1-12: Congress of Vienna

Assignment 12: Congress of Vienna

Part 1 of 1: Review the points below and answer the questions that follow.

  • The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815

o   With Napoleon defeated, the Congress of Vienna met to redraw the map of Europe. The old politicians re-created many of the old states that Napoleon had destroyed. Old royal families took their thrones in Spain, Holland, Italy and Germany. Italy was divided into twelve states, the northern states under Austria. The German Confederation was made up of 39 states and it included Austria and Prussia. Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg were united into one kingdom (Kingdom of the Netherlands). Poland was given to Russia. Prussia received the Rhineland as a buffer against a French attack against Germany.

  • Nationalism

o   During the Revolutionary Wars, the French set up new nations in lands they had conquered (in Italy, Germany, Poland). Many Europeans found out what it was like to live in their own nations. This came to an end in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna. Millions of Italians came again under Austrian rule, Poles under Russian rule, Belgians under Dutch rule and so on. Napoleon and the French, however, had set an example that these people would not forget. In 1830 and 1848 people who were not happy with the way their country was governed, did what the French had done in 1789 – they rebelled against their foreign rulers.

  • Liberalism

o   The idea of giving people liberty and equality through a constitution was one of the important achievements of the French Revolution. Liberal constitutions were introduced into the states that came under French control. The idea of liberty and equality therefore spread across Europe. But in 1815 the old rulers of Europe took back their thrones and got rid of these constitutions and went back ruling in the old way. Millions of Europeans became liberals, believing in the ideas of liberty and equality, and wanting a constitution giving them rights. The liberals were to take a leading part in the European revolutions of 1830 and 1848.

  • The Metternich System, 1815-1848

o   Metternich, the Austrian Chancellor convinced the other European leaders to join together to crush revolutions (the Congress System). In Austria, Germany and Italy Metternich set up a secret police system to look for secret societies made up of liberals, nationalists and revolutionary groups. These groups plotted secretly to bring down conservative governments in Europe. Metternich’s system survived until his downfall with the European Revolutions of 1848.

  • Memories of the Revolution and Napoleon

o   The legacies of the French Revolution were: (a) the Declaration of Rights of Man, (b) the French tricolor flag, (c) the Marseillais (France’s national anthem), and (d) the 14th of July (Bastille Day) which became the national day of France. The legacies of Napoleon were: (a) the Napoleonic Legend created and kept alive with numerous monuments to his memory: the Hotel des Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe and (b) the Code Napoleon which remained France’s legal code until the early 1900s.


  1. After the Congress of Vienna who came to control the areas that had been under French control? Why would the Congress do this?
  2. How were the effects of the French Revolution felt in the 1830’s and 1840’s long after Napoleon’s death?
  3. Who are the Liberals? Why did they become so popular after the French Revolution?
  4. What was the goal of the Metternich system?
  5. Looking back at Napoleon and the French Revolution, do you think the effects of both were on the whole positive or negative? Explain

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