revolutions of 1848

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revolutions of 1848,

in European history. The February RevolutionFebruary Revolution,
1848, French revolution that overthrew the monarchy of Louis Philippe and established the Second Republic. General dissatisfaction resulted partly from the king's increasingly reactionary policy, carried out after 1840 by François Guizot, and partly
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 in France gave impetus to a series of revolutionary explosions in Western and Central Europe. However the new French Republic did not support these movements. The stage was set when the unrest caused by the economic effects of severe crop failures in 1846–47 merged with the discontent caused by political repression of liberal and nationalist aspirations. In the German states, popular demonstrations and uprisings (Feb.–Mar., 1848) led to the dismissal of unpopular ministers and the calling of a national parliament (see Frankfurt ParliamentFrankfurt Parliament,
1848–49, national assembly convened at Frankfurt on May 18, 1848, as a result of the liberal revolution that swept the German states early in 1848. The parliament was called by a preliminary assembly of German liberals in Mar.
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) to draft a constitution for a united Germany. While the constitution was debated at length, rulers of the German states were able to recover their authority. By 1849, the Frankfurt Parliament and the provisional government it established had collapsed and the old order was restored. The revolution within the Austrian empire was one of initial success and subsequent defeat. In contrast to the situation in Germany, however, revolutionists in the Hapsburg domains (see AustriaAustria
, Ger. Österreich [eastern march], officially Republic of Austria, federal republic (2005 est. pop. 8,185,000), 32,374 sq mi (83,849 sq km), central Europe.
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, HungaryHungary,
Hung. Magyarország, republic (2005 est. pop. 10,007,000), 35,919 sq mi (93,030 sq km), central Europe. Hungary borders on Slovakia in the north, on Ukraine in the northeast, on Romania in the east, on Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia in the south, and on
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, and BohemiaBohemia,
Czech Čechy, historic region (20,368 sq mi/52,753 sq km) and former kingdom, in W and central Czech Republic. Bohemia is bounded by Austria in the southeast, by Germany in the west and northwest, by Poland in the north and northeast, and by Moravia in the
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) demanded less central authority and a more autonomous role for the national groups. Lack of cooperation among the revolutionary movements and the loyalty of the armies to old authorities permitted the suppression of the insurgents by armed might. In Italy (see RisorgimentoRisorgimento
[Ital.,=resurgence], in 19th-century Italian history, period of cultural nationalism and of political activism, leading to unification of Italy. Roots of the Risorgimento
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) the demand for expulsion of the Austrians and for national unification found a champion in King Charles AlbertCharles Albert,
1798–1849, king of Sardinia (1831–49, see Savoy, house of). Because he had not been entirely unsympathetic to the revolutionary movement of 1821 in Sardinia, Charles Albert developed an ambiguous political reputation prior to acceding to the throne in
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 of Sardinia, but again the revolutions were put down by Austrian armies. The revolutions of 1848 failed notably because three kinds of demands—social and economic, liberal, and national—were not easily reconciled. This is illustrated in France by the Socialists BlancBlanc, Louis
, 1811–82, French socialist politician and journalist and historian. In his noted Organisation du travail (1840, tr. Organization of Work,
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 and Albert on the one side, and the Liberal Republicans MarieMarie, Alexandre Thomas
, 1795–1870, French minister of public works. He served in the revolutionary provisional government of 1848 and in the executive committee that replaced it (Apr., 1848).
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 and AragoArago, Dominique François
, 1786–1853, French physicist and astronomer. He is noted for his discoveries in magnetism and optics as well as for his astronomical observations. Arago was an ardent supporter of the wave theory of light.
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 on the other. Middle-class moderates like LamartineLamartine, Alphonse Marie Louis de
, 1790–1869, French poet, novelist, and statesman. After a trip to Italy and a brief period in the army, Lamartine began to write and achieved immediate success with his first publication, Méditations poétiques (1820).
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 gained control of the revolutionary movements and resisted the more radical demands of the lower classes, thus losing much of the popular support that was essential to their success. The results of the uprisings were the spread of parliamentary governments, the extension of manhood suffrage in France (and briefly in Austria), the abolition of manorialism in Central Europe, the beginnings of the German and Italian unification movements, and the establishment of Hungary as an equal partner with Austria under Hapsburg rule.

Bibliography

See studies by Sir L. B. Namier (1948), P. N. Stearns (1974), M. Agulhon (1983), and M. Rapport (2009).