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The European Revolutions of 1848 Essay

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The revolutions of 1848 were widespread and affected about 50 countries in Europe, considering the previously separate lands of Germany and Italy. These revolutions were extremely violent and costly. In terms of lives, tens of thousands were lost during battles with several thousand more being lost in executions. Over 100,000 individuals were jailed or exiled as well. While these individual countries had significant nationalistic grievances, such as anti-Austrian attitudes in Italy, anti-Russian and anti-Turkish opinions in Rumania, anti-Habsburg in Prague and Budapest, German patriotism divided German as did Polish patriotism in Poland; it was the political and economic struggle that were the prevailing catalysts for the revolutionary uprisings.
There was widespread economic crisis in the European continent in the mid 19th century. Agricultural failures from 1845-1847 which resulted in increased food prices impeded the people’s ability to buy food. The people in Berlin were so angered over the cost of food that they rioted for four days. A third of the German population was on government relief by 1847, resulting in the number of Germans leaving for the United States in search of farmland to increase dramatically. In Prussian Silesia and Austrian Galicia over a quarter of a million people died as a result of starvation.
Anger over the ancient regime of government and its political tyranny was viewed as the single most important cause of the numerous revolutions. Heightened political awareness due to the invention and extensive use of the printing press was instrumental in fostering political awareness of new ideas such as liberalism, nationalism and socialism. Additionally, many of the countries were aware of the succ...


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... positive results of the uprisings were the spread of parliamentary governments, the allowance of manhood suffrage in France and briefly, in Austria, the elimination of lord owned and tenant farmed land 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.



Works Cited

Western Civilization: A Brief History, Complete [Paperback] By Marvin Perry, Publisher: Wadsworth-Cengage Publishing; 7th edition 2010 pp 333-347
“Sparknotes” http://www.sparknotes.com/
Linked from “Sparknotes”
The Revolutions of 1848 (1848) http://www.sparknotes.com/history/european/1871/section1.html
“Fordham University” http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook.asp
Linked from “Fordham University”
Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/index.htm


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