At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the powerful rulers of Europe sought to suppress revolutionary ideas, preserve their own power, and set up a lasting peace. Prince Clemens von Metternich, a commanding force at the congress, warned of the dangers of the “revolutionary seed” spread by the French Revolution and Napoleon. Revolutionary ideas, he warned, not only threatened Europe's monarchs, but also undermined the values of the old social order.
Prince Metternich served as the foreign minister of Austria from 1809 to 1848. To suppress revolutionary ideas, he urged conservatives to censor the press and crush protests in their countries.
Passions are let loose…to overthrow everything that society respects as the basis of its existence: religion, public morality, laws, customs, rights, and duties, all are attacked, confounded [defeated], overthrown, or called in question.
—Prince Clemens von Metternich
Unlike the monarchs attending the Congress of Vienna, other voices loudly opposed Metternich's views. In the decades after 1815, people with opposing ideologies, or systems of thought and belief, plunged Europe into turmoil.
The Congress of Vienna was a victory for the conservative forces, which included monarchs and their officials, noble landowners, and church leaders. To preserve the old political and social order, European monarchs worked together to ensure stability and prevent revolution. This arrangement is sometimes called the Concert of Europe.