Causes of the 1848 Revolutions

Causes of the 1848 Revolutions

The 19th century was one of the most agitated on a social level. The revolutions of 1820 and 1830 had made one thing clear: the Old Regime system did not work and it was necessary to move towards liberalism. Furthermore, nationalism had begun to emerge in some countries that longed to achieve unification, such as Italy and Germany, or independence, such as Belgium and Greece. So, the 1848 revolutions arose from multiple factors: political, ideological, economic and social.

The economic factors were, above all, fluctuations in prices and wages. People didn't really have purchasing power, so they were looking for improvement. Around this date there was also a credit crisis and an agricultural crisis typical of the old mode of production, which increased the poverty of the peasantry. These monetary factors directly influenced the other areas of life. Governments began to apply stricter measures, causing unrest among citizens, especially among the bourgeoisie.

The citizens were no longer happy with the opening policies of 1830they were looking for more. They wanted the abolition of census suffrage in the countries that existed and they thought that the republic would be the best system to eradicate the differences between the different layers of society. Each country had a different social structure, but what moved the proletarian classes were not political reasons, but social ones. The thinkers and intellectuals of the time such as Pierre Leroux, Louis Blanc, Auguste Blanqui, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels revolutionized the thinking of the most affected class of nineteenth-century society. But, still with everything, in every nation, the 1848 revolution had different catalysts. In some places it was the workers, in others the bourgeoisie and in others the nationalists.

To this serious economic and social situation we must add the final battle between absolutism and liberalism. Although it is true that in some countries the revolution of 1830 lasted, the truth is that in France the hopes of the July Revolution were lost, in Germany absolutism was widespread in all the states, Austria was still under the iron control of Metternich and in Italy the Old Regime was the order of the day. The liberals Europeans understood that they could not do anything alone, so they tried to show solidarity, forming the “Young Europe”By Mazzini or the“League of Outcasts”.

Historians disagree if there was a continental conspiracy that promoted the revolts of 1848, but what they agree on is that it was a general and heterogeneous movement. It was intended to achieve a political and national emancipation, whose only way to achieve it would be through the destruction of absolutism and selfishness of the ruling classes. Each country jumped for its reason and emphasizing some things more than others, but all were an expansion of the previous mobilizations of 1820 Y 1830.

Some nations, such as Austria, suffered the uprisings for the first time in their recent history, but these were movements inspired by those of their neighbors, such as France or Spain, which had 3 revolts behind them in the last 4 decades. .

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved History and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.


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