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Assessment Of The Congress System

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An assessment of the Congress System

1. Some see the congresses as a means of upholding the traditional, conservative European governments at the expense of liberal and nationalist governments. Was it?

To answer this question, it has to be preliminary clarified what the alliances guaranteed? The Ð''Holy Alliance', was formed by Russia, Austria, Prussia, and was basically a reciprocal to the nationalistic and liberalistic movements in Europe, because she formed a community under the rules of the Christianity, to combat revolutions of nationalism and liberalism. The "Quadruple Alliance" wanted to carry out the result of the "Congress of Vienna" and especially to maintain the "balance of power". She wanted to see discussed all international problems but not the internal problems of every country. The Quadruple (later Quintuple) Alliance formed the Congress System. Some people say it was the Holy Alliance which formed the Congress System, but on the congresses where always just the representatives of the countries which where members of the Quintuple Alliance (Austria. Britain, France, Russia and Prussia).

The question was " If the congresses were a upholding of the traditional, conservative European governments at the expense of liberal and nationalist governments?

No they were not. We know that the congresses have been formed by the Quintuple Alliance and when we take a look at the basic principles of the Quintuple Alliance we will see that her aim was to carry out the result of "The Congress of Vienna". To uphold the traditional, conservative European governments at the expense of liberal ant nationalist governments was the aim of the Holy Alliance, but she didn't formed the congresses. This assumption can be confirmed by many discussions of the congresses:

1. At the congress of Aix-La-Chapelle in 1818 the Tsar Alexander proposed that the powers should undertake to guarantee the territorial status quo and legitimate authority. That would mean, whenever an internal war or revolution in any country comes up, all countries would have to help. But Castlereagh and Metternich didn't agree with this, they had fear that Russia would get to much influence. On the other hand this proposal was not the aim of the "Congress System". In the end this application was defeated.

2. Congress of Troppau (1820)

In 1820 civil commotions were coming up in Europe. A Spanish army e.g., which was about to be sent to South America to recover the country's rebellious colonies, mutinied and brought about a successful revolution. And in 1820 and 1821 in Italy a secret political society, the Carbonari, was responsible for revolts in Naples and Piedmont, which gained a constitution in both these states. Finally Austria and Russia intervened, but Britain and France didn't agreed to this. They said, every country has to arrange one's affairs by his own, as it is said in the principles of the Quintuple Alliance, thus in the Congress System as well.

As you can see, whenever there were discussions about interventions in other countries because of revolutions, the congress members got in trouble with each other. Thus the congresses were not an upholding of traditional, conservative European governments at the expense of liberal and nationalist governments.

2. Which factors contributed to the collapse of the Congress System and which view holds strongest on page 38?

In the following I'm going to give an insight of the congresses and their problems and an insight of Cannings politic. I think that the different ideas of the countries how to handle with revolutions and first and foremost Cannings politic caused the collapse of the "Congress System". But before we go in further explanations it is better to read through the information's of the Congresses and of Canning.

The Congresses

The Congress of Aix-la-Chappelle (1818)

France had paid the reparations and the Bourbon monarchy had been restored. So France joint the Quadruple alliance and the Quintuple alliance was formed. At the congress of Aix-La-Chappelle the different views of the countries got very clear. Russia wanted to uphold the status quo in Europe, what means to put down all revolts together, defend the monarchies and take care that all borders stay where they are. But Metternich and Castlereagh feared that Russia would get to much influence, and Castlereagh had the opinion that every country has to arrange one's affairs by his own, as it was written in the principles of the Quintuple alliance as well. In the end they determined that they just intervene if in France a new revolt would come up. But the result between the Greate Powers was that they extremely mistrusted each other.

The Congresses of Troppau 1820

In 1820 civil commotions were coming up in Europe. In Spain the army, who was about to be sent to South America to recover the country's rebellious colonies, mutinied and brought about a successful revolution. And in 1820 and 1821 in Italy a secret political society, the Carbonari, was responsible for revolts in Naples and Piedmont, which gained a constitution in both these states. Austria wanted to solve these problems by her self but Russia saw herself indebted to Austria and insisted to intervene as well. That's how Russia portrayed it, but we can assume that Russia saw this as a chance to get more influence. Austria had to agree to this, because she had to uphold the good relationship to Russia. But Britain and France didn't agree to any intervention in Naples and Piedmont. They thought the influence of Russia would get to big and that Austria would have to solve these Problems by her own. Metternich called this "the great divide".

The Congress of Laibach ( 1821)

The Congress of Laibach actually was a continuation of the Congress of Troppau. The congress just moved to Laibach because the congressmen saw it necessary to talk over with the aged King Ferdinand I, but he could not travel as far as Troppau, so the congress moved from Troppau to Laibach. But Britain and France were already not really represented anymore; they just send observers. Metternich tried to persuade Ferdinand I to invite the Austrian troops into the country, to put down the revolts, but to do this in the name of the Holy Alliance. By doing so, Metternich hoped to stop Russia from intervening.

When you take a review of the Congress of Troppau and Laibach it gets clear that the countries had more and

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