of the public authority.

“Karlsbad Decrees.” The Annual Register (1819). London:

J. Dodsky, 1820.

harassment of liberal professors became a police recreation. This regulation of the schools reached its nadir

when Friedrich Froebel opened the first kindergarten in

1837. Froebel believed that preschool children could

learn through games and activities. The Prussian government, however, deemed this a revolutionary principle that undermined the authoritarian model of

education. Kindergartens were outlawed.

German education laws provided a model for other

countries. Shortly after the promulgation of the Karlsbad Decrees, Alexander I adopted a similar program.

His instructions for the University of Kazan (1820)

eliminated free speech and freedom of inquiry: “No

harmful or seductive literature or speeches in any form

shall be permitted to spread through the university.”

Alexander, like Francis I, thought that “[t]he soul of

464 Chapter 24

Illustration 24.2

— The Peterloo Massacre. Under the

provisions of the Six Acts, the British

government had the right to close political meetings, by force if necessary. In the

most outrageous application of the law,

depicted here, British cavalry use sabres

to break up a meeting at Manchester in

1819. Note the crowd being attacked:

Both men and women are present, and all

are dressed very well.

education, and the prime virtue of the citizen, is obedience.” His restrictions did not surpass the zeal of the

French. In 1816 the government expelled the entire student body of their elite engineering school, the Ecole

polytechnique (including Auguste Comte, a founder of

sociology), for radicalism. Such attitudes also reached

England, where one M.P. denounced plans for more

schools by arguing that education only taught the

masses “to despise their lot in life instead of making

them good servants; instead of teaching them subordination, it would render them fractious[,] . . . insolent to

their superiors.”

The most severe Metternichian restrictions were

the political use of the police and judiciary. Modern police forces did not exist in 1815, but the revolutionary

era had taught many lessons about policing. Metternich

had observed the methods of the French police, such as

keeping files on suspects, organizations, or periodicals.

He and Count Joseph Sedlnitzky founded one of the

first effective police systems, using these bureaucratic

techniques. Sedlnitzky merged the police and postal

service, so letters could be read before delivery, and

used internal passports to limit the movement of people

and ideas within the empire.

In Britain, the counterrevolutionary policies of Lord

Liverpool’s government (1812–27) rivaled those in

more despotic states. A Habeus Corpus Suspension Act

denounced “a traitorous conspiracy” of radicals and authorized the arrest of “such persons as his majesty shall

suspect are conspiring.” A Seditious Meetings Act re-

stricted the right of assembly by requiring prior approval for meetings of fifty or more people. A set of repressive laws, collectively called the Six Acts, forbade

the publication of anything the government considered

seditious, authorized arbitrary searches and seizures,

banned many political meetings, and taxed newspapers

to make them too expensive for most of the public. The

Liverpool government did not hesitate to use the

British army against workers, as it did during the Spa

Fields (London) Riot of 1816. This policy led to

tragedy at Manchester in 1819, when sixty thousand

workers assembled in St. Peter’s Fields to listen to reform speakers. The Fifteenth Hussars (heroes of the

battle of Waterloo) cleared the field with drawn sabers;

they killed eleven people, wounded more than four

hundred, and provided an ironic name for their heroism: the Peterloo massacre (see illustration 24.2).

British conservatives used the judiciary as effectively as the Austrians used the police. More than two

hundred crimes were punishable by death, and these

laws were often used for political effects, such as controlling workers. In 1833 the courts taught a lesson to

workers by executing a nine-year-old apprentice for

stealing two pence (about four cents) worth of ink from

his master’s shop. British judges more often solved political problems by ordering the transportation of troublesome people to penal colonies in Australia. Irish

nationalists and labor militants were especially liable to

receive such sentences. One of the first efforts to organize a labor union in Britain resulted in the transporta-

The Defense of the Old Regime, 1815–48 465

tion of six farm workers (the Tolpuddle martyrs) in

1834 for taking a secret oath. The conditions of penal

servitude were harsh and included corporal punishment; one Irish nationalist received one hundred lashes

for singing a rebel song.


Challenges to the Old Order:

The ‘-isms’

The changes that had shaken Europe in the generation

before 1815—the intellectual ferment of the Enlightenment, the political upheaval of the French Revolution,

the social transformation of industrialization—had all

produced pressures to reform the Old Regime. After

1815 these ideas of change began to crystallize into political doctrines (or ideologies). These new doctrines

are known as the “-isms” because they took names ending in ism, a linguistic vogue that began with the word

liberalism (coined in 1820), continued with the terms nationalism and socialism in the 1830s, and soon included

such doctrines as radicalism, capitalism, Marxism, and

feminism. These doctrines were sometimes compatible

with each other and sometimes in conflict with each

other, but they all called for changes in the Metternichian order.

The first of these doctrines, liberalism, was derived

from the Latin word liber (free) to denote a doctrine

about individual freedom. Early nineteenth-century liberalism (sometimes called classical liberalism to distinguish it from later liberalism) sought individual

freedoms (such as freedom of speech), laws extending

such liberty to more individuals (such as minorities),

and the removal of impediments to liberty (such as laws

favoring members of an established national church).

To achieve such aims, liberals commonly demanded

two fundamental documents: (1) a constitution establishing a representative government and specifying its

powers, and (2) a bill of rights guaranteeing individual

liberties. Few countries possessed such constitutions or

bills of rights, and most monarchs opposed them. Liberals, therefore, were among the primary opponents of

the Metternichian restoration.

A second ideology—nationalism—created additional problems for conservatives. This doctrine shifted

discussion toward the collective rights of a nation. Nationalists asserted that it was possible to identify distinct nations, based upon shared characteristics such as

language (see map 24.2). This nationalism is illustrated

by a German song, Ernst Arndt’s Where Is the German’s Fatherland?: “Where is the German’s Fatherland? Name me

at length that mighty land! ‘Where’er resounds the German tongue, Where’er its hymns to God are sung.’ ”

Other nationalists defined their nation by a shared culture, history, or religion. All advocated the creation of

nation-states independent from foreign rule, uniting

members of the nation in a single, self-governing state.

Nationalists considered these objectives more important than the political rights that liberals sought. As a

Rumanian nationalist said in the 1840s, “The question

of nationality is more important than liberty. Until a

people can exist as a nation, it cannot make use of liberty.” One could be both a liberal and nationalist, seeking a nation-state that granted liberty, as Giuseppe

Mazzini did in his movement called Young Italy (see

document 24.3), but the two objectives often conflicted

with each other.

Governments especially dreaded radicalism, the

term they usually applied to democratic movements.

Radicals endorsed liberalism but demanded more;

whereas liberals were willing to accept a limited franchise, radicals called for a democratic franchise and

sometimes for the abolition of monarchy. In the words

of Mazzini, radicals “no longer believed in the sanctity

of royal races, no longer believed in aristocracy, no

longer believed in privilege.” Radical movements,

such as the Decembrists in Russia and the Chartists

in Britain, however, made conservatives think of

Robespierre and the guillotine.

The term socialism was also coined in the 1830s to

identify doctrines stressing social and economic equality. Marxist socialism did not become a significant political philosophy until after midcentury, but many forms

of pre-Marxist socialism existed. The earliest, known as

utopian socialism, grew from critiques of industrial society. Robert Owen, the son of a poor Welsh artisan,

made a fortune as a textile manufacturer and devoted his

wealth to improving industrial conditions. He branded

the factory system “outright slavery” and called for a

new social order based on cooperation instead of competition. Owen applied his ideas to his own factories at

New Lanark, Scotland, where he limited his profits and

invested in building a comfortable life for his workers

(see illustration 24.3). This won Owen an international

reputation, but neither industrialists nor governments

copied his ideas. Utopian socialism took different forms

in France. The founder of French socialism, Count

Henri de Saint-Simon, reversed the pattern of Owen’s

life: He was born to the nobility, squandered his fortune, and died in poverty. He was a hero of the American Revolution, a prisoner of the French Revolution, and

a critic of the industrial revolution. He denounced all

466 Chapter 24




































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E br









D an






Se ine R.






R hi


At l a n t i c

Oc e a n














S ea

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B al

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Root language groups

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750 Kilometers

500 Miles

MAP 24.2

Language Distribution in Nineteenth-Century Europe —

economies in which “man has exploited man” and called

for a new order based upon the principle “from each

according to his capacity, to each according to his


Charles Fourier proposed utopian communities,

which he called phalansteries. Fourier envisioned an

idealistic, but highly structured, society whose members shared labor and freedom. Other pioneers called

for a cooperative socialism of workers, a Christian

socialism based upon Jesus’s devotion to the poor, or a

democratic socialism, on the theory that the poor

would have a majority in a true democracy and create a

socialist society. The champion of democratic socialism

was a French journalist, Louis Blanc, who developed the

idea of a strong socialist state that regulated the economy and provided work for the unemployed in national


A final doctrine of social change, feminism, had

not yet acquired that name (a late nineteenth-century

coinage) but already called for reconsideration of the

The Defense of the Old Regime, 1815–48 467

[ DOCUMENT 24.3 [

Mazzini: Instructions for Young Italy, 1831

Guiseppe Mazzini (1805–72) was one of the founders of Italian nationalism and the modern state of Italy. He greatly influenced nationalist thinking in many countries. Mazzini created a secret society, Young

Italy, dedicated to the unification of all Italian states under a selfgoverning republic. His manifesto for Young Italy, from which the following excerpt is taken, was widely emulated.

Young Italy is a brotherhood of Italians who believe in a

law of Progress and Duty, and are convinced that Italy is

destined to become one nation. . . .

By Italy we understand —(1) Continental and peninsular Italy, bounded on the north by the Alps . . . and on

the east by Trieste; (2) The islands proved Italian by the

language of the inhabitants, and destined . . . to form a

part of the Italian political unity.

Young Italy is Republican and Unitarian.

Republican because theoretically every nation is destined, by the Law of God and humanity, to form a free

and equal community as brothers; and the republic is the

only form of government that ensures this future. . . .

Because our Italian tradition is essentially republican; our

great memories are republican; the whole history of our

national progress is republican; whereas the introduction

of monarchy amongst us was coeval with our decay and

consummated our ruin. . . .

Young Italy is Unitarian because without unity there

is no true nation.

The means by which Young Italy proposes to reach

its aim are education and insurrection, to be adopted simultaneously, and made to harmonize with each other.

Mazzini, Giuseppe. Life and Writings. London: Smith, Elder, 1880.

Illustration 24.3

— Utopian Socialism at New Lanark.

The most successful of the utopian idealists was Robert Owen (1771–1858), an

exceptionally able man who went to

work in the cotton mills at age ten, was

the manager of a mill by age nineteen,

and was wealthy enough to buy the mills

at New Lanark, Scotland, at twenty-nine.

Owen devoted his wealth to creating the

model community at New Lanark shown

here. It provided unmatched working

conditions and housing for workers, a

nursery and school for their children,

evening education for workers, and a

cooperative store.

role of women in European society. Pioneers such as

Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges had

opened discussion of the woman question so effectively that the Metternichian reaction could not contain this debate. European legal systems, especially

the Napoleonic Code, but also the British common

law tradition and the Germanic Frederician Code, explicitly held women in an inferior position. The rights

of women were exercised for them by men (their fathers, then their husbands). Women were expected to

remain confined to limited spheres of activity—Kinder,

Kirche, Küche (children, church, cooking) in a famous

German cliché. Formal education (especially higher

education) and educated occupations were closed to

them. The legal condition of women within marriage

and the family began with an obligation to obey their

husbands, who legally controlled their wives’ wages,

children, and bodies. Divorce was illegal in many

countries and rare everywhere (it required an act of

parliament in Britain).

468 Chapter 24

Illustration 24.4

— Romanticism in Painting. This

painting of the ruins of a medieval

monastery in northern Germany expresses several of the themes of romanticism. The power of nature is vividly

depicted (and felt?) in the stark force of

winter and the weathering of the ruins.

The viewer’s focus is drawn, however,

to the misty gothic architecture

(pointed arches and portals typified late

gothic churches) of a lost and moving

past, which is presented with a strong

dose of sentimentality.

Romanticism: European Culture

in the Age of Metternich

The standards of neoclassical culture that had characterized the Old Regime did not survive into the

postrevolutionary era. Even before the French Revolution, classicism had come under attack for its strict

rules, formal styles, and stress upon reason. When the

Congress of Vienna assembled in 1815, European high

culture had become quite different. The new style,

known as romanticism, reached its apogee in the age of

Metternich and continued to be a force in European

culture past midcentury.

Romanticism is difficult to define because it was a

reaction against precise definitions and rules, and that

reaction took many forms. The foremost characteristic

of romanticism was the exaltation of personal feelings,

emotions, or the spirit, in contrast to cold reason. The

emphasis upon feelings led in many directions, from

the passions of romantic love to the spirituality of religious revival. Other attitudes also characterized romanticism: a return to nature for themes and

inspiration, the admiration of the Middle Ages instead

of classical Greece and Rome, a fascination with the

exotic and the supernatural, and the canonization of

the hero or genius.

The emphasis upon feelings had begun in the late

eighteenth century. Rousseau, one of the central figures

of Enlightenment rationalism, was a transitional figure, a

precursor of romanticism who argued, “To exist is to

feel!” The greatest German poet, Johann von Goethe,

similarly bridged the change from the classical to the romantic. His short novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, depicted feelings so strong that the protagonist’s suicide

began a vogue for melancholy young men killing themselves as Werther had, with moonlight falling across the

last page of Goethe’s book. The name of the school of

German literature that evolved around Goethe, the Sturm

und Drang (“storm and stress”) movement, suggests the intensity of this emphasis upon feelings. Romanticism was

the triumph of that emphasis. At the peak of romanticism, the British poet William Wordsworth simply defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful

feelings,” and the landscape painter John Constable similarly insisted that “[p]ainting is another word for feeling.”

The return to nature inspired much romantic poetry, especially Wordsworth’s. It produced two generations of landscape painters, such as Constable and

J. M. W. Turner, who found inspiration in natural

scenery. This mood even extended to symphonic music, inspiring Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, known as

the Pastoral Symphony. The romantic fascination with

medieval Europe likewise had far-reaching influence.

The most visible expression of it was a Gothic revival in

architecture (see illustration 24.4). This produced both

new construction in the flamboyant Gothic style of the

late Middle Ages (such as the new Palace of Westminster, home of the British Houses of Parliament, built in

1836) and campaigns to preserve surviving Gothic masterpieces (such as Viollet-le-Duc’s restoration of Notre

Dame Cathedral in Paris). The same inspiration stimulated historical literature such as Hugo’s The Hunchback of

The Defense of the Old Regime, 1815–48 469

Notre Dame, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, and Alexandre

Dumas’s The Three Musketeers; its most lasting effect on

Western literature, however, was probably the invention of the Gothic horror story, a style made famous by

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Many of these themes made romanticism compatible with conservative political philosophy. The focus

upon nature turned high culture toward the rural world,

home of aristocratic power and the bastion of conservative sentiments. The focus upon the Middle Ages restored cultural emphasis upon a world of unchallenged

monarchy and universal Christianity, instead of the republicanism, constitutionalism, and liberalism. The dethronement of rationalism and the recovery of emotion

encouraged the revival of religions of faith, mystery,

and miracle.

But another side of romanticism found a powerful

voice in the liberal and national revolutions of the early

nineteenth century. The revolutionary sympathies of

some romantics can be seen in Eugène Delacroix’s

painting “Liberty at the Barricades”; the radical poems

of Percy Bysshe Shelley; the angry novels of Victor

Hugo, such as Les Misérables; and even Giuseppe Verdi’s

powerful opera Rigoletto (which depicts the scandalous

behavior of a monarch). The link between romanticism

and nationalism was especially strong because many nationalists built their philosophy upon the nation’s

shared culture. Many peoples found identity in folk

tales, and their compilation (such as the work of the

brothers Grimm in Germany) became a form of romantic nationalism. So did the recovery of the history of

national minorities (as distinct from the history of their

foreign government), as Frantisˇek Palack´y did for the

Czechs in his multivolume History of Bohemia.The

strongest expression of romantic nationalism, however,

was in music. All across Europe, nationalist composers

drew inspiration from patriotic themes and folk music:

Frédéric Chopin’s Polonaises (Polish pieces), Bedrich

Smetana’s tone poems about Czech scenes (Ma Vlast—

My Country), or Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies.

Challenging the Old Order: Revolutions, 1815–25

Despite their precautions, the conservative forces in

power after 1815 could not prevent revolutions. More

than a dozen revolutions, from Portugal to Russia, took

place in the decade following the Congress of Vienna,

plus historic rebellions in the British and Spanish empires. Historians normally describe these upheavals as

liberal-national revolutions because most rebellions

sought national independence (in Serbia, Ireland,

Greece, and Spanish America) or constitutional government (in Spain) or both (several Italian states).

Conservatives believed that these revolutions were

nurtured and led by radical secret societies and used

this to justify restricting civil rights. Such societies did

exist, the most famous being an Italian society known

as the Carbonari (“the charcoal burners”). Carbonari

swore an oath to fight despotism and seek governments

based on popular sovereignty, to oppose clericalism and

seek secular institutions, and to challenge the foreign

domination of the Italian states; in 1820 the Neapolitan

chapter claimed 100,000 members. Similar societies existed in most countries—in the circles of Greek businessmen (the Hetaires), in Polish universities (Adam

Mickiewicz founded his nationalist society at the University of Vilna in 1817), in the officer corps of the

Russian army (the Society of the South in Ukraine and

the Society of the North at St. Petersburg), in Masonic

lodges in Spain, and among Napoleonic war veterans

attending German universities who founded the


With or without the encouragement of such societies, political uprisings were frequent occurrences in

the age of Metternich. While the Congress of Vienna

met, a Serbian uprising against Ottoman Turkish rule

began, the first in a series of Balkan revolts against the

government in Constantinople. In 1816 Britain faced

a slave rebellion in the Caribbean. A year later, a

Carbonari-led liberal revolution was suppressed in the

papal states. These uprisings provoked the conservative

powers to adopt the Troppau Protocol in 1818, but

barely two years later came the successful Spanish revolution (stimulated by King Ferdinand VII’s abolition of

the constitution of 1812 and by the impact of wars of

independence in Spanish America), which was a nagging problem for the congress system in 1820–23. In

1820 revolutions also broke out in Portugal and Naples

(both seeking constitutions), then at Palermo, in Sicily.

Congresses of 1821 and 1822 sent Austrian armies to

fight liberals in Italy, and French troops into Spain. By

1823 the conservative alliance had defeated the Spanish

and Italians, treating the defeated rebels with savage

cruelty; in Italy, captured rebels had their right hands

cut off before being sent to Austrian dungeons. The

British opposed the application of the Troppau Protocol

elsewhere. The British navy supported the Monroe

Doctrine (proclaimed by the United States to block allied intervention in America), so most of Latin America

won its independence from Spain. As the British foreign

secretary bragged to Parliament, “I have called the New

World into existence to redress the balance of the old.”

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