BECK index

Summary and Evaluating Europe 1789-1830

by Sanderson Beck

French Revolution 1789-95
France and Napoleon’s Wars 1796-1815
France’s Monarchical Restoration 1815-30
Britain during Revolution 1789-99
Britain during War and After 1800-30
Romantic English Literature
Germans and Central Europe 1789-1830
German Idealism and Romanticism
Southern Europe 1789-1830
Northern Europe 1789-1830
Eastern Europe 1789-1830
Evaluating Europe 1789-1830

French Revolution 1789-95

      A cold winter and the high price of bread increased hunger and discontent as people elected 1,200 deputies to meet as the Three Estates at Paris in May 1789. The Third Estate demanded more rights and persuaded the clergy and nobles to join them in a National Assembly which appointed a committee to draft a constitution. On 14 July about 8,000 Parisians gathered at the Bastille with 3,000 rifles. National Guards fired cannons and killed a hundred people, but the people stormed the Bastille. The next day King Louis XVI withdrew troops from Paris and recalled Necker as his minister. Newspapers spread revolutionary news, and pamphlets proliferated. Towns canceled taxes and grain exchanges. In August the Assembly approved a Declaration of Rights. In October a large crowd of mostly women marched to Versailles, and 60,000 people accompanied the royal family back to Paris with Lafayette and the National Guard. In December the Assembly had each department (province) elect a general council. A radical Jacobins club formed and would spread.
      In February 1790 the King promised to follow the Constitution, and in March the Assembly abolished seigneurial rights. The Assembly refused to establish the Catholic religion, and religious conflicts became violent. The Assembly declined to support Spain’s colonial war against Britain. Elections for the legislature were held during the summer. Each commune had a justice of peace. More than 300 rebels were killed, and 40,000 people protested in Paris. Much less revenue nearly tripled the national debt. The Assembly adopted the metric system. Edmund Burke published his conservative Reflections on the French Revolution in English and French. Church land not sold was taxed heavily. Priests were required to take a loyalty oath to the Constitution, and more than half refused and were called “non-jurors.” Inflated paper money caused food shortages, and foreign trade declined. Hundreds of castles were attacked. Louis XVI and his family tried to flee and were brought back to Paris in June. The Assembly mobilized 169 infantry regiments, and about 6,000 officers emigrated. The National Guard fired on 50,000 demonstrators, and the Assembly raised 100,000 volunteers. In 1791 Olympe de Gouges published the Declaration of the Rights of Women. In September the Assembly adopted a revised Constitution that guaranteed liberty and monarchy. Jews were granted citizenship, and “rioters” were given amnesty. A completely new Assembly was elected and met in October. Capitalists favoring war supported the Girondin party, but Robespierre spoke against war.
      In April 1792 France declared war against Austria, but aristocrats and emigrés supported the invading Austrians. The Assembly abolished all feudal rights without compensation. Victorious soldiers singing the “Marseillaise” demanded a republic. Local meetings in Paris voted to depose the King who was detained. The Paris Commune closed six royalist journals. The Assembly extended the vote to all men and ordered non-juror priests to leave France or be imprisoned. They elected 389 moderates, 200 leftists called “Montagnards” and 160 Girondins on the right. Danton became Minister of Justice, and they arrested those opposing the Revolution. In September mobs killed prisoners and priests, and 1,250 prisoners were executed by guillotine. Communes formed 20,000 vigilance committees. In September the French army defeated Prussians at Valmy, and the next day the National Convention replaced the Legislative Assembly and the monarchy with a republic. The French invaded Germany, and the Swiss declared a republic. The Convention set up a committee to draft a new constitution led by Danton, and the Jacobins organized a committee with Robespierre. Dumouriez led an army of 40,000 into the Austrian Netherlands in November, and France annexed Savoy.
      The Convention executed Louis XVI in January 1793. The Girondins’ free-market policies had doubled the number of indigents in Paris since 1789. France declared war against Spain and tried to raise more soldiers. Rebellion broke out in the Vendée in west-central France, and by April an army of Catholics and royalists had 45,000 men. Dumouriez made an armistice with the Austrians and then defected to them. The Convention ended immunity for deputies and put Danton in charge of a Committee of Public Safety. Protests led to a fixed price on grain. Radical newspapers were widely distributed. Jacobins controlled 80,000 National Guards, and they arrested suspects including 29 deputies. The leftists protected the poor and promoted the slogan “Liberty, equality, and fraternity.” Resistance outside of Paris increased but was put down in some places. Danton was not re-elected to the Committee of Public Safety and was replaced by Robespierre. More than 99% of voters approved a new Constitution, and in August the Convention elected Robespierre president. Conscription raised 300,000 soldiers. Nobles were dismissed from public offices. The common people demanded a revolutionary government and a loan from the rich. A poor harvest had caused hardship. The Convention confiscated property of foreigners, and much of the economy was nationalized.
      The Public Safety Committee met secretly and charged 46 deputies on 3 October 1793. France started using a calendar based on the seasons. The rebelling city of Lyon surrendered and was ordered destroyed. The Convention suspended the constitution during the war. Girondins were tried and executed. France had a million men in twelve armies. After some churches were closed, the Convention affirmed freedom of religion in December. During the Terror in eleven months a half million people were arrested, and 16,594 were executed. The Vendée rebellion was put down as about 250,000 people were massacred. In February 1794 the Convention provided food worth 10 million livres and distributed to those in need money confiscated from suspects and émigrés. Robespierre justified terror that was “virtuous.” In March the Convention ordered the Revolutionary Army disbanded. Danton, Desmoulins, and others who criticized the Terror were arrested for corruption, and in April they were guillotined. The Jacobin clubs had about a million members. Judicial trials were streamlined, and jurors had to choose between death and acquittal. In late July the deputies executed Robespierre and dozens of others to end the Terror.
      The Convention made reforms, and in August 1794 they released 3,500 suspects and conscripted 732,000 men into the army. Jacobins tried to maintain wage and price controls. Gilded Youth fops attacked Jacobin Clubs. In December the Convention reinstated 73 deputies, and in January 1795 they ended restrictions on foreign trade. In February the White Terror began killing Jacobins in Lyon. Prussia ceded the left bank of the Rhine to France in April. French troops occupied Belgium, and in May the Dutch Batavian Republic ceded territory to France. Bread rations got so low that 20,000 people marched on the Convention demanding bread and the 1793 constitution. The army put down the uprising, and 88 rebels were punished. The Convention expelled 61 leftist deputies and arrested 4,000 suspected Jacobins, and they were massacred in Marseilles and in some provinces. The White Terror took about 30,000 lives before it ended in the summer. The civil war with the royalists continued. France made peace with Spain in July 1795. The Convention and the voters approved a new Constitution. The government was run by five directors, and armed gatherings were made illegal. The Convention separated church and state, and they abolished section assemblies. They provided schools for boys and girls. About 35,000 people lost their civic rights.
      Condorcet advocated equal rights for women including public education, and his plan for schools passed in December 1790. He wrote about the development of civilization from hunting and fishing to modern science. He argued that majority rule can promote equality. People are challenging tyranny with reason and humanity, and he noted the good example of the American revolution. He suggested that equality in education is the best remedy for removing inequality in industry and wealth, and he predicted that scientific progress will enable people to work less and live longer. He considered war the worst crime and urged nations to share their benefits. Condorcet died in prison in March 1794.
      In January 1796 the Directors began appointing administrations for major cities. In March they made Napoleon commander of the army in Italy and ordered him to get revenues. His victories there over imperial Austrians helped him get art objects and money to pay his soldiers.
      In 1789 Babeuf had urged the abolition of feudal privileges. He published the Journal of Press Freedom but was detained for nine months in 1795. Then he wrote a manifesto for equal property, and he was arrested again. The Equals promoted mutinies in April 1796. Babeuf formed a committee to work for equality and was tried in 1797 and executed. His manifesto went beyond equality before the law to achieving a community of goods so that all can share the fruits of the earth. He called for a republic of equals with justice and happiness.

France and Napoleon’s Wars 1796-1815

      Napoleon Bonaparte’s army occupied Milan and gained Savoy and Nice in May 1796. He proclaimed a Lombardic Republic governed by ItalianJacobins. In June his army captured Verona, and he made peace with Naples. Napoleon agreed to an armistice with Pope Pius VI. The French besieged Austrians at Mantua. In October another French army defeated Austrians in Germany. Liberated Italians in Ferraro, Bologna, Reggio, and Modena formed the Cispadian Republic. In November the Directory set up military courts. In Italy the French army gathered money and goods worth about 68 million francs. In January 1797 Napoleon’s army defeated an Imperial army, and he made a treaty with a general who added a Polish legion. Pope Pius VI ceded territory and paid 30 million francs. In March the Directory required voters to swear loyalty to the Republic and to oppose royalism and anarchy. Yet in April elections royalists won a majority with 170 seats. Napoleon’s army of 80,000 men invaded Austria, and he signed an armistice, gaining Ionian Islands and the Rhine’s west bank. Napoleon then took over Venice and made them promise 15 million livres. He sent men to Genoa to govern the new Ligurian Republic. Napoleon’s army had captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons, and 39 warships in Italy, and in August the Directory made him commander of the Paris Military Region.
      In September 1797 the Second Directory passed repressive laws and had royalists arrested, and they replaced removed officials. They ordered refractory priests to leave, and more than 9,000 French and Belgian priests were deported or in prison by 1799. The Directory banned 16 royalist newspapers. In 1797 France founded the Theophilanthropy religion, and it gained some support in 1798. In 1797 France conscripted 382,000 men into the army, and many more steel mills turned out weapons. The French marched on Bern, seized the treasury, imposed a tax on Swiss cantons, and proclaimed the Helvetic Republic in April 1798. In May the French Council of Elders blocked 127 elected Jacobins from taking their seats. The Directory sent Napoleon with an army to take Egypt from the British, and they captured Malta on the way in June. The French armada took over Alexandria and suffered from diseases. Napoleon ordered Mamluks attacked, and the French captured Cairo. He brought scientists and founded the Egyptian Institute, and he protected Muslims going to Mecca; but when some Muslims revolted in October, he bombarded a mosque, killing 5,000. France made military service compulsory for young men, but many avoided it or revolted. The Ottoman Empire declared war on France in September. In December the Directory declared war on Naples and Sicily.
      In February 1799 Napoleon led an army into Syria, and many French died of plague as they besieged Acre. France declared war against the Austrian Empire and Tuscany in March. In France’s April elections the Jacobins gained a majority, and in August they voted to redistribute property. Royalists rebelled, and in August the Directors ordered Police Minister Fouché to close the Jacobin Clubs. In September the Directors had 34 royalist and 10 Jacobin newspapers shut down. In the Batavian and Swiss Republics the French were fighting against the Second Coalition of allies. Napoleon left the army in Egypt to return to Paris and met with the Directory in October and then the Council of Elders. He ordered officers to protect the two councils and had his brother Lucien disband the elected Council of 500. Murat’s troops watched the Elders. Three Directors resigned, and the other two were arrested. Napoleon summoned 5,000 troops, and the Councils installed him, Sieyès, and Ducos as temporary consuls. He had the protesting Jacobins removed from the 500. Napoleon became president in November with Talleyrand as Minister of Foreign Affairs. A new constitution gave First Consul Napoleon much power for ten years. He ruled France, which with the Italian, Swiss, and Dutch republics it founded, had 82 million people.
      In 1800 Napoleon told Finance Minister Gaudin to borrow money, and the 840 officials he sent out to collect taxes doubled revenues. He made Lucien the Interior Minister, and the Constitution passed with little opposition. He expanded the police force and ended martial law, and he replaced more than 3,000 judges and prosecutors. He offered amnesty to those who gave up their weapons. Napoleon insisted that public officials be hired based on merit, be trained, and have salaries. He led an army across the Alps in May and defeated the Austrians in Bavaria. He made a Concordat with Pope Pius VII, accepting the Catholic religion in France. After an attempt on his life, security laws were passed in January 1801. France made peace at Lunéville with the Austrian Empire in February and with the British in March 1802. Napoleon sent troops to crush slave revolts in French colonies and revived the slave trade. He banished his critics Benjamin Constant and Madame de Staël. The rights of 700,000 Protestants and 55,000 Jews were proclaimed. A plebiscite made Napoleon Consul for life, and in June he signed a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire. France annexed Piedmont despite Talleyrand’s protest. France bought Louisiana from Spain, but in April 1803 Napoleon sold it to the United States for 80 million francs. In May the British declared war on France, but the Dutch and Swiss allied with the French. In early 1804 a plot to kill Napoleon was discovered, and 356 arrests were made. A new Constitution made France a hereditary empire, and Napoleon crowned himself Emperor in December. He had France’s civil and criminal laws revised extensively, and it was called the Code Napoléon.
      In 1805 Napoleon became King of Italy and Lombardy, and he sent his son-in-law to govern Italy as Viceroy. France annexed Genoa, allied with Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden, and made a treaty with Naples and Sicily. France got some large loans and prepared to invade England. Instead France’s Grand Army invaded Austria, but a British fleet led by Nelson devastated French and Spanish ships off Cape Trafalgar. Napoleon entered Vienna, and his army defeated Russians and Austrians near Austerlitz in December. France went back to the Gregorian calendar in 1806. Napoleon allied with Prussia, and a truce ended the War of the Third Coalition in which France claimed a gain of 50 million francs. Also in 1806 the French conquered Naples. France protected the Confederation of the Rhine, and Austrian Emperor Franz II abolished the Holy Roman Empire. Prussia declared war against France which defeated them. Napoleon entered Berlin and declared a blockade against the British. He set up a Polish government. In February 1807 a Russian army attacked the suffering French army which captured the port of Danzig (Gdansk). Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Austria financed by the British formed the Fourth Coalition against France. Emperors Napoleon and Alexander of Russia agreed to a treaty in June at Tilsit. Napoleon returned to Paris and sent an army that invaded Portugal.
      In January 1808 Napoleon sent Murat with an army that invaded Spain, and he made his brother Joseph the King. Spaniards resisted French occupation with guerrilla warfare, and the British and Portuguese aided them. Napoleon met with Tsar Alexander at Erfurt, and they planned to divide Europe. Napoleon went to Spain and captured Madrid. He returned to Paris and ordered 230,000 men drafted in 1810. Talleyrand sold secret information. In April 1809 Austria declared war on France again. The French and Bavarians defeated the Austrians, and Vienna surrendered. France took over the Papal States and arrested Pope Pius VII. After a bloody battle at Wagram in July the French and Austrians agreed to an armistice. Austria lost much territory and money. Napoleon divorced Josephine, and in 1810 he imposed censorship and closed 97 presses. He considered Alexander’s sister Anna but instead married Austrian Archduchess Marie Louise. The French also were fighting Wellington’s British army in Spain, and by January 1811 many French were deserting. Napoleon deposed his brother Louis and annexed Holland. He warned Alexander that if Russia permitted British trade, it would mean war. France annexed Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, and Oldenburg for having traded with the British. In ten years of wars through 1814 France raised 1.2 billion francs, but war expenses were three billion francs.
      France’s manufacturing was severely reduced, and a bad harvest had brought economic hardship in 1811. That year France and Russia prepared for war. In January 1812 France occupied and annexed Pomerania, alienating Sweden which allied with Russia. Prussia and Austria provided troops for France’s Grand Army. The Turks rejected France and allied with Russia. Napoleon led an army of 600,000 men east from Dresden, crossing the Niemen River in June. He said he wanted to revive Poland, and in Vilnius he set up a government for Polish Lithuania. The Russians retreated, destroying what could help the French. By July 80,000 men were sick or dead from typhus, and France’s army lost a thousand horses per day for 175 days. Hundreds of men killed themselves, and thousands deserted. The French attacked Smolensk in August, and both sides had heavy losses. The two sides fought again with 224,000 men at Borodino near Moscow and had 68,000 casualties. The Russians evacuated Moscow. Napoleon occupied the Kremlin but fled for a while from the fire that destroyed two-thirds of the city. He sent messages to Alexander who refused to negotiate. On 18 October the French army of 107,000 men with 3,000 Russian prisoners left Moscow to escape back west in the snow. Russian forces harassed them, killing and capturing stragglers. In Paris an attempted coup was crushed. The Grand Army was reduced to 40,000 men. More than half the 100,000 or so who were captured died. This disastrous war may have killed a million people.
      In 1813 Napoleon tried to rebuild his army by drafting more than 2% of the people. The Russian army pursued the French, and Sweden declared war against France in January. France raised taxes, but military spending still increased deficits. Prussia allied with Russia, and the British sent them supplies. Napoleon invaded Saxony in April, and both sides accepted a truce. The British guaranteed the Allies £5,000,000. Napoleon accepted Austrian mediation. Wellington’s allied army in Spain defeated the French who lost 250,000 men in that war. Austria declared war against France in August. Napoleon’s army defeated a larger Allied army at Dresden; but the Allies defeated other French armies, and in September they abolished the Confederation of the Rhine. Wellington’s army invaded France from Spain in October. About 500,000 men fought for four days as the Allies achieved a decisive victory over Napoleon’s army at Leipzig. His 120,000 men in German fortresses were besieged and starved into surrendering. Murat defected to the Allies so that he could remain King of Naples. Napoleon raised taxes again and stopped paying salaries and pensions, and he rejected peace offers.
      In January 1814 Napoleon had only 220,000 soldiers against 957,000 Allied troops. Draft riots broke out in northern France. Allied armies moved toward Paris, and the French army surrendered on 31 March. The legislature deposed Emperor Napoleon and asked the Bourbon Louis XVIII to be king. Bonaparte accepted an offer to live on the island of Elba and abdicated. Talleyrand negotiated peace treaties with the major powers and Sweden, Portugal, and Spain. King Louis XVIII reached Paris in May and offered a new Constitutional Charter in June. France was reduced to the 87 departments of 1791. The Congress of Vienna began meeting in September. Napoleon returned to France in March 1815 and won over people who took him back to Paris as Louis XVIII fled. Seven Allies proclaimed Napoleon an outlaw. He reinstated his reforms and said he had renounced imperial ambitions, but he sent troops against revolts. Again 99.7% of voters approved his new Imperial Constitution. The Allies declared war on 15 May, and Napoleon led an army of 120,000 troops; but after a few battles they were defeated by the Allies near Waterloo on 18 June. He abdicated again, and he was held on the isolated island of St. Helena until his death in 1821. King Louis XVIII returned, and France was cut back to its 1789 borders.
      Finance Minister Necker’s daughter became known as Madame de Staël. She was well educated by her parents and her reading and was especially influenced by Rousseau. She took over her mother’s salon, and her lovers included Louis de Narbonne, Talleyrand, Benjamin Constant, and August Schlegel. She criticized Napoleon and wrote intelligently about Rousseau, the French revolution, and literary culture. Her best novels Delphine and Corinne describe personal relationships. She wrote On Germany to compare its culture to France and other countries. Her wisdom was inspired by a deep understanding of love and justice.

France’s Monarchical Restoration 1815-30

      King Louis XVIII was restored in France in 1814 briefly and accepted a constitutional Charter but established the Roman Catholic religion. He was restored again in July 1815, and he granted amnesty. France was occupied by the Allied troops that overthrew Napoleon and had to pay to support them. After some revolts France removed 50,000 civil servants and 15,000 military officers. In an election only 72,000 men were qualified to vote, and Ultraroyalists dominated the government. France had to pay an indemnity of 700 million francs and return stolen art. In the 1816 election Constitutionalists won more seats than Ultraroyalists. Election laws were reformed, and in 1819 liberals joined a coalition government. The assassination of the Duke of Berry in February 1820 provoked a reaction by royalists, and the right regained a majority. In 1821 bishops began supervising secondary schools, and the Carboneri movement from Italy came to France and was suppressed. Censorship was moderated. In 1823 a French army of 100,000 men invaded Spain, helped restore King Fernando VII, and stayed there until September 1828. Royalists won a large majority in the 1824 elections.
      Louis XVIII died in September 1824 and was succeeded by his brother Charles X. He arranged to compensate émigrés and pleased the Ultraroyalists. Liberal newspapers had a circulation of 50,000 by 1826 when a four-year economic depression began. Charles and the legislature restored censorship in 1827, and reforms reduced corruption. School administration was transferred from the Jesuits to the University, and the number attending seminaries was limited to 20,000. The French began a long blockade of Algiers in 1827, and in 1828 a French expedition supported the Greek revolution. In 1829 only 88,275 taxpaying men could vote; millions of peasants and 4,300,000 workers were not represented. From 1815 to 1830 the real wages of workers decreased by 22% while the price of necessities went up by 10%. In August 1829 King Charles began relying on Prince Jules de Polignac.
      January 1830 students in Paris formed a republican society, and the National newspaper was founded. That month 4,000 people died of lung diseases. The 1830 harvest was ruined, and unemployment increased. A majority of the deputies criticized the King and his ministers. A report counted 31,657,429 people in France, and the national debt was 322,752,569 francs. A French expedition took over Algiers in July and stole 48 million francs. In the July election results liberals outnumbered the King’s supporters two to one. Charles and his ministers dissolved the Chamber of Deputies, reduced the number of deputies to 258, decreased voters to 86,200, and called for new elections. The National urged resistance, and leaders met in city hall and elected officers. About 5,000 printers led a protest. The King called out the army, but nine regiments defected, defeating government forces. They put up 600 barricades, and the revolution spread to other cities. Louis Philippe of Orléans accepted the generalship and declared loyalty to the Charter and the tricolor flag. Charles X abdicated in favor of his grandson Henri, but both chambers rejected Henri. Charles went to Britain. In August the deputies elected the liberal Louis-Philippe King of France, and the electorate was increased to 166,000. Many officials and generals were dismissed.
      Claude-Henri, the comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), was tutored by d’Alembert. He became a Jacobin and supported the Revolution but not the Terror that mistakenly imprisoned him. He bought church property and made other investments. Later he divested and wrote about how society can be improved by helping the poor and reforming the justice system. He promoted science and personal development to improve abilities. He suggested ways to reorganize European society in order to avoid wars and benefit all people. Saint-Simon predicted that the Golden Age is ahead of humanity more than in the past as individuals compete in constructive ways. His last work suggested a New Christianity that would adjust to scientific advances. He urged Christians to increase the social welfare of the poor.
      Charles Fourier (1772-1837) hated the lying in selling but worked in commerce for a while. In 1803 he published the article “Universal Harmony” to promote peace, universal unity, and liberty for women. In his Theory of the Four Movements and the General Destinies in 1808 he exposed the vices and dangers of competition, and he described his ideal community. He hoped the passions for unity, harmony, and friendship would overcome other desires. He prophesied that industrialization would end scarcity and increase human prosperity, but he noted that so far capitalism used the threat of starvation. He recommended “natural and attractive association.” He believed that the liberation of slaves and women would lead to world unity. He suggested using “passive resistance” instead of “active aggression.” He considered poverty worse than vice and noted that industrial societies had many more poor people than agrarian ones. He believed that social harmony produces general wealth, true relationships, liberty, peace, health, creativity, and social action. He suggested integral education for all the mental faculties. He pioneered sex education and advised virginity until the age of 18. In The New Industrial World and Society he explained how to organize an experimental community.
      Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) had several lovers and had a child by Germaine de Staël; Napoleon banished them in 1803. He pioneered liberal political ideas and opposed the royalists. He translated Schiller’s Wallenstein tragedy into French. Constant argued that even a victorious war is too expensive and causes many evils. He believed that justice is based on equality and thrives in peace. In 1815 his Principles of Politics advocated individual freedom including religion, and he opposed arbitrary power. His novel Adolphe describes the suffering in human relationships especially by men. He supported Greek independence and opposed the slave trade and state control of education. He wrote five volumes on religion.
      François-René, Viscount de Chateaubriand, fled from the French Revolution to America and wrote the adventurous and romantic novella Atala set there and the autobiographical story “René” about his spiritual experiences with a native-American Christian woman. Then Chateaubriand worked as a diplomat for Louis XVIII. His famous Memoirs were published after his death in 1848.

Britain during Revolution 1789-99

      Britain’s King George III (r. 1760-1820) recovered from his mental illness in 1789, and the Irish Whig Party was formed. British dissenters favored the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, but others opposed the Revolution. Richard Price led the London Revolution Society and argued for democracy. In 1790 conservatives founded the Church and King Club to oppose radical reforms. Pitt’s Tory party won the elections but passed a Catholic Relief Bill. Edmund Burke opposed radical change in his popular Reflections on the French Revolution. He favored hereditary aristocracy and hierarchical rank and property. On 14 July 1791 a riot erupted in Birmingham, and constitutional societies formed. William Wilberforce led the opposition to slavery, and in 1792 Parliament voted to end the slave trade. The London Corresponding Society demanded fair elections and lower taxes, and the government sent spies to their meetings. Conservatives formed Loyal Associations, and George III banned seditious writing.
      Thomas Paine was born in Britain but went to America and became a prominent supporter of independence there by writing Common Sense and American Crisis. He returned to England and went to France in 1787. He published The Rights of Man in 1791 as a response to Burke’s Reflections. He found the origin of human rights in God based on human unity and equality. He explained the natural rights of the individual and the evolution of government. He compared the English and French governments and believed both could follow the American example to lead Europeans. Paine praised French progress, and he criticized Louis XVI in his Republican Manifesto. He returned to England to support the Constitutional Society, and in 1792 he published Part 2 of The Rights of Man, arguing how revolution would improve the world. He explained the value of a constitution in forming representative government to guarantee freedom. He predicted the independence of South America.
      After making a revolutionary speech Paine went back to Paris and was elected to the Convention. He was imprisoned in December 1793, and Part 1 of The Age of Reason was published in February 1794 in Paris, London, and New York. As a Deist he believed in God and human equality, but he criticized various churches and parts of the Bible based on ethics. In 1795 he urged the Convention to expand the vote to non-taxpayers. After Napoleon’s soldiers killed a thousand civilians, Paine was removed from the Deputies. In 1797 he published “Agrarian Justice.” He donated the profits from his books to reform organizations and died in poverty in America in 1809.
      Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-97) wrote Thoughts on the Education of Daughters in 1786 and her autobiographical novel Mary, a Fiction in 1788. She translated books from French and German. In her Vindication of the Rights of Men in 1790 she criticized the selfish philosophy of Edmund Burke who made property rights more important than human rights. Her great work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was published in 1792. She argued for equal rights and education for women so that they can be independent and practice virtues. She believed that women should have the same opportunities as men. She described how women were degraded in her contemporary society. She suggested that that the two sexes can mutually improve each other. Class structure also divided the world between voluptuous tyrants and envious dependents. She urged educated women to be physicians, study politics, and pursue business. She believed that rights and duties go together and that duty is based on reason. In 1794 she wrote a book on the morality of the French Revolution. She married William Godwin but died giving birth to their daughter Mary.
      William Godwin (1756-1836) published his Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness in 1793. He argued that liberal morality should be applied to politics, and he considered monarchy corrupt. Government is needed to restrain injustice and violence and so must work for impartial and universal justice using reason. He criticized war as the worst plague as well as robbery and fraud that causes extreme poverty and riches. He opposed inherited wealth and advised universal education. Truth, virtue, and duty are the remedies. He believed in limited government, valued freedom, and opposed force and punishment by government. He agreed with utilitarians who worked for the greatest happiness. He believed that people can learn to think for themselves and act for the best. Godwin’s best novel Things as They Are; or The Adventures of Caleb Williams was published in 1794. His writing also helped gain the acquittal of radical reformers.
      In February 1793 France and Britain declared against each other. The British formed the First Coalition with the Dutch, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia, Spain, Two Sicilies, Austria, and Portugal. In Scotland efforts were made for reform and more liberty, but the government repressed and punished activists, sending several to Australia for 14 years. The British lost 40,000 sailors and soldiers to disease in the West Indies. In May 1795 the British loaned Austria £4,600,000 to fight the French, but the Dutch and Spain made peace with France. The British enacted the death penalty for many property crimes. Riots over food and military recruiting spread in England. After George III’s carriage was pelted with stones, Parliament passed bills on Treasonable Practices and Seditious Meetings.
      In 1796 the London Corresponding Society evaded these two repressive laws. Jenner administered the first successful smallpox vaccination. Spain declared war on Britain in October. British war expenses increased the national debt to £310,400,000. Interest rates went up, and Britain issued paper money in 1797. The First Coalition against the French ended in April when Austria made peace and defaulted on their loan. That month the British Navy mutinied and gained higher pay and better treatment, but more strikes in May led to 29 men being hanged. The United Irishmen led by Coigly and Binns worked for a revolution and asked for French help. The British government arrested 74 and suspended Habeas Corpus. Prime Minister Pitt got taxes raised in 1798. Nelson’s squadron defeated Napoleon’s fleet at Aboukir Bay in Egypt. A bad harvest in 1799 doubled the price of wheat in 1800, causing a recession. British forces helped defeat Napoleon’s army in Syria. In 1799 Britain provided subsidies for Russian troops.
      Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-98) published his Argument on Behalf of Catholics of Ireland in 1791. He opposed the British war on Spain and helped start the Society of United Irishmen (UI). In 1792 the Dublin UI demanded universal male suffrage and other reforms. In 1793 sectarian conflict escalated, and in 1794 the Irish Parliament passed a war tax. The government suppressed the Dublin UI. Lord-lieutenant Fitzwilliam was recalled for moving too fast on relieving Irish Catholics. Tone went to Paris and appealed to the French Directory. In 1795 Protestants founded the Orange Order and attacked Catholics in Ulster. Catholic Defenders organized in the north and fled to the south and west. By 1797 Ulster had about 500 political prisoners. In 1798 the UI rose up, and 130,000 British soldiers killed about 50,000 people, mostly Irish Catholics. Three French naval expeditions landed in Ireland in 1798, but the British defeated them.

Britain during War and After 1800-30

      The British persuaded Napoleon to withdraw from Egypt. British relations with Russia deteriorated, but they agreed to subsidize the Austrians and rejected peace with France. In January 1801 Britain declared an embargo against the League of Armed Neutrality, and the Royal Navy attacked Copenhagen in April. The new Tsar Alexander disbanded the League in May. Britain aided Portugal, and they made a treaty. In the summer elections the Tories gained more seats than the Whigs. Britain and France made peace in March 1802; but they quarreled over Malta, and in May 1803 George III declared war on France. In 1804 British ships stole more than £1 million in gold and silver from a Spanish convoy, and Spain declared war in December. The British began using railways. The government was divided into five factions led by Pitt, Fox, Grenville, Addington, and Crown Prince George. In 1805 the budget was increased by 50%, and Pitt raised taxes. Britain subsidized Austria, Russia, and Sweden. Admiral Nelson was killed in a victorious naval battle against the French and Spanish near Trafalgar.
      In 1806 Prime Minister Pitt died and was succeeded by Grenville with Whig leader Charles James Fox as Foreign Secretary. British troops took Cape Town from the Dutch. Prussia embargoed British merchants and invaded Hanover, but in a secret treaty the British gave money and weapons to Prussia to fight the French. The British lost troops attacking the colonies of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Wilberforce persuaded Britain to ban the slave trade. Napoleon began a continental blockade against British trade that cut their exports in half in 1807. British attacks on the Turks failed. The English began confiscating cargo on American ships headed for enemy ports, and they attacked Copenhagen again. Britain gave Sicily’s Ferdinando IV £400,000 a year. After the French invaded Portugal, that nation allied with the England against France and Spain. Britain supported the Spanish juntas that opposed the French occupation. In 1808 Arthur Wellesley commanded an Anglo-Portuguese army that won battles against the French. Britain subsidized Sweden and Austria and tried to capture Antwerp in 1809. Wellesley became the Duke of Wellington. The British Navy took colonies away from the French and the Dutch. The blockade caused British bankruptcies to multiply in 1810 and 1811.
      In 1811 Britain greatly increased its support for Portugal and the Spaniards in money and weapons. In the next five years textile workers called “Luddites” occasionally destroyed machines that made shoddy products, and they were severely punished. George III went insane again, and in 1811 his son George was made Regent. Reduced exports and increasing gold payments abroad caused inflation and a recession. Wellington’s army bested the French in Spain most of the time, and a British force intervened to help reform Naples. In 1812 a ruined merchant assassinated Prime Minister Perceval who was replaced by the Earl of Liverpool. Foreign Secretary Castlereagh increased the aid to the Spanish and to Sweden. In June the United States declared a war on Britain that lasted more than two years. The British sent money and weapons to Russia and £4.8 million to Portugal in 1812-13. Austria got £1 million for 150,000 troops in 1813, the year that Britain spent £11 million on its allies and sent them more than a million muskets. The Allies closed in on the French armies, and Napoleon abdicated in April 1814. Wellington replaced Castlereagh in February 1815 and persuaded the other powers to condemn the slave trade. The return of Napoleon was finally defeated by the Allied army led by Wellington at Waterloo in June, the month that the Congress of Vienna agreed on a treaty. Napoleon surrendered to the British, and they took him to isolated St. Helena. In the Napoleonic wars from 1793 to 1815 Britain spent £1,657,854,518, gained 17 colonies, and doubled its industrial economy. The national debt had tripled, and taxes were 35% of the economy.
      Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) adopted the utilitarian philosophy that seeks the greatest happiness, and he explained his reforms in An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. He analyzed pleasure and pain as the basis of motivation and right and wrong. He went beyond the senses and included wealth, skill, friendship, and other values. His goals for government are subsistence, wealth, security, and equality and for law justice. In 1818 he published his Radical Reform Bill with Explanations, and in 1824 he founded the Westminster Review with James Mill. Bentham wrote “A Plan for a Universal and Perpetual Peace” which proposed giving up colonies, large armies, secret diplomacy, and alliances by replacing them with a system of international law. He relied on the power of public opinion. He considered trade advantageous and war ruinous and criminal.
      Robert Malthus is famous for his Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798. He warned that human population increases by multiplying while food production expands only by adding. He argued that to prevent misery by famine, disease, and war the growing population must be controlled by moral restraint. He also warned that the rich use unfair combinations to exploit the poor. His concept of the “struggle for existence” influenced Darwin. During economic hardship because of the wars he urged government spending on public works to create jobs for the working classes.
      David Ricardo studied economics and explained that Britain’s gold payments to Europe caused inflation. He favored free trade and opposed protectionism that increased rents and enriched land-owners. Hepublished On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation in 1817 analyzing the relations of rent from land-owning, profit from capital, and wages from labor. He recognized that machines increase production and national revenue while harming some workers. He explained how wages in different countries affect trade.
      James Mill developed the utilitarian philosophy and opposed going to war to protect trade. He believed in less government and more liberty for greater happiness. He advised representative democracy through elections. In 1821 he wrote Elements of Political Economy to explain Ricardo’s ideas.
      In 1800 the British Parliament allowed in representatives from Ireland and changed the name of the nation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which went into effect in 1801. Ireland was still governed by a Lord-lieutenant with the same laws. Catholics were still excluded from the Parliament, and they had to pay tithes for Protestant clergy. In June 1802 a peace treaty reduced the military in Ireland from 60,000 men to less than 20,000. Ireland’s taxes went up 52%, and government expenses tripled in the next fifteen years. Robert Emmet started a small rebellion in July 1803 that was crushed with 17 executions. Daniel O’Connell worked for Catholic emancipation and political reforms without violence, and he founded the Catholic Association in 1824. In 1825 tariff barriers between England and Ireland were removed. In 1829 Catholics were allowed to be judges and military officers. Raising the property qualification for voting reduced the number of Catholic voters by more than 90%.
      Scotland was allowed a militia in 1802, the year the liberal Edinburgh Review began publishing. Dugald Stewart taught moral philosophy and political economy. In 1803 Scots began building more roads and bridges. In 1813 The Edinburgh newspaper had a circulation of 12,000. Walter Scott supported the conservative Quarterly Review. Weavers’ strikes in Scotland remained nonviolent. In 1817 Britain suspended Habeas Corpus and outlawed sedition, and a June uprising of Luddites was suppressed. The Scotsman newspaper was founded to back reforms, and Tories began Blackwood’s Magazine. In 1820 a general strike was called, and a provisional government formed. About 50,000 weavers stopped working; but their march was dispersed, and 47 people were tried for treason. Scottish inventions improved agriculture.
      From 1815 to 1830 the Tory Party had a majority in Parliament. Prime Minister Liverpool (1812-27) was respected for integrity and tolerance, but Prince Regent George was profligate. London was the world’s largest city and a center of banking. English population increased especially in cities. After 1815 the government spent more money for the poor. Britain had 252 newspapers. A bad harvest in 1816 caused unemployed farmers to become Luddites, and agitation spread to cities. Major Cartwright helped start the Hampden Club and advocated manhood suffrage. William Cobbett sold 44,000 pamphlets to workers. A crowd of 20,000 gathered at Spa Fields in December and marched to the Tower of London, and troops arrested those who did not disperse. In January 1817 Thomas Cochrane presented to Parliament a petition signed by 500,000 people. Parliament in July passed the Treason Act and the Seditious Meetings Act. Richard Carlile promoted Paine’s ideas, published The Republican, and was often arrested. Government spending for poor relief reached a high of £8 million in 1818. Bad harvests in 1819 caused more protests. In August at St. Peter’s Field in Manchester cavalry charged a crowd of 70,000 people, killing eleven and injuring over 400 people. The Government passed the notorious Six Acts to suppress dissent.
      George IV ruled as King 1820-30. A conspiracy to overthrow the government in 1820 was discovered and punished. Government repression continued in 1822, but in 1823 the death penalty was removed from more than a hundred offenses. Peel’s prison reform bills passed the next year. Long hours with low wages kept many busy. Trade unions organized, but in 1825 Parliament limited strikes. The first of 43 bank failures occurred in December. In July 1827 Britain, France, and Russia signed a treaty that helped Greece become independent, and they intervened against the Turks in October. Peel’s Catholic Relief Act passed in 1829. Wages went up only 6% from 1790 to 1829.
      Robert Owen managed factories, became an owner, and established schools for young children. When most worked 12 hours or more, he instituted an 8-hour workday in 1810 at New Lanark. He published his New View of Society in 1816. He promoted the happiness of the community with charity for all. He argued that the best education creates the best government, and he proposed national education for the poor and advised fair distribution of wealth. He noted that using machinery reduced the price of manufactured goods and increased demand for them and employed more workers, though after the war unemployment increased. In 1820 he proposed collective farming to relieve the unemployed with cooperative villages. He aimed to unite the interests of individuals and society aided by science. He challenged private property, competition, and inequality, and he warned against the “dire effects of superabundance.”
      The Co-operative Magazine promoted Owenism from 1826 to 1830. The Irish Utilitarian William Thompson explained competitive capitalism and “surplus value” and recommended the community of goods. He was a friend of Bentham and agreed with Owen that people want justice, not charity. In 1824 Thompson published An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth most conducive to Human Happiness. He believed in voluntary exchanges of products. He found that the abuse of political power caused unequal wealth. He advised representative government with equal security for better distribution of wealth, but unrestricted competition promotes selfishness. He was an early feminist, and in 1825 he wrote An Appeal of One Half the Human Race, Women, Against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men, to Retain Them in Political, and thence in Civil and Domestic Slavery. He believed that equal political rights followed by equal civil and domestic rights could raise women to equal happiness with men. Thomas Hodgkin also defended labor against capitalist exploitation. Thompson was the first Owenite to recommend unions to advance cooperation, and in 1827 he was one of the first to use the term “socialism.”

Romantic English Literature

      The Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote about his love for women, peaceful living, and in 1792 on the rights of women.
      William Blake was brought up by a nonconformist and learned from his mystical experiences as well as from literature. His paintings illustrated his poetry and other works. He became a political radical and had little success during his lifetime. He opposed the British war against America. He wrote about the unity of all religions and engaged in prophecy. His poetry described innocence and experience. He supported the French Revolution. In response to Swedenborg he wrote Marriage of Heaven and Hell in 1790. Blake wrote extensively about Milton and published Jerusalem in 1820.
      Samuel Taylor Coleridge suffered from jaundice and rheumatic fever as a child. He admired the French Revolution for its emancipation from tyranny and search for truth. His poor health led to an addiction to opium, and he wrote dreamy poetry. He visited Germany, was influenced by Kant and Lessing, and he translated Schiller’s Wallenstein trilogy. Coleridge wrote plays and on Shakespeare and Milton and other criticism. In education he advised love, morality, and works of imagination that reveal character. In 1817 he published Biographical Sketches. He encouraged people to discover God and to develop self-knowledge by reflecting on one’s life.
      George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) was born with a club foot and inherited an estate and a seat in the House of Lords. He was well educated and had many love affairs. He traveled in Europe and wrote Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage which made him famous. He opposed Britain’s aggressive foreign policy and capital punishment for the weavers. After a marriage and separation he never returned to England. In Geneva he became friends with Percy Shelley, his wife Mary and her step-sister Claire. Byron wrote The Prisoner of Chillon about democratic martyrs. His play Manfred was published in 1817 about a magician who relates to nature spirits and takes responsibility for his own thoughts. While writing his controversial Don Juan he was initiated into the secret society of the Carbonari revolutionaries. In 1821 he published several poems and plays. He called Cain a “moral mystery.” Adam’s son Cain believes that knowledge and life are good. Lucifer is portrayed as a revealer of truth and the spiritual realms. Abel offers meat, but Cain brings fruit. Cain is a free spirit like Byron who asks difficult questions. In 1823 he began working as an agent for the London Greek Committee to support their fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire. He raised money and brought medical supplies. He commanded soldiers and contributed money but could not reconcile the Greek factions. Despite criticism Byron continued to use his poem Don Juan to express his ideas.
      Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) attended Oxford University but was expelled in 1811 for publishing The Necessity of Atheism even though it was more agnostic than atheistic. Influenced by William Godwin, he wrote a Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things. Shelley went to Ireland in 1812 and published his Address to the Irish People, his prophetic Declaration of Rights, and his spiritual Proposals for an Association of Philanthropists. He became a vegetarian and wrote “A Vindication of Natural Diet.” To prevent persecution he did not publicize his philosophicalpoem Queen Mab that advocates free love and marriage based on love. Shelley’s second wife Mary was the daughter of Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. London society ostracized Shelley and his family in 1815. He urged reform through wider voting, and he argued that the national debt caused “unequal distribution of the means of living.” His longest poem, The Revolt of Islam (1818), aimed at “a happier condition of moral and political society” and describes how a nonviolent revolution can occur. That year he wrote his essay “On Love” which connects humans and all things, and in 1819 he wrote “On Life,” the “great miracle.” In Italy he wrote his poetic play Prometheus Unbound. He looks forward to a time when mankind will be liberated. Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy describes the violence inflicted on those asking for reforms. Shelley’s tragedy The Cenci, published in 1820, portrays a Roman family in 1599 caught up in violence and retribution. Shelley could not find a publisher for A Philosophical View of Reform in 1820, but it finally came out in 1920. This work showed how tyranny causes war, and again he warned about retribution. He wrote his “Defence of Poetry” in 1821, advising that poetry strengthens the moral faculty. After young Keats died, Shelley wrote a tribute suggesting that he had “awakened from the dream of life.” Shelley wrote his lyrical drama Hellas to support Greek freedom, asking, “Must men kill and die?” He drowned in a boat accident, and his widow Mary edited and published his writing.
      Jane Austen (1775-1817) rejected proposals and never married, but she wrote brilliant and humorous novels that portray the interplay between the finances of the landed gentry and love in romantic courtships. Lady Susan is about a notorious and clever manipulator. Austen’s father read popular Gothic novels, and Jane satirized them in her posthumously published Northanger Abbey. In 1811 she began publishing her novels anonymously, and she made money on her next five novels. Sense and Sensibility tells of three sisters. Older Elinor has common sense; Marianne is sentimental, and much younger Margaret is even more romantic. The family struggles because their late father’s estate was entailed to his married son John. Pride and Prejudice describes a difficult courtship between wealthy Darcy, who is very proud, and Elizabeth who becomes prejudiced against him. The Bennet family has five sisters and a mother who is eager to marry them off to rescue their finances. In Mansfield Park the family has adopted poor but intelligent Fanny. While their father Thomas Bertram is away, the oldest son Tom insists on putting on a comedy. Visiting Henry and his sister Mary are selfish and get involved romantically with the Bertrams. Fanny’s friend Edmund courts Mary, but eventually he decides to marry Fanny. Austen’s Emma is about a capable woman who runs her father’s household and likes being a matchmaker. She has a frank friendship with her older neighbor George who criticizes her behavior. Emma’s matchmaking goes astray, and she learns her lesson and realizes she loves George. After Austen’s death her novel Persuasion was published. Walter Elliot is in financial difficulty. His daughter Anne has rejected a proposal by the Navy Captain Wentworth, but he becomes wealthy in the Napoleonic Wars. Anne turns down a proposal by her cousin William who was trying to gain the estate, and she agrees to wed Wentworth.

            Walter Scott (1771-1832) became a lawyer but was more interested in literature and learned several languages. He collected Scottish ballads and stories. By 1805 his poetry was successful, but in 1813 he declined to be Poet Laureate. Not wanting to compete with Byron’s poetry, he began writing novels, mostly about Scottish culture and history. His first novel Waverley about the Jacobite uprising in 1745 was immediately lucrative, and Guy Mannering or the Astrologer sold out in one day. In Scott’s favorite novel, The Antiquary, Lovel discovers who his father is. Scott’s Tales of My Landlord series includes the anti-war novel Old Mortality. Rob Roy is set during the 1715 Jacobite uprising, and the introduction tells how Rob Roy helped the poor. Scott hoped that his historical novel, The Heart of Midlothian, would show that crimes haunt their doers but that virtue leads to “pleasantness and peace.” The Bride of Lammermoor includes humor, and Donizetti made it into an opera. The romantic Ivanhoe is Scott’s most popular novel and includes Robin Hood and depicts conflict between Saxons and Norman overlords. Kenilworth is about the Earl of Leicester and the mysterious death of his wife Amy. Quentin Durward takes place in Louis XI’s France and was popular in Paris. Scott wrote more novels, but he was ruined by a financial panic in 1825-26. In his last years he also wrote biographies and a history of Scotland. Publication of his novels in 1833 paid his debts.

Germans and Central Europe 1789-1830

      The French Revolution stimulated changes among Germans with princes supporting French émigrés against peasants revolting. German newspapers spread the news and provoked censorship. In 1792 Prussia and Austria allied, and France declared war against them. After the battle at Valmy in September the Prussians retreated, and the French invaded southern Germany. In 1793 the Prussians drove them out of the Rhineland, but in the next four years the French would occupy and tax the Rhineland. The French also took over the Low Countries and northwest Germany. In 1793 Prussians invaded Poland, and Prussia, Russia, and Austria divided up defeated Poland. Prussia made peace with France in 1795 and remained neutral for ten years. Friedrich Wilhelm III ruled Prussia 1797-1840, and he freed peasants from serfdom by 1805, the year France imposed the Code Napoleon on the Rhineland. Sixteen German principalities formed the Confederation of the Rhine under French protection, and 23 more states joined by 1808. In October 1805 Prussia declared war on France. Napoleon’s army defeated the Prussians and occupied Berlin. Napoleon gave the kingdom of Westphalia to his brother Jerome with the first German constitution in 1809. By 1808 Prussia had lost half its territory, and its army was limited to 42,000 men. The French imposed the continental blockade against British trade. Baron vom Stein implemented economic reforms, but Napoleon forced him to flee in January 1809. Maximilian Joseph ruled Bavaria 1799-1825. The philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt founded the University of Berlin in 1810. Prussia’s debt from 1806 doubled by 1811 and again by 1815. Prime Minister Hardenberg removed restrictions on Jews in 1812. Prussia allied with France, and 180,000 Germans invaded Russia with Napoleon; but only 14,000 returned. In 1813 Prussia allied with Russia and traded Polish territory. In October at Leipzig the Allies decisively defeated the French. Prussian territory was restored as the Allies finally defeated Napoleon.
      In June 1815 the Vienna Congress created the German Confederation of 34 states that included Prussia which doubled its territory and population. Bavaria adopted a constitution in 1818, but only 6% of the people could vote. In Prussia the national assembly was elected by provincial assemblies, and Hardenberg led a Council of State. German students formed organizations and demanded a liberal constitution. In May 1819 the Rhine Confederation abolished the privileges of the guilds. In September the German Confederation issued the Karlsbad Decrees that suppressed students and demonstrations. In 1820 Prussia joined with Austria and Russia on the Troppau Protocol to retain “legal order and stability.” Prussia imposed censorship. Few demonstrations occurred until the French revolts of July 1830. Karl von Clausewitz wrote about how to use war as a political instrument, but he also believed that moral factors are most valuable.

      In 1788 Emperor Joseph II’s Austrians supported the Russians in the war against the Turks who invaded the Austrian Banat. The Austrians occupied Serbia and besieged Belgrade; but disease devastated them, and 33,000 died by 1789. In 1790 Belgians allied with Revolutionary France and deposed Joseph. His empire mobilized 500,000 soldiers while trying to make peace with the Turks. Joseph died in February and was succeeded by his brother Leopold II. Prussia’s Friedrich Wilhelm II persuaded Austrians to accept an armistice with the Turks and give Belgians amnesty. Leopold made compromises with Hungarians, and he allied with Prussia in support of France’s Louis XVI; but Leopold died in 1792, and his son became the last Holy Roman Emperor Franz II. France declared war on Austria which allied with Portugal, Naples, and the Netherlands. In 1796 the British gave the Austrians a subsidy of £6 million. The French drove the Austrians out of Italy by 1797. Austrians and French fought in Germany and made a treaty in October 1797. The French invaded Swiss territory, but Austrians and Russians pushed them out in 1799.
      In May 1800 the French invaded again, and the Austrian Empire lost much territory in the Lunéville treaty in February 1801. By 1803 the Empire had lost 112 states. In August 1805 Austria joined the coalition with Britain and Russia against France. Napoleon occupied Vienna and was victorious at Austerlitz in December. In a treaty Austria renounced its control over German states, Venice, Istria, and Dalmatia while receiving only Salzburg. In 1806 Franz abdicated, ending the Holy Roman Empire. Austria became neutral, but conscription raised 300,000 men in 1808. In April 1809 Austria declared war against France. Napoleon’s army entered Vienna again. Poles and Russians defeated an Austrian army and invaded Galicia. Austria and France fought mutually destructive battles. Austrians were defeated at Wagram and accepted a humiliating treaty in October. Metternich became Foreign Minister and persuaded Franz to let his daughter Marie Louise marry Napoleon in March 1810. One year later the Austrian government became bankrupt, but in 1812 they implemented a respected code of laws. An Austrian army joined the French invasion of Russia and survived better than other allies. Franz dissolved the Hungarian Diet and ruled autocratically. Austria allied with Russia in January 1813, and Austria declared war on France in August.
      At the Congress of Vienna the powerful alliance of Austria, Britain, Prussia, and Russia was extended to include France, Spain, Sweden, and Portugal, and five major German states worked on a constitution for a German Confederation. Austria, Prussia, and Russia divided Poland again. In March 1815 they learned that Napoleon had returned to France, and the Eight declared him an outlaw and formed a grand alliance. Emperor Franz in April proclaimed a new Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, and Austrians defeated Murat’s Neapolitan army and took control of eastern Italy. The Eight accepted the Swiss Confederation and the Republic of Krakow and defined Poland’s borders. They abolished the slave trade and recognized Jewish rights in Germany. A German Confederation of 38 states was formed. Diplomats signed the documents on 19 June, and Austrian troops reoccupied southern Slav territories in July. Austria in the November treaty at Paris regained most of its territory lost since 1793 except for Belgium. The Austrian Empire with 30 million people was second in population after Russia. Austrians organized a postal system in Italy that aided police spying.
      Austria and Prussia formulated the Karlsbad Decrees, and in September 1819 the German Confederation’s Bundestag agreed to impose police supervision to suppress revolutionary activity. They were renewed in 1824 and would last until 1848. In 1820 a Final Act subordinated the German Diet to decisions made by princes or their ministers. In November the Troppau Protocol excluded any revolutionary government from the European Alliance. Metternich expressed his fear of the middle class, constitutional reforms, and the free press. In January 1821 a Congress at Laibach authorized Austria to intervene to suppress the revolt in Naples. Austria also sent 80,000 troops to Lombardy in March. The Rothschild brothers loaned money to Austria and Russia. In this era German music reached a high point with orchestral works by Joseph Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert.
      Hungarians helped the Austrian Empire take Belgrade in 1789 but also resisted recruiting. The Catholic Church was established in Hungary in 1791, though other Christians had rights. In 1794 Martinovics led Hungarian revolutionaries. Hungary had Slovaks, Vlachs, Romanians, Swabians, and Croatians who wanted their own territories. In 1795 Martinovics and six other Jacobins were beheaded, and others were imprisoned for life. In 1803 a censorship committee began banning thousands of books. In 1811 the Hungarian Diet approved Austrian currency reform which doubled their taxes, and Emperor Franz dissolved the Diet in 1812. The Hungarian Diet met again from 1825 to 1827. István Széchenyi contributed 60,000 florins to promote Magyar literature, and he co-founded the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1830.

      The Swiss Confederation was allied with France since 1777, but in 1792 revolutionaries killed about 800 Swiss guards in France. In December the Revolution took over Geneva and northern Basel. Yet in 1793 the Swiss Confederation declared its neutrality and expelled enemies of France. In January 1798 a French army occupied Lausanne and declared it a republic. In April deputies from ten cantons proclaimed the Helvetic Republic, and France annexed Geneva. The French seized money from Geneva and weapons and cash from Bern. Pierre Ochs wrote the constitution that took legislative power away from the cantons, and serfdom was abolished. The Helvetians elected a Directory of Five led by Ochs, and the French and Italian languages were recognized along with German. A French army invaded the resisting canton of Nidwalden and killed 435 people. In August the Helvetic Republic allied with France. An Austrian army invaded Graubünden, and France declared war on Austria in February 1799. France imposed compulsory military service for men aged 20 to 45. The French prevailed, and the Graubünden was forced to ally with the Helvetic Republic. In June the Austrians drove the French out of Zurich, but the French pushed back a Russian invasion that damaged harvests.
      In 1802 Napoleon proclaimed Valais a republic and offered a constitution that voters accepted. In September the Diet adopted a federalist constitution. In 1803 Napoleon gave the Swiss a constitution that restored power to the 13 cantons, and six new ones were added. Customs barriers and privileges were abolished. The Swiss were forced to pay France 28 million francs for the military occupation. The Swiss allied with France in the war that began in 1805 and suffered ruin. In the 1809 war against Austria the Swiss were neutral and defended their borders. The Swiss sent 9,000 soldiers to Russia in 1812, but only 700 came back. The Swiss Diet declared armed neutrality in November 1813; but they could not stop the Allies from passing through in December, and typhus spread. In August 1814 the Swiss Confederation accepted the 19 cantons’ constitutions. Several nations stopped imports from the Swiss, and bad harvests in 1816 caused a severe famine. In 1817 the Swiss joined the Holy Alliance with Russia, Austria, and Prussia.
      The educator Pestalozzi supported the liberal Swiss Revolution of 1798. He was made director of an orphanage but was given little support. In 1800 he started a school in Burgdorf that was successful, and he began teaching older boys. In 1801 he published How Gertrude Teaches her Children. In 1805 he founded an experimental school by Lake Neuchâtel that thrived for twenty years before closing because of lack of funds. His writing on elementary education has influenced many.

German Idealism and Romanticism

      In 1793 Immanuel Kant published Religion within the Limits of Pure Reason and criticized organized religions. He wrote much about ethics and especially issues of war and peace. He proposed a permanent congress of nations to prevent wars by establishing justice. He pleaded that we must renounce war because it is the greatest evil; but without a cosmopolitan constitution war is inevitable. He believed that the sovereignty of God on Earth depends on justice and conscience within us. Kant published his major work Perpetual Peace in 1795. He envisioned a federation of republican states with world citizenship because only a league of peace can end all wars forever. Kant emphasized teaching children to think, and he warned against punishing with anger.
      Fichte (1762-1814) studied with Kant and was aided by him. Fichte argued for freedom of thought, and he defended the French Revolution, rejecting the paternalism of princes. He argued that to have freedom one must allow it in others. He believed that a just state respects human rights, assures justice and public health, and aids the poor. Thus economic justice is important. Fichte published his Systems of Ethical Theory in 1798, and in On the Ground of Our Belief in a Divine World-Order he held that moral actions always have good results while evil actions do not. In his Characteristics of the Present Age his five epochs of civilization imply social evolution to a spiritually humane society. In 1806 he published The Way to the Blessed Life suggesting that God is all. His Addresses to the German Nation advocated national education with Pestalozzi’s methods.
      Fröbel was influenced by Schelling’s pantheism, and he taught at Pestalozzi’s school. In 1826 Fröbel published The Education of Man, and he invented educational play materials. He valued childhood for its own sake, and he believed in cooperative rather than competitive education. He considered play as important for children as work is for adults. He observed how early experiences shape the development of personality, and he believed that kindergarten could help redeem humanity. He urged parents to learn from their children and live with them in peace so that they may grow wise.
      Herbart studied with Fichte and also knew Pestalozzi. In 1806 he wrote Science of Education, and for 24 years he taught philosophy and pedagogy at the University of Königsberg. In 1816 he published his Textbook in Psychology. He found that consciousness is conditioned by all learning, and his concept of the subconscious mind influenced Freud. He advised inviting children to be free and confident. He discussed motivation from occupation (work and recreation), disposition (love and social intercourse), family relationships, and service (paid or voluntary). People need to learn inner freedom, perfection, good will, justice, and compensation. Education should promote courage and an open mind. Advanced civilization needs more liberal education. He explained the stages of instruction as clarity, association, system, and method. Ethics and esthetics are based on transcendent values.
      Hegel (1770-1831) studied philosophy, history, and religion. He wrote The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate in 1799, and he compared the philosophies of Fichte and Schelling. In 1807 he published his Phenomenology of Mind (Spirit) describing mental development. Like the Stoics he found freedom in self-consciousness. His ethics emphasized honesty and love based on spiritual unity. He published his Science of Logic in 1812 and his Philosophy of Right in 1821. Hegel’s ethics also promoted family, education, justice, constitutional government, and international law. His Philosophy of History analyzed the development of civilizations in Asia, Greece, Rome, and Europe. His philosophy attracted disciples called “Hegelians.”
      In 1789 Friedrich Schiller’s lectures on history and philosophy drew large crowds. He was ill in 1791 and wrote European histories. He studied Kant and worked on integrating ethics with aesthetics. In 1793 he published On Grace and Dignity, and he found grace more in women. In 1795 he began publishing his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man describing how humans are improving from instincts to moral freedom and reason. He found the French unprepared for better government. He encouraged play and the fine arts to ennoble human character. He believed that beauty can lead people to freedom. Reason can integrate the beauty of art with the justice of morality.
      Schiller wrote influential history plays including his Wallenstein Trilogy about the famous general in the Thirty Years’ War and the tragedy Mary Stuart who defends herself against the execution order by England’s Queen Elizabeth. Schiller’s romantic tragedy, The Maid of Orleans, depicted Joan of Arc and was popular. Both these women believed they were judged unjustly and that their previous sins were expiated. Napoleon banned this play in 1805. Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell was extremely popular throughout the 19th century. The legendary hero Wilhelm Tell represents the democratic revolution in the Swiss cantons.
      Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) wrote short stories, plays, and edited a newspaper for a while. His satirical comedy The Broken Jug failed in 1806 but later became popular. His tragedy Penthesilea portrays the Amazonian Queen battling Achilles during the Trojan War and ends with suicide as did his own life. Kleist’s last play The Prince of Homburg was performed in 1821. The prince is distracted by romance and fails in a famous battle and refuses to ask for clemency.
      The poet Novalis (1772-1801) had a mystical experience and wrote a novel and the essay “Christendom or Europe” about the transition from faith to reason. He dreamed of spiritual journeys and found the infinite accessible.
      Goethe’s tragedy Torquato Tasso depicted the Italian poet. The moodiness of this writer reflected Goethe’s own experience. Tasso has to deal with a duke who wants him to finish his poem, and a romance he desires does not go well. Tasso admits his life is writing and meditating, and he feels the loss of her as his own self.
      Goethe’s novel The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister describes the romantic adventures and artistic experiences of young Wilhelm, and the sequel Wilhelm Meister’s Travels narrates his journeys with his son Felix that includes learning about sciences such as geology and astronomy. His novel Elective Affinities (1809) explored conflicts between the morality of marriage with the natural desires of sexual attraction. Goethe wrote the autobiographical From my Life: Poetry and Truth and descriptions of his journeys.
      Goethe is most famous for his long tragedy about the legendary Johann Georg Faust. Goethe first published Faust Part One in 1808 and revised it in 1828-29. He completed Faust Part Two in 1831. Mephistopheles in the Prologue in Heaven tells the Lord that he thinks he can lead Faust astray. Faust has earned master and doctor degrees, but he takes up magic to increase his knowledge and power. He summons various spirits, and Mephistopheles appears as a student. Mephistopheles promises to serve Faust, and they make a pact and a wager signed in blood. Faust wants pretty Margarete who finds gifts in her room. She falls in love with Faust and when pregnant uses the name “Gretchen.” She does not like Mephistopheles and finds evil spirits. She commits crimes. Faust tries to save her, and a voice says she is redeemed. In Faust Part 2 Mephistopheles leads Faust into many adventures. Faust describes the history of Greek culture, and he discusses civilization with the demon. An Emperor is told he is in league with Satan’s power. Finally Faust becomes old and dies, but Mephistopheles is unable to claim his soul as it rises. Penitent Gretchen appears, and a mystical chorus is drawn toward the eternal feminine.

Southern Europe 1789-1830

      In December 1788 Carlos IV became King of imperial Spain but spent most of his time hunting. Queen Maria Luisa helped govern and favored Manuel Godoy who gained power. The state could not stop all news from France, and the oppressed classes began to protest bread prices. Government expelled the French and imposed censorship. In November 1792 Godoy became head of the army and replaced Aranda as Prime Minister. In March 1793 France declared war on Spain which allied with Britain. In 1794 invading French troops forced Spaniards to retreat. The peace in July 1795 restored Spanish territory, but Spain lost the colony of Santo Domingo. In August 1796 Godoy allied Spain with France, and the British navy disrupted Spanish trade in 1797. Spain ran a large deficit, and Godoy resigned in March 1798. Saavadra replaced him and auctioned off charitable church properties. He resigned, and Urquijo imposed taxes and got loans from the rich. Peasant uprisings and bread riots broke out in various places. Godoy came back with more power in December 1800, and in May 1801 he led an army into Portugal. Spain ceded Louisiana back to France. Prince Fernando led an opposition party in Madrid. In May 1803 the British renewed the war against France. Spain was neutral but had to pay Napoleon a monthly subsidy of 6 million livres. Bad harvests led to food riots and disease. In December 1804 Spain declared war on Britain, and their navy devastated the Spanish fleet in October 1805. In 1807 the King got papal permission to sell more church property. In October a French army invaded Spain. Godoy and Carlos IV accused Fernando of conspiracy.
      In January 1808 French armies invaded western and eastern Spain. Murat led the French attack on Madrid. Carlos IV had Godoy arrested, and he and Maria Luisa abdicated in favor of their son Fernando VII. Murat persuaded Fernando to leave Madrid in April to meet Napoleon who held him captive at Bayonne. On 2 May Spaniards in Madrid rose up in support of Fernando VII, and French soldiers killed 252. News of Fernando’s abdication reached Madrid one week later. A revolt against the French spread in Spain. Napoleon appointed his brother Josef King of Spain and promised Carlos IV and Fernando VII much money. Spanish leaders set up juntas in cities and towns. The French controlled Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona, and exerted force in Cataluña, Valencia, and Aragon. Napoleon in July issued a constitution with reforms but maintaining Catholicism. King Josef reached Madrid on 20 July but left on the 31st. The Council of Castile met in August and proclaimed Fernando VII King of Spain. Junta deputies elected elderly Count Floridablanca the first president, and the Junta Suprema revived censorship. The British provided £1,100,000, and Spain raised 130,000 soldiers. Napoleon led an army that entered Madrid in December. In 1809 those resenting aristocratic juntas rioted and were suppressed except in Cadiz. In January a British army of 16,000 defeated a French force, but the French won major battles against Spanish armies. In February 1810 a 5-man regency replaced the Suprema Junta. The war continued, and guerrilla fighting increased. In January 1812 the Duke of Wellington led a British and Portuguese army of 50,000 men who occupied Salamanca. A poor grain harvest in 1811 led to famine in 1812. In March deputies signed a monarchical constitution that unified Spain. Wellington’s army entered Madrid in August as Josef fled. Spaniards elected a Congress that met in October 1813. Napoleon tried to restore Fernando VII in December, but Congress said he must return and support the Constitution first. Fernando in May 1814 claimed absolute power and returned to Madrid with an army.
      Revolts against Fernando VII went on from 1814 until 1820 when he accepted the Constitution of 1812. A new Cortes was elected, and political power was decentralized. Rebellion in the American colonies began in January 1821. Spain’s debt passed 14 billion reales, and the government sold Church lands. In 1822 Fernando VII appointed a ministry of moderate liberals. In April 1823 a royalist French army invaded Spain, and they captured Cadiz in October. After three years of revolt the French restored Fernando VII. Spain lost its American colonies to independence except Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spain suffered repression until Fernando’s death in 1833.

      Prince João governed Portugal for his mentally ill mother from 1792 to 1799 when he began ruling as regent. He refused French demands in January 1801, and Spaniards invaded Portugal in May. The Portuguese agreed to close their ports to English ships, and they granted France commercial concessions and an indemnity. In 1803 Portugal declared neutrality. In 1807 Portugal refused France’s demand to go to war against Britain, and in October the French planned to partition Portugal. A British fleet arrived in November. João and the Portuguese royal Bragança family fled to Brazil as French and Spanish troops arrived and plundered the country. João made a treaty with Britain. The Portuguese rebelled against foreign rule and were aided by a British force, and the Portuguese Regency Council was restored in Lisbon in September 1808. The French invaded again in 1809, and both sides suffered in the battle at Talavera in July. The French invaded Portugal once again in August 1810 but were defeated in September and withdrew in May 1811.
      After his mother’s death in March 1816 King João VI was crowned. The liberal revolt in Spain in 1820 influenced Portugal. Deputies were elected and met at Lisbon in January 1821. They published a Constitution on 30 June, and João VI returned from Brazil three days later and took the oath. In 1823 some Portuguese reacted to the restoration of Fernando VII in Spain. João appointed moderate ministers, and he recognized the independence of Brazil under his son Pedro in May 1825. After João VI’s death in March 1826 a regency council recognized Pedro. Eventually royalists gained control, and João’s son Miguel was crowned king in July 1828. The royalists arrested about 38,000 people and executed 115.

      Freemasons and others spread the ideas of the French Revolution in Italy. In fall 1792 the French invaded Savoy, and they defeated a Neapolitan fleet. In 1794 Buonarroti founded a republic in Liguria (Genoa). In 1796 he urged France to liberate Italy, but he was arrested. Napoleon led the French invasion of Italy and defeated the Piedmontese army. Napoleon’s army drove the Austrians out of Milan. Bologna and Ferrara formed the Cispadane Republic, and a Congress at Modena adopted a constitution in March 1797. Pope Pius VI made peace, and the French took over the Po plain and invaded Tuscany. Napoleon forced Venice and Verona to accept reforms and then gave them to Austria in October. The Cisalpine Republic formed in Lombardy and annexed the Cispadane Republic. In 1798 the French suppressed rebellions, and they took over Rome and set up a republic. Ferdinando IV of Naples occupied Rome in November but was driven out by the French who took over Naples in January 1799 and annexed Piedmont in February. Royalists regained control of Naples, and Ferdinando IV returned in July. That spring an Austro-Russian army invaded northern Italy and defeated the French there and in the Po plain, overthrowing the Roman Republic in September.
      After Napoleon took power in France, he invaded Italy again in 1800, forcing Austrians to retreat. He restored the Cisalpine Republic. His army extracted much wealth, causing economic hardship in 1801. Ferdinando IV of Naples made peace with France. A new constitution turned the Cisalpine Republic into the Italian Republic governed by Melzi. Military training and conscription raised an army by 1803 while one-third of revenues went to France. The Napoleonic civil code was enacted in 1804 as feudal dues were abolished. In 1805 Emperor Napoleon made the Italian Republic a kingdom, and his step-son Eugène de Beauharnais ruled there as viceroy until 1814. France annexed Venice in December 1805. Napoleon appointed various relatives to govern in Italy. In 1810 the Kingdom of Italy’s army had 40,000 desertions, but the army had 72,000 soldiers by 1812. They sent a total of 85,000 troops to Germany, Spain, and Russia, but only 13,000 returned. Yet the population of Italy more than doubled in nine years. After French defeats in 1813 and 1814 the Austrians regained northern Italy.
      In 1801 Napoleon signed a concordat with Pope Pius VII that recognized the Catholic Church as the majority but not the state religion. In 1805 the French began enforcing the ban on British trade in southern Italy, and in January 1808 Napoleon’s army invaded the Papal States. France annexed Rome in May 1809, and Pope Pius VII was imprisoned in France. He returned to Rome in 1814 and re-established the Jesuit Order. In 1806 Napoleon had sent his brother Joseph to be King of Naples with his civil code, but the kingdom had much debt and many poor people to feed. In 1808 Napoleon made Joseph King of Spain and Marshal Joachim Murat King of Naples and Sicily. He built up the army to 80,000 men by 1814, and in 1811 King Joachim allowed only Neapolitan citizens to hold offices. In 1814 Murat’s army took control of Rome. Murat supported Napoleon in 1815, and after his defeat Naples made a treaty with Austria and Britain. Murat tried to fight for an independent Naples but was defeated and executed. The British had 17,000 troops in Sicily, and in 1812 General William Bentinck helped Sicilians revive their parliament with a liberal constitution.
      After the long war Austria’s Emperor Franz ruled the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia from 1815 to 1835. Napoleonic codes were abolished in many places. Ferdinando IV was restored in Sicily and Naples, ruling without a Parliament. Italians suffered a famine in 1816 and 1817. Revolutionary activity increased in 1820, and the Carbonari in Naples demanded a liberal constitution; but Austrian forces helped Ferdinando suppress the revolts in Naples and Sicily, and he suspended the constitution again. This revolt inspired the carbonari to rise up in northern Italy, and they decreed a liberal constitution; but an Austro-Savoyard army occupied Turin in April 1821. Efforts starting in 1824 for land reform in Naples and Sicily helped mostly landowners and church corporations.

Northern Europe 1789-1830

       In January 1790 the States General of Brabant became independent of the Austrian Empire and declared the United States of Belgium with a constitution. Leopold II became Emperor, and an Austrian army occupied Brussels in December; but in January 1792 Liège joined the United Belgians. Leopold died in March, and Emperor Franz II had Austrians fight the French who declared war in April and conquered Belgium. In 1793 the French went to war against the Dutch Stadtholder Willem V. The French won battles, and in October 1795 they annexed Belgium and Luxembourg. The French took church property, persecuted priests, introduced military conscription, and put down protests. In 1795 Willem fled, and the French made the Dutch Republic the Batavian Republic for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.” The Dutch allied with France and supported France’s army with their thriving economy. Willem V gave the Dutch colonies to the English. In 1798 a Dutch vote approved a new constitution that separated church and state. The Dutch spent much money on the military and defeated an invasion by an Anglo-Russian army in 1799.
      When France made peace with Britain in 1802, the Dutch regained their lost colonies except Ceylon. The Dutch debt increased, and in 1803 the French imposed the Napoleonic Civil Code. In 1806 Napoleon made his brother Louis King of Holland, and the blockade against Britain began. The poet Willem Bilderdijk led a Christian revival. Napoleon refused to let Louis reduce military spending. Louis abdicated in 1809, and France annexed the Dutch nation. In 1812 the Dutch sent 30,000 soldiers on the invasion of Russia, and only a few hundred returned. After Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig in October 1813 the Dutch revolted, and Prince Willem returned to power in December.
      By 1815 Belgium and Holland were united under King Willem. The Allies finally defeated Napoleon near Brussels in June, and the United Kingdom of the Netherlands had capitals in The Hague and in Brussels. In 1817 universities opened in Ghent, Louvain, and Liège. Poor harvests in 1816 and 1817 caused an economic depression until 1820. In 1825 teachers were required to have a degree from a university. Dutch and Belgian industries and trade expanded, and population increased.

      Denmark was neutral during the French Revolution and prospered. In 1800 the British came into conflict with Danish shipping, and in April 1801 they attacked Copenhagen. Denmark annexed Holstein in 1806. Napoleon urged Denmark to declare war against Britain. The British destroyed much of Copenhagen in August 1807, and the Dutch fleet surrendered. Denmark declared war against Britain in November. Denmark was allied with France and also fought the Swedes in 1808. Prince Frederik governed Denmark for his ill father Kristian VII since 1784 and became King Frederik VII in 1808. In the wars the Danes approved privateers and lost nearly 1,200 ships, but the Danes and Norwegians captured 2,000 British merchant ships. In January 1813 Denmark declared bankruptcy, affecting its economy for decades. In late 1813 Denmark fought against anti-French allies, and in January 1814 Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden. Denmark instituted schooling for children that included poor families. In 1796 Hans Nielsen Hauge started a revival movement in Norway, preaching and publishing much, but he was often punished by the government.
      Led by Kristian Frederik many Norwegians wanted to be independent, and in May 1814 they adopted a new constitution. Swedes invaded Norway, and Kristian Frederik agreed to a cease fire in August when the Swedes acknowledged the Norwegian Constitution. Kristian Frederik abdicated in October and left. The Norwegian Assembly ratified the Union in July 1815, and Norway was finally allowed to abolish hereditary nobility in 1821.

      In the last three years of his rule before his death in March 1792 Sweden’s King Gustav III supported the three lower estates against the nobles. In 1790 he banned reporting on the revolution in France, and he made peace with Russia in August. He urged a government similar to the British system. In 1794 Sweden and Denmark agreed on an Armed Neutrality Convention. King Gustav IV Adolf began ruling Sweden at age 18 in November 1796. Sweden allied with Russia in October 1799, and in June 1800 they revived the League of Armed Neutrality that was joined by Denmark and Prussia. Enclosure acts began improving agriculture in 1803. In October 1805 Sweden joined the Third Coalition against France. In 1807 Gustav IV abolished serfdom in Pomerania and implemented reforms. In February 1808 a Russian army invaded Finland, and they drove out the Swedes.
      In 1809 Gustav IV Adolf refused to summon a Riksdag and was arrested. He abdicated and was replaced by King Karl XIII. The Riksdag drafted a new constitution. Sweden lost more territory and made peace with France in January 1810, regaining Pomerania. French Marshal Bernadotte offered to loan Sweden 8 million francs and was proclaimed Prince Karl Johan. Sweden declared war against Britain. In March 1811 Karl XIII had a stroke, and Karl Johan acted as regent. Sweden’s cultivated land increased. In March 1813 Sweden allied with the British, and they declared war against Denmark in September. In January 1814 Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden for 1 million riksdalers and Pomerania. Karl Johan led the Swedish invasion of Norway in July, and they made peace in August. After 1815 peace, vaccinations, and improved farming helped Sweden to prosper. Karl Johan became King Karl XIV in 1818.
      Swedes defeated the Russians in the naval battle of Svensksund in Finland in July 1790, and Sweden continued to rule over Finland. In February 1808 Russian troops defeated the Finnish army, and the Russian Empire claimed Finland. In March 1809 Tsar Alexander allowed delegates to create a self-governing Finland, and Sweden ceded Finland to Russia.
      Magnus Stephensen founded a general enlightenment society in Iceland in 1794. The Althing assembly of Iceland was dissolved in 1800, and Stephensen headed a court as chief judge. Iceland was opened to trade with the British in 1809. In 1815 Stephensen urged the Danish government to allow free trade.

Eastern Europe 1789-1830

      Poland’s Great Seym met from 1788 to 1792. They expanded the army and taxed szlachta and church land, and the deputies approved a constitution in May 1791. One year later Russian troops invaded Poland, and Tsarina Ekaterina II persuaded her former lover, King Stanisław II, to join the Targowica Confederation. In January 1793 Russia and Prussia partitioned Poland, taking more than half the land. Russia made a treaty with Poland’s Seym that forced them to cancel their constitution. Russians demanded reduction of the Polish army, provoking another war in 1794. Kościuszko’s army managed to defend Warsaw, but a Russian army led by Suvorov defeated them in November. Stanisław II abdicated. In January 1797 Russia, Prussia, and the Austrian Empire divided what was left of the Polish nation in the Third Partition.
      In 1798 the Society of Polish Republicans was founded, and Poles fought to liberate Italy. Others became revolutionaries. Dąbrowski’s Polish Corps fought for Napoleon who allowed Dąbrowski to issue a call for a Polish insurrection in November 1806. A French army entered Warsaw, and Napoleon and Tsar Aleksandr at Tilsit in July 1807 forced Prussia to give back the Duchy of Warsaw. Napoleon provided a constitution and his Civil Code, and he ordered Warsaw to finance a large army. In 1808 they suspended civil liberties of Jews and imposed military conscription. Poles fought off an Austrian invasion in 1809. Napoleon used Polish troops including 98,000 Poles in his invasion of Russia in 1812. In 1815 the Allies left Poland with only a small kingdom. Yet they had more voters than France. The University of Warsaw was founded in 1816. In 1820 Tsar Aleksandr dissolved the Seym, and it did not meet again until 1825. Russians repressed Polish civil rights in the 1820s.

      The Second Russo-Turkish War began in September 1787 and ended with a peace treaty in January 1792. Russia gained territory including Crimea. Sweden attacked Russian ships in June 1788, and a treaty ended the war in August 1790. Tsarina Ekaterina II intervened in Poland and took over much territory in 1793. Polish resistance led to a Third Partition that gave the Russian Empire 1,200,000 more people who were better educated than Russians. Before her death in 1796 Ekaterina raised the two sons of her son Pavel who succeeded her. His government became more centralized and efficient, and Russia supported the Coalition against the French, gaining Ionian islands in 1798. After neutrality Russia briefly backed France against the British in early 1800. In March 1801 a large conspiracy had Tsar Pavel assassinated.
      Tsar Aleksandr granted amnesty to 12,000 men whom Pavel had dismissed. He reduced censorship, abolished the secret police and torture, and allowed the senate more power. Russia issued a Jewish Constitution in 1804 and let Jewish children attend public schools. Aleksandr added and reformed universities. He declared neutrality and improved relations with Britain, Denmark, Sweden, France, Naples, and Prussia. He urged neutrality, settling disputes by mediation, and a league of peace. Yet Russia was at war against Persia for nine years and engaged in another Turkish war from 1806 to 1812. Russia gained military control of the Caspian Sea. In 1806 Russia made a secret military alliance with Prussia. Aleksandr met Napoleon at Tilsit in 1807, and they divided half of Prussia’s territory. Russia allied with Denmark and invaded Finland in 1808 and added it to the empire. Russia made peace with the Ottoman Empire and Britain as Napoleon’s Grand army was invading Russia in June 1812. Aleksandr refused to negotiate with Napoleon and mobilized a large army. Russians fought the French at Smolensk in August, at Borodino on September 5, and then abandoned Moscow to the invaders. They harassed the retreating French army in the snow. The Russian army continued the war against Napoleon with increasing allies until he was finally defeated.
      Tsar Aleksandr suggested a Holy Alliance that Russia formed with Austria and Prussia in September 1815, and Britain joined in November. He approved a government and a constitution for the Kingdom of Poland and in March 1818 opened the Seym in Warsaw. In November the Allies agreed to withdraw their troops from France. In the fall of 1820 these five empires guarantee their “legal order” as the Concert of Nations. Aleksandr freed serfs in Baltic provinces; but their economic condition became worse because military service was added to farming work. Rebels were harshly punished. Aleksandr had founded the Russian Bible Society in 1812, and he promoted spiritual education. In 1820 censorship became stricter. In 1821 Aleksandr was concerned about revolutionaries, levelers, and the carbonari, and in 1822 he banned secret societies. Despite growing wheat exports the Russian debt continued to increase. When Aleksandr died in November 1825, the empire was nearly bankrupt. He was succeeded by his brother Nikolay who put down an attempted revolution. In 1826 Tsar Nikolay defended Serbian autonomy that was recognized by the Ottoman Empire. In 1827 Russian troops invaded Persia, and in a February 1828 treaty they gained territory. A secret committee governed while Nikolay was fighting the Turkish War in 1828 on behalf of Greek self-government. After they took Adrianople, the 1829 treaty extended Russia’s southern border to include the Danube delta.

      Some Greeks began fighting the Turks at sea in 1790, and that year a Greek newspaper began publishing. In 1797 the French took over the Ionian islands, and in 1799 Russians and Greeks created the Septinsular Republic that used Italian and Greek until 1807. Greek friendship societies began forming in 1813. In 1815 the European powers recognized the United States of the Ionian Islands, and Serbs gained some independence. In January 1821 Greeks began rebelling against the Ottoman Empire’s war tax, but Tsar Aleksandr and a Serb leader denounced the rebels. Taxes on the Christian peasants doubled. Spartan commander Alexandros Mavrogordatos issued in March a Manifesto that was translated into several European languages. Greeks began adopting constitutions, and rebellion spread from the Peloponnesos west and north. The poets Byron and Shelley supported the Greeks’ freedom. A Greek National Congress met in December and agreed on a constitution. Turks fought Greeks, and each side won battles. In April 1823 the Second National Congress elected a new government, and London began loaning them money in 1824. Egypt sent an army to fight southern Greeks, and they killed thousands of Greeks at Missolonghi in April 1826. Turks besieged the Acropolis in Athens in August and captured it in May 1827. In April the Third National Assembly had elected Ioannis Kapodistrias president. In July the British, Russians, and French promised protection and sent an armada that defeated the larger Turkish-Egyptian fleet at Navarino Bay in October. The French helped the Greeks take back Missolonghi in May 1829. In September the Turks in a treaty accepted Greek and Serbian autonomy, and in February 1830 the British, French, and Russians promised to protect the Greek state.

Evaluating Europe 1789-1830

      After thirteen centuries of monarchical and aristocratic power and a century of reason and enlightenment, revolution erupted in France against the old regime in 1789. The Third Estate of merchants, workers, and peasants asserted themselves for equal rights with the nobles and clergy and successfully overthrew the power of the king, the nobles, and the church. Many aristocrats and priests fled to other countries, and royalists supported by loyal Catholics revolted outside of Paris. The French Revolution had to face conflicts from inside and outside the nation, and the Assembly chose to go to war to spread the revolution for “liberty, equality, and fraternity.” After many compromises the King was tried and executed. Gradually the revolution became more fanatical and violent during these conflicts, and many rights, freedom, and brotherhood were violated by those who abused their power. Quick beheadings by the guillotine terrorized the people and made the civil war worse while at the same time French armies were fighting other nations with revolutionary zeal. Experiments were made with different constitutions, and education was extended to improve the republic. The lives of many who survived benefited.
      Five Directors took control of France in 1795 and made use of Napoleon and the army to spread the French Revolution into Italy and central Europe by military means, and they set up constitutional governments. They conquered and studied Egypt, but a Syrian campaign failed. When Napoleon returned to Paris in 1799, he took power, became Emperor in 1804, and imposed his revolutionary code of laws in much of Europe. The British opposed him and gained allies in a series of coalitions against his imperialist aggression especially in Portugal and Spain after 1808. Napoleon tried to negotiate with Russia’s Tsar Aleksandr, but he married an Austrian to gain an ally. Napoleon became obsessed with his military power and foolishly invaded the Russian Empire. Aleksandr wisely avoided battles while refusing to surrender. The invasions of Russia and Spain devastated Napoleon’s Grand Army, and in Germany the Allies overwhelmed his diminishing armies and forced him to abdicate twice. His ambitious militarism failed, and he was imprisoned on an isolated island. Imperial powers made sure that monarchy was restored in France and elsewhere. Yet reforms of the French Revolution abolished aristocratic feudalism and spread to many nations bringing about a new era in European civilization, transforming despotic monarchy to more constitutional monarchies and republics.
      The Allies who defeated Napoleon’s attempted resurgence in 1815 forced France to accept the restoration of the Bourbon King Louis XVIII with a constitutional Charter. Elections allowed liberals some say in the government. Yet a French army helped restore King Fernando VII in Spain in 1823. Louis XVIII was succeeded by his brother Charles X in 1824, and he also aimed to please the royalists. In 1830 liberals won the election, and the King tried to repress them; but a quick revolution in July led to the abdication of Charles and his being replaced by the liberal Louis Philippe of Orléans. Henri de Saint-Simon became a revolutionary who suggested reforms to improve the rights and conditions of the poor. He promoted science and personal development and suggested ways to reorganize society. Charles Fourier also advocated major social reforms to achieve universal harmony by promoting peace, unity, and liberty for women and slaves. He urged passive resistance to challenge oppression as well as education and free love. Benjamin Constant worked with Germaine de Staël to promote liberal politics to end wars and increase justice based on equality. Chateaubriand learned from the American Revolution and wrote exciting fiction about Christian spirituality there.
      News of the French Revolution stimulated political debate in Britain, but conservatives and the government resisted radical reforms advocated by many. Tom Paine used his experience in the American Revolution and wrote eloquently about human rights and republican government. His Deist philosophy in The Age of Reason suggested ways of going beyond religious dogma by using reason and ethics. Mary Wollstonecraft pioneered feminist ideas as she promoted rights for women and encouraged their education and liberation. Her husband William Godwin argued for greater human freedom in his Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and Its Influence on Modern Morals and Happiness, and his novel Caleb Williams showed what needed to be improved. Burke’s conservative book on the French Revolution influenced the British government which opposed France and its efforts to spread their ideas with armies. The British Navy was more powerful, and Britain used money to help allies fight the French on the continent, multiplying the British national debt. The British suppressed dissent especially in Scotland and Ireland, and an Irish Catholic rebellion in 1798 was crushed.
      During the Napoleonic Wars the British dominated the seas and used their wealth from industry and trade to support the allies fighting against the imperialism of the French. Britain’s most extensive military involvement was in Portugal and Spain in 1808-14. The tremendous borrowing caused economic hardship after the war while the conservative Tories resisted the reforms of liberals. Jeremy Bentham and James Mill developed the utilitarian philosophy seeking greater happiness for more people. Malthus warned against the dangers of increasing population with a limited food supply. He, David Ricardo, Robert Owen, and others worked to find remedies to counter the inequality fostered by capitalism. Ireland was given representation in the British Parliament and became a part of the United Kingdom, but Catholics still faced much discrimination and poverty. Scotland provided education for the wealthy and struggled with reforms. Owen and Thompson developed ways of alleviating the exploitation of children and women by working for more equality and community cooperation.
      Scottish romantic literature was developed by the poet Robert Burns and the poet and novelist Walter Scott. Although Mark Twain criticized Scott for his bad influence, Scott believed that his novels showed how people are responsible for their actions. William Blake and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote with a spiritual perspective, and the value of their work endures. Byron gave up his aristocratic heritage to pursue literature by expressing his free thinking in politics and spiritual philosophy. He actively supported the Greek movement for independence. His friend Shelley was also a political radical and brilliant poet. Shelley wrote on behalf of the rights of the Irish. He wrote about the power of love and advocated nonviolence rather than retribution. Jane Austen wrote novels with wit and wisdom, exploring the views of women.
      German states ruled by kings and aristocrats in 1789 were challenged by the radical reforms of the French Revolution and the military power of the armies fighting for the republican cause. The French occupied many German lands and imposed constitutional governments using the Napoleonic Code. The aggressive imperialism of Napoleon and the French could not stand, and they were driven out; but German confederations with many reforms remained while revolutions were feared and suppressed. Austrians fought for their empire against the Turks and the French revolutionaries who forced them to withdraw from Italy. The British supported the Austrians against the French while the Swiss accepted the Revolution. Led by Napoleon the revolutionary French overcame the aristocratic Austrians, ending the Holy Roman Empire, but Franz II ruled Austria and Hungary autocratically. Austria joined with Russia, Prussia, and the British to defeat Napoleon’s French empire. Metternich was conservative and as a skilled diplomat he helped sustain the restoration of kings and aristocrats in a concert of Europe from 1815 to 1830. Hungarian revolutionaries were suppressed. The Swiss Confederation accepted reforms and tried to remain neutral during the wars. The Swiss retained their republican ways, and Pestalozzi improved the education of children.
      Kant wrote brilliantly about ethics and especially on how wars can be prevented by establishing justice with a permanent congress of nations and by following conscience. Fichte was also an idealist who advised that freedom means respecting others’ freedom, and he emphasized the need for economic justice. Fröbel and Herbart advanced the methods for educating children developed by Pestalozzi. The philosopher Hegel taught a spiritual Christianity and ethics while developing a dialectical method of thinking. He also valued education, justice, and international law. Schiller sought to develop a harmony between ethics and esthetics by using reason and art to find moral freedom. He wrote histories and historical plays to help people integrate these ideas with feelings. Kleist also wrote plays and stories that portrayed society in this time. The mystical poet Novalis wrote by inspiration. Goethe’s tragedy Torquato Tasso reflected his own challenges writing in an aristocratic society. His Wilhelm Meister novels described intellectual adventures, and Elective Affinities described the difficulties of romances. Goethe’s poetic Faust dramas boldly explored spiritual challenges. The great music of Beethoven and others also enhanced the romantic movement pioneered in German culture. From the idealism of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and others to innovations on children’s education by Pestalozzi, Fröbel, and Herbart and with the plays and music of this romantic era German culture was very influential in the changing consciousness stimulated by the French Revolution.
      Spain with its declining empire and debt was caught in the conflict between revolutionary France and Britain. The French invaded Spain in 1794 but then made peace and allied with them while the British plundered Spanish trade. Spain raised taxes and sold church lands, and hungry peasants revolted. Spain tried to be neutral but declared war on Britain in 1804 and lost their fleet. When more French armies invaded in 1808, Spain’s royal family was divided and went to France. Spaniards rose up to fight the French occupiers for Fernando VII and their independence. Spanish towns set up juntas and a Junta Suprema. The British supported the Spaniards against the French with money and troops. Some opposed the aristocratic juntas, and guerrilla fighters harassed the French. The Duke of Wellington led a British and Portuguese army that helped the Spaniards defeat the French while people suffered from a famine. Spanish deputies passed a monarchical constitution with liberal reforms in 1812, but in 1814 Fernando VII returned with an army and claimed autocratic power. Yet Spanish resistance played a role in defeating the Napoleonic empire. In 1820 Spaniards elected a Cortes and gained more local control. In 1823 a royalist French army invaded, and after a three-year war they restored a repressive Fernando VII. Spain lost most of its colonies and its reforms.
      Portugal was invaded by the Spaniards and the French, and the royal family took refuge in Brazil for thirteen years. The British supported the Portuguese, and together they helped the Spaniards defeat the French invaders. Portugal also made liberal reforms in 1821 as King João VI returned, and Brazil became independent under his son Pedro; but royalists regained control, and João’s son Miguel became a repressive king in 1828.
      Italy also became a battleground as the French Revolution used force of arms under Napoleon to spread their republican reforms. The French imperialists replaced the Austrians for a while and set up constitutional republics that turned into aristocratic states ruled by Napoleon and his relatives. The Napoleonic Code imposed reforms as the French exploited Italian resources and barred trade with Britain. In 1814 Austrians drove the French out of northern Italy and stayed to impose imperial rule.
      In 1790 Belgians developed a constitution and declared independence, but imperial Austrians repressed them. Then the revolutionary French drove away the Austrians and in 1795 turned the Dutch Republic into the Batavian Republic. Although the Netherlands was a much smaller country, their economy was the size of France’s. The Dutch fought off an invading Anglo-Russian army in 1799. The French militarized them, exploited them, and annexed them in 1809. After Napoleon’s defeats Belgium and Holland were united under King Willem in 1815. In the 1820s they expanded industries, trade, and population.
      Neutral Denmark prospered in the 1790s but suffered in the wars from 1800 to 1815 and was badly affected by its 1813 bankruptcy. Norwegians tried to be independent in 1814 and negotiated a constitutional union with invading Sweden. Norway abolished hereditary nobility in 1821. Sweden and Denmark joined with Russia on Armed Neutrality. Sweden improved agriculture and opposed French imperialism. Gustav IV freed Pomeranian serfs but was forced out for neglecting the Riksdag (legislature). Sweden worked on a constitution and allied with France against Britain. French Marshal Bernadotte loaned them money and became crown prince and later King Karl XIV. Finland was invaded by the Russians in 1808 but was allowed to be self-governing. Isolated Iceland began trading with the British in 1809. Scandinavians were influenced by revolutionary reforms like most of Europe, but they also suffered from the Napoleonic Wars.
      Poland’s Seym approved a constitution in 1791; but Russians invaded in 1792 and partitioned Poland with Prussia in 1793, and then they took all of it with Austria in 1797. Some Poles became revolutionaries. Napoleon and Aleksandr in 1807 forced Prussia to give back Warsaw. Napoleon also used Poland’s troops for his military adventures. In 1815 the Allies allowed Poland a small kingdom, which was dominated by Russia. Russia’s Ekaterina II had squelched Poland’s constitutional effort, but she raised her grandson Aleksandr to be a better emperor than her son Pavel. Tsar Aleksandr granted amnesty to Pavel’s victims and made reforms. He promoted neutrality and urged a league of peace. His refusal to negotiate with the invading Napoleon led to the ruin of that Emperor’s ambition. Aleksandr suggested a Holy Alliance and cooperated with Metternich in the Concert of Nations to keep the peace but also to retain monarchical rule. Russia cooperated with European powers to aid Greek autonomy in the Ottoman Empire. Greeks struggled for freedom from 1790 and began a rebellion against the Turks in 1821 that was supported by Europeans and achieved an independent Greek state by 1829.
      In this era the French Revolution despite its terror and militarism inspired extraordinary reforms in European society. Yet the long wars from 1792 to 1815 showed the folly of military aggression. For a century Europeans seemed to learn this lesson with minor exceptions until the empires fell into the disastrous Great War in 1914.

Copyright © 2018 by Sanderson Beck

EUROPE & REVOLUTION 1789-1830 has been published as a book.
For ordering information, please click here.

France’s Revolution 1789-95
France & Napoleon’s Rise & Fall 1796-1815
France of Louis XVIII & Charles X 1814-30
Britain’s Reaction to France 1789-1799
Britain: War and Recovery 1800-30
Romantic Era of English Literature 1789-1830
Germans, Austria & Swiss 1789-1830
German Idealists and Romantics 1789-1830
Spain, Portugal and Italy 1789-1830
Netherlands and Scandinavia 1789-1830
Poland, Russia & Greek Revolution 1789-1830
Summary and Evaluating Europe 1789-1830


Chronology of Europe 1716-1830
World Chronology 1715-1815
World Chronology 1816-1830

BECK index