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Conservatism, Liberalism, and Nationalism: The

Volatile Mix of International and Domestic Politics,

Invasion of Russia fails

Napoleon abdicates.

The Revolutionary
wars, and the
Revolution, were over.
Or so it appeared…
What should Europe’s new frontiers be?

Who should negotiate with whom?

How strong should the France of
the future be?
What form of government should nation states
have? Liberal? Conservative? Nationalism?
The Source of
Revolutionary Disturbances
“When Paris sneezes, Europe
catches a cold. The disease
must be cured, the volcano
must be extinguished, the
Prince Metternich
gangrene must be burned out
of Austria
with a hot iron.”
Opposed Liberalism and Nationalism of the
French Revolution
Def: advocates limited government in order to
protect individual liberties.

It is the ideology of Freedom:

Right to Property Freedom of Assembly
Equality of opportunity Freedom of Press
Free Trade Freedom of Religion
Freedom of Speech
Freedom from arbitrary arrest
The origins of Liberalism:
• The Enlightenment introduced the idea of a social
contract based on natural rights and equality of men.
John Locke: “all men are born free and equal.”
• French Revolution instituted a new political order
based on individual freedom
• Such rights and freedoms would be guaranteed in
constitutions as Liberalism demanded representative
government as opposed to autocratic monarchy

• Napoleon codifies this philosophy in Napoleonic Code

which spreads to most of Europe
• Liberal economists believe the best government
governs the least. The government should let the
economy alone—laissez-faire. Economic freedom
should be given through free trade.
• Valued equality of opportunity—each individual
has the opportunity to succeed; careers are open to
all citizens on the basis of their talents, not their
titles, heritage, or privileges.
Life is “like a rat race”—everyone has the opportunity to win.
But this also means that there will be losers.
(Industrialization brought poverty)
• Until the Revolutions of 1848, Liberals did
NOT want democracy (or Universal Manhood

• Why? You must have a stake in society—

property. Liberalism guarantees a
right to private property.

John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill
Generally men of the business and educated
Def: a sense of unity based upon shared
characteristics: language, culture, historical
experience, religion, ethnicity and geography.

To some, nationalism expressed a desire or right

for nationalities to rule themselves. Examples of
nationalities that did not rule themselves in 1815
were Germans, Italians, and Poles. They wanted
it – conservatives worried about more revolution
Def: advocates legitimate,
traditional government in order to
preserve the status-quo.
Edmund Burke, the founder of modern
conservative thought, wrote: “The state
was a partnership, but one not only
between those who are living, but
between those who are living, those who
are dead and those who are to be born…
No one generation therefore has the
• Legitimacy – restoring the hereditary rule
of monarchs on their thrones of Europe.
Belief in the Divine Right of Kings or

• Traditions – feudal privileges, social

hierarchies and orders, traditional Catholicism.

The nobility was one of Europe’s most ancient

institutions, and conservatives regarded tradition
as the basic source of human institutions.
• Preserve the Status Quo: Peace, Stability,
and Order is achieved by a Balance of
Conservatives: Edmund Burke, Prince
Generally aristocrats of noble or royal blood
The peacemakers of 1815 (Britain, Prussia, Austria,
and Russia) were men who were backward-looking
and conservative, who believed that liberalism was
responsible for a generation of war and untold
bloodshed and suffering.
1) To think strategically – what goals?
2) To use diplomacy to get what you want
3) To understand how the major powers achieved
the THREE goals of the Congress of Vienna
• Legitimacy – restore monarchs on their
thrones. Put the government back to the way
it was. Reactionary and conservatives rule
• Compensation – Land! in 1815, size was
everything. Winners regain what they lost from
France. Try for more
• Balance of Power – a new European order in
which no single power was able to dominate.
More than anything, they wanted to prevent another Napoleon
figure from ever conquering Europe again. They want to
replace French hegemony with an equilibrium. Want liberalism
and nationalism
BLOCKED as liberal and nationalist uprising are what opened
door to Napoleon.
Not simply a territorial arrangement; it was, more
importantly, a strategic and military balance. They
embraced the idea of ‘buffer zones’ between their
country and potentially hostile neighbors.
Metternich System
• Goal – not just balance of power across
countries, but conservative/reactionary rule
• Each country’s rulers would suppress
liberal and nationalist threats through
various means like censorship
• Could call on one another for help
• Would it work?
Reaction against Reaction of
Congress of Vienna and Metternich
• Across Europe, liberals and nationalists tested
Metternich system – lots of revolts and reforms
• Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 show legacy of
French Revolution and Enlightenment not dead.
Vive la Revolution!!!!!!
• But conservatism stays a major force
• Presence of all three – conservatism, liberalism,
and nationalism makes for volatile relations within
and among nation states
Industrialization will introduce
Another idea -- socialism
An emphasis on community, harmony, and
cooperation rather than competitive spirit of
Liberalism. They seek an equitable distribution of
wealth though state assistance. (communal
ownership of property)

Socialists: Robert Owen and Karl Marx

Generally the lower classes (proletariat)