Springtime of the Peoples 1848 - describe

Essay by michalg May 2006

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Essay--Revolutions of 1848

The Revolutions of 1848 were a series of political and economic revolts that took place in Europe because of a recession and abuse of political power. Those involved in these revolts included several groups; the Germans, the Italians, the Hungarians and others. Although changes were made all throughout Europe, the original, oppressive government took back control soon after, undoing the work of the revolutionaries. And though these changes didn't last long, the revolutions did prove to those observing these events (including the governments and revolutionaries) that the people could indeed undermine the government to bring about reform and create the policies of socialism and liberalism.

There was a pattern, or cycle that was evident throughout these revolutions.(2) This cycle had four distinctive stages: First, the workers, university students, and other revolutionaries agitated for change. Next, the revolutionaries revolted and brought about change and established what they thought was the ideal government, sometimes forcing the king and other leaders to flee.

Third, the activists began to quarrel among themselves, disputing over the fine points of their ideas and actions. This disunity set up the fourth and final distinct stage, when the old government was given the opportunity to take back control, or a new government that was even more repressive than the former took control by brutally crushing and repressing the revolution.

What sparked these revolutions was the second revolution in France, which drove Louis Philippe from his throne and brought in a provisional government dedicated to a democratic franchise and "national workshops" to reduce unemployment. This government also passed laws to handle the unstable condition in Paris and established was a constitution that provided universal manhood suffrage (all men could vote).(3) However, this was not the end. When elections were held for a new legislature, the voters...