In Prague, the Czechs made similar demands. Overwhelmed by events, the Austrian government agreed to the reforms. The gains were temporary, however. Austrian troops soon regained control of Vienna and Prague and smashed the rebels in Budapest.

A map shows revolutionary uprisings of 1848. Revolutions occurred in Paris, and throughout Italy, the German states, and Austria. Russia, Hungary, Prussia, and France sent troops to neighboring states to help suppress their revolutions.

Analyze Maps

France's successful 1848 uprising sparked revolutions throughout Europe. How does the map show the difficulties conservatives had in stopping the spread of revolutionary ideas?

Revolts in Italy

Uprisings also erupted in the Italian states. Nationalists wanted to end Hapsburg domination. As elsewhere, nationalist goals were linked to demands for liberal reforms such as constitutional government. Workers suffering economic hardships demanded even more radical changes.

From Venice in the north to Naples in the south, Italians set up independent republics. Revolutionaries expelled the pope from Rome. Before long, the forces of reaction returned, backed by military force. Austrian troops ousted the new governments in northern Italy. A French army restored the pope to power. Elsewhere, liberal reforms were canceled.

Rebellion in the German States

In the German states, university students demanded national unity and liberal reforms. Economic hard times and a potato famine brought peasants and workers into the struggle. In Prussia, liberals forced King Frederick William IV to accept a constitution written by an elected assembly. Within a year, though, he dissolved the assembly.

Throughout 1848, delegates from German states met in the Frankfurt Assembly. Divisions soon emerged over whether Germany should be a republic or a monarchy and whether to include Austria in a united German state.

Finally, the assembly offered Prussia's Frederick William IV the crown of a united Germany. To their dismay, the conservative king rejected the offer because it came not from the German princes but from the people—“from the gutter,” as he described it.

Failed Revolutions

By 1850, rebellions faded, ending the age of liberal revolution that began in 1789. Why did the uprisings fail? In general, revolutionaries did not have mass support. Also, opposing goals divided liberals, who wanted moderate political reforms, and workers, who sought radical economic changes. And rulers did not hesitate to use force to crush the uprisings.

At mid century, although Metternich was gone, his conservative system remained in force. In the decades ahead, liberalism, nationalism, and socialism would win successes not through revolution, but through political activity.


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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