European Imperialism

After France had been defeated in a revolution, there was a meeting by all the great powers of Europe with an intent of restoring the balance of power, as it was before 1789 (Anderson, 2003). In 1815, representatives of all the great nations in Europe gathered in a meeting, referred to as the Congress of Vienna; and all the powerful nations in Europe were working to achieve the peaceful establishment of the balance of powers in Europe. These events took place after the Napoleonic wars. This in itself was not enough to halt the spread of the revolutionary movement across Europe. The middle class of the European countries was agitating for democracy; this was after the successful victory of the French Revolution. The onset of the industrial revolution had introduced a lot of benefits to the people of Europe, and the low class had been influenced by socialistic ideals, as well as by communism and anarchism; these theories had been developed by individuals, such as Karl Marx among other people. There was also a development of liberalism or what is referred to as capitalism today.

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The Congress of Vienna, as well as the revolutions that took place in Europe in 1848, was crucial in making huge changes in the political, social, as well as economic life of the peoples of Europe. There was the development of the ideologies, such as liberalism or what is today called capitalism, romanticism, and the development of nationalistic feelings. This was a time of industrialization that changed the course of Europe, and had influenced the life of people and the monarchies across Europe greatly. The monarchs that used to rule the conservative countries were forced to accept the principle of collective action and the use of a nation’s military in dealing with political protest or revolutions facing them. After 1815, European political powers were determined to prevent arising of the new political protests, and thus were determined to suppress these protests at all costs. The principles of suppressing the revolutionaries lived long even after 1815; however, the international alliances’ influences had reduced significantly. The revolutionaries were, thus, facing a huge challenge to make any changes in the political systems of their nations.

There was growth of instability due to the coming into action of various socialist groups in different countries, such as Germany, Poland, and Italy among others that sought for the unification of their people, especially those who spoke the same language. Therefore, between 1815 and early 1870’s, Europe experienced a rise in nationalism and a lot of revolutionary efforts, and wars for the independence. One of the major revolutions took place in Greece where the Ottoman Empire had ruled the people for a number of years. As a result, Greece, eventually, achieved its independence from the Turkish rulers. Napoleon III, who also happened to be the nephew of Napoleon I, returned to Italy and was instrumental after having been elected to the country’s parliament, and later appointed himself an emperor. The appointment of Napoleon III the emperor was later ratified by the electorate in Italy; he worked hard to unify the people of Italy after leading his people to fight in the Crimean war and defeat the Austrian Empire. The rule of Napoleon III was later finished by the victory of the French people in the French Revolution. What is today the territory of Germany was shaped in Versailles, later.

Even though, the European revolutionaries were in most cases defeated, they had an impact on their nations in terms of transforming the monarchies into democracies. Most of the absolute monarchies that had existed for years were changed into constitutional monarchies. Some countries, such as Germany and Italy, were transformed into independent states. The British Empire emerged as a huge political power due to both the industrial revolution and the effects of the Napoleonic wars.

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