In their view, only male property owners or others with a financial stake in society should have the right to vote. Not until later in the 1800s did liberals support the principle of universal manhood suffrage, giving all adult men the right to vote.

Liberals also strongly supported the laissez-faire economics of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. They saw the free market as an opportunity for capitalist entrepreneurs to succeed. As capitalists, and often employers, liberals had different goals from those of workers laboring in factories, mines, and other enterprises of the early Industrial Revolution.

Nationalism Grows

Another challenge to Metternich's conservative order came from the rise of nationalist feelings. Like liberalism, nationalism was an outgrowth of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Nationalism, like liberalism, would feed the flames of revolt against the established order.

For centuries, European rulers had gained or lost lands through wars, marriages, and treaties. They exchanged territories and the people in them like pieces in a game. As a result, by 1815 Europe had several empires that included many nationalities. The Austrian, Russian, and Ottoman empires, for example, each included diverse peoples.

During the 1800s, national groups who shared a common heritage demanded their own states. Each group had its own leaders who inspired and organized the struggle. Although nationalism gave people a sense of identity and the goal of achieving an independent homeland, it also had negative effects. It often bred intolerance and led to persecution of other ethnic or national groups.

Rebellions Erupt in Eastern Europe

Spurred by the ideas of liberalism and nationalism, revolutionaries fought against the old order. Although these ideas stirred unrest in Western Europe, the first successful nationalist revolts occurred in Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe was home to a mix of peoples and religions. In the early 1800s, several Balkan peoples in southeastern Europe rebelled against the Ottomans, who had ruled them for more than 300 years.

Serbia Gains Independence

The first Balkan people to revolt were the Serbs. From 1804 to 1817, the Serbian independence leaders Karageorge (ka rah JAWR juh) and Milos Obrenovic (oh BRAY noh vich) battled Ottoman forces in two major uprisings.

Goals of Liberals and Conservatives
Ideas appealed to middle class of educated business people and professionals. Ideas appealed to royalty, nobility, church leaders, and uneducated peasants.


Governments based on written constitutions

Separation of powers

Natural rights of individuals (liberty, equality, and property)

Republican form of government

Laissezfaire economics

Revolution, if necessary, to achieve goals


Royal families on their thrones

Traditional social hierarchy

Authority of established churches

Respect and obedience to authority

Stability and order

Suppression of revolutions

Analyze Charts

Conservatives and liberals had very different ideas about the role of government. How did their different ideologies affect European politics in the early-to-mid-1800s?

Although Serbs had support from Russia, which shared its Slavic heritage and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Serbs faced a terrible struggle.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments