Unlike the monarchist powers of continental Europe, Great Britain, as the only colonial power, committed to creating a world-spanning empire. Its main concern in Europe was maintaining balance between the continental countries, since the strengthening of any European country would jeopardize it imperialistic interests. The new political map of Europe was made at the Congress of Vienna. The German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) was created on the remnants of the dissolved Holy Roman Empire (1806), and the Austrian Empire, with its northern and eastern Adriatic coast became a maritime power. Spain, on the other hand, lost all of its Italian holdings, as well as most of its American colonies. At the same time, in territories ruled or controlled by the Ottoman Empire, uprisings are starting and secret revolutionary societies of orthodox nations (Greeks, Serbs, Vlachs, Moldavians) are being formed. Their goal was to achieve autonomy or outright independence. Despite the restoration politics there were two successful revolutions in Europe in the period after 1815 – in France and Belgium (1830-1831). Their results were constitutions that limited the authority of the monarchs, which signifies a turning point in European history since it became clear that the world could no longer return to what came before the Revolution.

Still, discontent would come to a head in 1848, when central Europe (France, “Italian countries”, German Confederation, Wallachia) would be struck by a wave of revolutions that differed in certain national demands – equality, unification, liberation or independence. Even though an uprising in one town influenced the beginning of an uprising in another town, they were not connected. Still, the common denominator of all of them were demands for “representatives of the people” to participate in the political life of the country and opposition to legitimacy of rulers “by grace of God”. Revolutionary happenings lasted longest in Hungary and areas of northern Italy (mid 1849), where the key subject was national liberation. On the other hand, revolutions began to wind down in nearly all other parts of Europe by mid to late 1848 due to compromises between conservatives and the bourgeois, who were promised better social circumstances for their economic development in exchange for waiving their political freedoms. Even though they failed, the revolutions left a deep mark on the defenders of the old regime who began to understand that they would need to include representatives of the people into future political life. Monarchs also understood that the desired industrialization of their countries (development of the textile industry, mining, metallurgy, traffic, etc.) implies a change in social structures. Namely, industrialization requires an increased labor force, achievable by turning peasants into industrial workers, and toppling the feudal system was necessary to separate the peasants from the land they worked on. This would, sooner or later, happen in all European countries.

Faffb0af 8712 4d17 9555 f012d5c71293