The Concert of Europe

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The Concert of Europe

The Congress System, which took the form of a series of congresses and

diplomatic meetings held between 1818 and 1822, can be regarded as a

practical expression of the rather general concept of the Concert of

Europe. The Concert of Europe was an attempt to regularize the

conflicting ambitions of the Great Powers in the interests of Europe

as a whole. As such, its effectiveness was dependant on the

willingness of all five Great Powers to show moderation in the pursuit

of their individual interests. Without this, it would be impossible to

reach a consensus on important issues. Although The Concert’s main aim

was to maintain peace, revolts in different areas of Europe such as

Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France, made its peace making facilities

harder to obtain due to the delicate circumstances.

The struggles between constitutionalists and absolutists in Spain

during the 1820’s continued during the following two decades. When

British troops were withdrawn from Portugal in 1827, the result was

the triumph of the absolutists, who were backed by Spain, allowing

Miguel to become King. In the 1830’s Spain would endure a dispute, as

a result of Ferdinand’s death in September 1833 and his brother Don

Carlos claiming the throne. As Carlos was supported by the absolutists

in both Spain and Portugal, Ferdinand’s widow turned to the

constitutionalists for support. The French, who had become supporters

of constitutionalism, offered Great Britain an alliance in 1834, to

work together in support of the constitutional governments in Spain

and Portugal. Although Palmerston rejected the offer, in 1834 he

accepted a wider Quadr...

... middle of paper ... of the Concert of Europe.

The success of the Concert depended, after all, on a degree of

consensuses amongst the five Great Powers and a willingness to resolve

problems of common concern by negotiation. But in the 1830’s and

1840’s a remarkable degree of flexibility developed in the alignment

of the powers in some issues, despite their ideological differences,

which contributed to the continuing strength of the Concert of Europe.

Although these revolts and revolutions were seen as a threat to the

Concert of Europe, if we are to analyse them, they were not a major

issues as they never put the Concert in a situation of break-up or

dysfunction. The Concert of Europe survived these tribulations and was

in existence well into the 19th century, proving that these revolts

did not pose a serious threat to its continuation.

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