Revolutions of 1830

  • The European Revolutions of 1830 were triggered by the success of July revolution of 1830 in France. After the defeat of Napoleon, the Bourbon dynasty was restored in France and Louis XVIII was made king of the France. His death in 1824 was followed by the rise of the Charles-X.
  • Louis XVIII was an old man. He had no ambition to rule as a despotic king in accordance with the principles of the divine monarchy. But king Charles X was highly ambitious and was a firm believer in the concept of divine monarchy. Charles X wanted to restore the old glory of the Bourbon dynasty .
  • To achieve his objective, the king issued four ordinances on 26 July 1830. By these ordinances the newly elected chamber of deputies were dissolved, freedom of press was suspended, life of legislature was reduced from seven years to five years and new elections to the Chamber were called with restricted franchise (electoral laws were modified as a result of which three-fourths of the electorate lost their votes), they were to be held in September. As soon as the news of these orders came out of palace a popular uprising broke out on streets of Paris.
  • Strikes and protests were followed confrontations. The royal forces were unable to contain the insurrection. After three days of fighting (July 27-29), King Charles X abdicated the throne and fled to England to save his life. The success of July revolution in France inspired the masses throughout the Europe to rise against the existing despotic regimes and ask for liberal rights. Very soon almost whole of Europe was engulfed by this spirit of revolution.

Impact on France

  • The July revolution shattered the principle of legitimacy adopted by Congress of Vienna because the Bourbon dynasty was replaced by the Orlean dynasty in France.
  • The absolute rule of the Charles X was destroyed and Louis Philippe emerged as a liberal constitutional monarch. He had fought for the French Republic in 1792.
  • The July revolution pushed the French middle class into political prominence because the middle class got most of the benefits since franchise was linked to property qualification.
  • The Principle of popular sovereignty was adopted in France as constitutional monarchy was established there. The Chamber of Peers had been transformed from a hereditary body into a nominated house. Special tribunals were abolished. The control of Church over the education was removed and the education was brought under the state control. The alliance of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church was ended, and the white flag of the Bourbons was replaced by the tricolour.

Impact on Other Parts of Europe

  • The popular revolutions had broken out in parts of Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain and Portugal. The revolutions in Italy were suppressed by the Austrian forces sent by the Austrian Chancellor Metternich. The Polish revolution was suppressed ruthlessly by Russia and Poland was incorporated into the Russian Empire. The revolution succeeded in Spain, Portugal, Hanover Brunswick and Hesse where people got liberal constitutions from their rulers. A constitutional monarchy was established in Switzerland as well.
  • The impact of political development going on in Continental Europe was also felt in Britain where the demand for electoral reforms had gained momentum. Because of this pressure, Reform Act of 1832 was enacted by the British Parliament. The Liberalism had triumphed in many parts of the Europe in the form of establishment of the Constitutional Monarchies but in Belgium the spirit of nationalism had emerged victorious. Belgium had revolted against the rule of Holland and declared its independence from the Netherlands. Their independence was approved by Conference of Powers held in London and it was recognized in 1831 as a separate nation.
  • For several years the Greeks had been fighting for their independence from the Ottoman Empire. By the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) Turkey recognised the independence of Greece. The republic that was set up in Greece was replaced by a monarchy in 1832. The independence of Greece was an incident of great significance. It provided the first example of the victory of nationalism since the downfall of Napoleon.

Revolutions of 1848

  • The European Revolutions of 1848 were triggered by the success of the February revolution in France. The July revolution of 1830 had established a Constitutional monarchy led by Louis Philippe of Orleans dynasty but this new regime was dependent on support of middle class. With passage of time regime of Louis Philippe became very unpopular with all sections of the people.
  • The Legitimists regarded Louis Philippe as a usurper because in their eyes, the Count of Chambord, the grandson of Charles X, had a better title to the throne than he himself had. The Republicans were unhappy because they wanted to establish a republican government in the country. They stood for universal manhood suffrage and were completely dissatisfied with the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe. The Socialists also condemned the bourgeois government of Louis Philippe. The working men were unsatisfactory and the government had done practically nothing to improve it. The interests of lower classes were completely neglected even though the workers had played an important role in the success of July Revolution. Government many times even used force to crush meetings of workers and passed laws to stop the formation of their organizations.
  • The French working class had come under the influence of socialism by this time and the leaders like Louis Blanc were demanding that State must guarantee a living wage to all workers. He was also in favour of universal suffrage but these popular demands were not appreciated by the king.
  • The Catholics of France did not approve of the liberal policy of the government in matters of religion. They condemned the undemocratic nature of July monarchy and demanded legislation in the interests of the working class. The Patriots condemned the submissive foreign policy of Louis Philippe.
    • They were not prepared to subordinate their foreign policy to that of England. They stood for national honour and national glory. The Patriots were helped by the growth of the Napoleonic Legend during the regime of Louis Philippe.
    • While the shortcomings of Napoleon were forgotten, his achievements were glorified. He was considered to be the personification of national glory. He was regarded as a hero and regenerator of society. The Napoleonic Legend also gained in popularity on account of the writings of Louis Napoleon who was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.
    • The result of the Napoleonic legend was that the government of Louis Philippe became all the more unpopular with the people who compared his achievements with those of Napoleon Bonaparte and found practically nothing.
  • The Reformers also condemned the government of Louis Philippe. That was because in spite of theirmoderate demands for reforms like the broadening of franchise and the eradication of corruption, Guizot, Chief Minister from 1840 to 1848, and Louis Philippe refused to move in the matter and continued to follow a policy of “do nothing.” They depended upon the use of the police, censorship of the press , and the banning of meetings.
  • On 14th January 1848 , the authorities banned a “banquet”, one of a series that had intermittently been held by ‘liberal’ interests after July 1847 in Paris, and subsequently widely across France, in protest at such things as limitations on the right of assembly and the narrow scope of the political franchise, with the result that the it was postponed by its organisers. There was actually a law in place requiring official permission for any meeting to be attended by more than six persons.
  • The postponed banquet, now set for the 22nd February, was banned by the authorities at the last minute and on 22 and 23 February 1848, there were some serious disturbances on the Paris streets which featured the building of some formidable barricades by groups of protesting citizens.
  • There were instances of units of the civilian National Guard that had been deployed by the authorities refusing to act to contain the protest. Things took a serious turn when a group of soldiers fired their weapons directly into a crowd and immediately a revolution broke out. The King abdicated the throne to save his life and the Second Republic was established in France. Louis Philippe fell because he failed to win over all the sections of the country. He merely depended upon the support of the middle class which was very small in number and which had no moral or historical right to control the government which was hated by the aristocracy and the masses.
  • If Louis Philippe had made reforms in the social and political fields, there is every reason to believe that he would have been able to win over the support of the people, but he did not do so. He could have appealed to the patriotism of the French people by following a vigorous foreign policy, but even that was not done by him. The result was the fall of the July monarchy.
  • The success of Feburary revolution in France inspired the Italians, the Germans, Polis and the Hungarians to rise in favour of their nationalist aspirations. Minor revolutions took place in Denmark as well.

Impact on France

  • Constitutional Monarchy was replaced by a Republican system.
  • Adult male suffrage was granted to all the French male citizens.
  • Slavery was abolished in French colonies.
  • The political dominance of middle class was shattered and the lower classes rose to political prominence as the result of revolution.
  • As the revolution was inspired by the socialist principles, these ideas got popularity in France. Louis Blanc was made industrial minister in second French Republic. He established a number of state workshops as ideal or model factories to improve the conditions of working class.

Impact on Other Parts of Europe

  • The outbreak of revolution in the street of Vienna in March 1848, resulted in the downfall of Metternich. Till the time he remained in power, peace and stability prevailed in Europe. His downfall inspired the German and Italian nationalists to rise against old order. The Italians and Germans could not succeed in 1848-49 in achieving their nationalist objectives. But the fate of old order was doomed by fall of Metternich. By 1870 the old order was deeply disturbed and that is why it is commented that Metternich was a necessary man for a tired and timid generations of reactionary forces based on old ideals.
  • The Hungarian revolt of 1848 succeeded in fetching the internal autonomy. A liberal constitution was granted by the ruler of Denmark and Switzerland emerged as a democratic federal state.
  • The problem of working class came into prominence as a result of revolution of 1848 and hereafter these labor issues continued to influence the political developments in Europe.

Revolution of 1830 and 1848: A Comparison

  • The Revolution of 1830 was essentially a middleclass revolution. The bourgeoisie were hit hard by the policy of Charles X and it is they who brought about the July Revolution. The government raised the property qualifications of the voters and this move was bound to become unpopular among middle class since it resulted in reduced middle-class control over the government.
  • The practice of secret ballot was also abolished and the double vote was given to the landed interests in France. In 1827, the National Guard was also disbanded. It was a big loss for middle-class because they dominated the National Guard and naturally they resented this move. The character of Charles X also alienated the middle-class. He was a staunch Catholic and believed in the propagation of his faith. Charles X was also a believer in divine right of ruler to rule his subjects and wanted to revive old glory of Bourbon dynasty so as to rule as the all-powerful autocratic ruler.
  • Charles X also wanted union of the altar and throne. He also had a strong desire to revive old institutions based on aristocratic privileges. He detested revolutionary ideas of the age of enlightenment. Such a person was destined to be disliked by French people who were profoundly influenced by the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity and therefore his measures attracted stiff opposition from people at large.
  • French people also disliked that Jesuits were in charge of education in the country. They wanted secular education for their children. The press censorship was another sore point and French people resented it because nothing could be published without the approval of the king. In short, the acts of omission and commission of Charles X resulted in the opposition of the middle class and ultimately to his overthrow in 1830.
  • The Revolution of 1830 was essentially a middle-class revolution but on the other hand 1848 was essentially a socialist revolution because socialists played the most important part in the overthrow of Louis Philippe. Success of Revolution of 1848 also reflected the growing popularity of Socialist ideas in France. Thus, Revolution of 1848 was also a testimony of spread of Socialism. The progress of the Industrial Revolution in France had led to the creation of a class-conscious proletariat. Refusal of government to do anything to improve the lot of the workers gave an opportunity to socialist leaders to exploit the prevalent situation to their advantage .
  • The Socialist philosophy of St. Simon, Fourier, Proudhon and Louis Blanc created a stir among the workers and there was a demand for social and political reforms. The workers shouted Bread or lead. The apathy of the government of Louis Philippe in spite of the protests of the people, the discontentment began to grow and ultimately led to the February Revolution .
  • The immediate causes of the two revolutions are also quite different from each other. In 1830, the immediate cause was the four reactionary ordinances by Charles X in July 1830, but in the case of 1848, the immediate cause was the banquet of 22 February and the subsequent shooting of the demonstrators. If in 1830, the uncompromising character of Charles X was responsible for the July Revolution, in 1848, the unpopularity of Louis Philippe was responsible for his overthrow. Only a small middle – class minority continued to support Louis Philippe which was not enough to keep him in power.
  • It is also interesting to note that in both cases, the people of France wanted their government to follow a vigorous foreign policy and the refusal of the government to do so was partly responsible for their failure.
  • While the July Revolution was due to the pro-Catholic policy of Charles X, the February Revolution was due to the anti-clerical policy of government of Louis Philippe.
  • Government showed favour to the anti-clerical university and practice religious toleration, which was resented by the Catholics.
  • The July Revolution of 1830 made France a constitutional monarchy whereas February Revolution of 1848 made France a republic. The grant of universal male adult suffrage was promised to French people in 1830 , but it could be granted only in 1848. The social order was not troubled by the Revolution of 1830 and the disturbances caused by the July Revolution were short-lived. Order was restored as soon as Louis Philippe was placed on the throne.
  • However, in the case of February Revolution, France had to face the bloody massacre of June 1848. The Revolution of 1830 overthrew the Divine-right monarchy, but that of 1848 uprooted the middle class limited monarchy and set up a republic which lasted for four years.
  • There were some similarities also in both the Revolutions. Both were chiefly Parisian affairs, both were essentially political and only incidentally social and were primarily ‘liberal.’ Although both had different approaches regarding grant of suffrage to French people but both recognized the principle of popular sovereignty , both employed the Tricolor and the La Marseillaise (French National Anthem), and, much more significant, both resulted in the triumph of property-owners and the adoption of policies which reflected the wishes of property owners.

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