The Impact of the European Revolutions of 1848

A depiction of a crowd in Paris during the revolution of 1848 in France.
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In 1848 Europe experienced nearly-coinciding revolutions in different regions led by activists and rebels who sought constitutional and democratic governments to replace authoritarian regimes. Though initially these revolutions were unsuccessful in achieving their aims of reforming the conservative political landscape, they did have significant impacts in Italy, France, Austria and Germany. If you describe the outcomes of the 1848 rebellions in Europe, you can't pass over where those revolutions influenced the course of future political change with their system of thoughts and beliefs.

1 Unrest in Europe

When describing the effects of the revolution results in 1848 in Italy, they were mainly carried out by displaced workers affected by a recession and leftist activists who sought to end Austrian rule over various Italian states. The revolutionaries were unified under and led by King Charles Albert of Piedmont-Sardinia with encouragement in the form of first speeches and later troop support from Pope Pius IX. Though the Italian uprising was quelled by July of 1848, the rebellion argued well for Albert's successor Victor Emmanuel II. Emanuel who would successfully expel the Austrians in 1860. However, battles for Italian unification continued throughout Italy for decades.

2 France and the Second Republic

In France, the revolution was led by liberals and leftist intellectuals who overthrew King Louis Philippe and established the Second French Republic in June of 1848. Soon after, however, the republic moved in a conservative direction and Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected president with the support of farmers and peasants. Four years later in 1852, Louis Napoleon abolished the Republic, established the Second French Empire and declared himself Emperor Napoleon III.

3 Nationalists in Austria

In Austria, the revolutionary movements had nationalist characteristics. Groups such as the Hungarians, the Slovenes, the Serbs, and others ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs joined with leftist activists to rebel against the Austrian Empire. Though the revolution failed, Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I abdicated the throne to his 18-year old nephew Franz Joseph, who would rule Austria during what would become known as its golden age. The nationalist tremors, however, remained bubbling under the surfacefdescri of the Austrian Empire: In 1914, Serbian nationalists would assassinate Franz Joseph's nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand, igniting World War I.

4 Germany and Other State Revolutions

Like Italy, Germany was not a unified country in 1848. The revolutions occurred in various states led by those who sought to reform their governments. Many also sought to unify Germany. The German state of Prussia not only successfully put down its own revolution, but also helped other German states quell revolutions, thus establishing Prussia's dominance. When Germany was finally unified in 1871, it was under Prussia. When you look to describe the outcomes of the 1848 rebellions in Europe, Germany is a company that worked well with many citizens.

Aatif Rashid writes on international politics and culture. His articles have appeared in magazines such as "The Oxonian Globalist" and online at Future Foreign Policy and ThinkPolitic. He holds Bachelor's degrees in English and history from U.C. Berkeley and a Masters degree from the University of Oxford.