High School History: Congress of Vienna

Congress of Vienna - 1814

- main goals were to bring an end to the Napoleonic Wars and secure peace in Europe.

Two opposing political philosophies greatly influenced events in the 1800's :
1. Liberalism - a philosophy that supports guarantees for individual freedom, political change, and social reform. The liberals supported freedom of speech, political change, and social reform. They supported the ideas of the French Revolution..
2. Conservatism - a philosophy that supports the traditional political and social order and resists changes that threaten that way of life. Conservatives condemned the French Revolution because it upset the traditional way of governing by the monarchy and nobility.

Nationalism - began as the desire to form a nation
- grew to mean not only love of a country, but also pride in a common cultural heritage, regardless of political boundaries.
- Liberals usually supported nationalism because it united people in a common cause, such as freeing their countries from foreign control.
- Conservatives usually feared nationalism because it threatened to upset the traditional political order.
* There were more conservatives than liberals at the Congress of Vienna in 1814.
Congress of Vienna - almost one year long - more party than work
- a few serious delegates were determined to redraw the map of Europe:

Big Four:
1) Prince Metternich - Austrian minister of foreign affairs (host)
2) Czar Alexander I - Russia
3) Lord Castlereagh - Britain's foreign minister
Duke of Wellington (defeated Napoleon) - Britain
4) Charles de Talleyrand - France - leading policy maker and diplomat

Metternich - German-born aristocrat
- family moved to Vienna after the French Revolution left them pennilessv
- married a wealthy countess
-gained wealth and land and access to highest social and political circles in Austria
-became foreign minister and later chancellor of Austria
-a conservative who opposed liberalism and nationalism

Alexander I of Russia - vain (specially tailored uniforms) and idealistic (religious enthusiasm)
- brought to the Congress of Vienna a vision of international relations based on the Christian values of charity and justice

Viscount Castlereagh, British Foreign minister
- opposed to changes that would shake the order and balance of European politics
- wanted to prevent anything like the French Revolution or Napoleonic Wars from happening in the future
- believed this could be achieved by restoring the balance of power in Europe
- once balance of power was restored, no nation could become either too strong or too weak

Charles de Talleyrand - had the most difficult job at the congress, because France was seen as the villain (French Revolution and Napoleon - nearly 25 years of war)
-hoped to see his nation was not punished too severely

The Big Four - Castlereagh (Britain), Metternich (Austria), Alexander I (Russia) and Talleyrand (France) wanted to turn back the political clock of European history - they wanted to return power to the rulers whose families had been removed from the throne by Napoleon.

The French monarchy was restored. Louis XVIII, no longer an absolute monarch, issued a constitution that established a two house legislature, or lawmaking body
- France had the most liberal monarchy in all of Europe, but was still criticized by liberals for limiting the vote of wealthy citizens
In Prussia, Austria, Spain and some of the smaller states of the Italian peninsula, absolute rulers were returned to the thrones that Napoleon had taken from them.
The Congress of Vienna had hoped to return the rest of the European governments and political boundaries to what they had been before 1789.
They also wanted to repay each country for the lands it had lost to Napoleon.
But, greed, rather than justice, guided each delegate's thinking. Each delegate tried to get as much land as possible for his country. Talleyrand tried to surrender as little as possible and due to his great diplomatic skills, was largely successful.
In the end, France was reduced only to the size it had been in 1790.
Russia got Finland and part of Poland.
Norway was taken from Denmark and given to Sweden
Austria lost Belgium to the Netherlands
Austria got territory in northern Italy
Great Britain got the islands of Malta and Ceylon and the Cape of Good Hope (southern point of Africa)
The German confederation of 39 states was formed, ending the Holy Roman Empire.

The Metternich System: The conservative political policies of the Austrian foreign minister, Prince Metternich tried to enforce the return to absolute rule, as well as all other decisions of the Congress of Vienna. This was intended to prevent France from starting other wars.

Quadruple Alliance: agreement signed by leaders of Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, and Austria to protect the settlement at Vienna
- agreed to act as the Afire department@ of Europe, using their armies to put out the Aflames of revolution@ wherever they were
- agreed to meet from time to time to see what needed to be done to hold back the tide of change

Holy Alliance - a plan devised by Alexander I of Russia - nations would let God guide their relations - they would help one another to ensure a peaceful world for all

Most of the countries at the Congress of Vienna joined the Holy Alliance, although they did not really believe that it could be carried out.

The Congress of Vienna achieved its main goals:
-They redrew the map of Europe and built a peaceful and stable Europe. (100 years until WWI)
-Switzerland was enlarged and its neutrality was guaranteed when larger nations agreed not to send troops across its borders.
-Travel on the Rhine was open to all countries.
-Delegates condemned the slave trade in which African blacks were captured and sold in North and South America.
-Delegates to the Congress of Vienna wanted to ensure that there would be no more revolutions, and so they tried hard to kill the spirit of the French Revolution. The goals of the Revolution were: liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Liberty - the writing of constitutions that guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom from the power of absolute monarchs
Equality - the abolition of special class privileges
Fraternity - the unity of the people in wanting a better life and a free government
This was the political freedom the United States had won, but was many years off for Europe.