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Age of Revolutions Free Response

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When France sneezes, the rest of Europe catches a cold. This statement proved true after the French Revolution occurred and other European states seemed to simultaneously have their own revolutions. During the period of revolutions starting in 1789, conservatives had always tried to remain in complete control over Europe. Conservatism while beginning to wane in success reasserted itself at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 only to be seriously challenged by the Age of Metternich until 1848. The conservatives and conservatism had a lot of work cut out to defend their position in Europe as new political ideas of socialists, liberalists and modernists were beginning to gain popularity and power. Despite influences against them, especially from nationalists, conservatives could claim a narrow victory at the end of the revolutions in 1849.

Prior to the revolutions, conservatives had ruled over Europe. Power and dominance gained from years of presiding over people allowed for them to while narrowly, reassert their dominance in political affairs. The major European powers at the time Austria, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain took on the task of restoring peace and order within Europe at the Congress of Vienna. They felt the best way possible to do such a thing was return Europe to what it had been pre Napoleonic wars, meaning put themselves back in a high positon of power. Monarchs were restored, France was held accountable for what it had started and spoils were divided amongst the major European nations. After the Congress of Vienna, Metternich a strong absolute monarch with his distaste for liberalism and constitutions heavily influenced European life. He was determined to suppress liberalistic ideals by setting up a secret police system to spy on revolutionary organizations and individuals who were then imprisoned, fined or exiled. When discontent rose, Metternich took measures like censoring newspapers and periodicals to prohibit political reforms that conflicted with absolute monarchy. As is the result when people are repressed and unhappy, revolts and revolutions continued throughout Europe and only ended when Nicholas 1 of Russia led the conservative counter-reaction which systematically crushed each revolution.

Nationalists despite suffering defeat at the hands of conservatives made some temporary impressionable reforms. In Italy, the nationalistic movement known as the Risorgimento led to rebellions which forced the rulers of Sardinia, the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and Tuscany to grant constitutions to their subjects and overthrew Australian rule

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