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Revolutions of 1848


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A series of revolutions in western and central Europe. Revolution erupted first in France, where supporters of universal suffrage and a socialist minority under Louis Blanc caused the overthrow of the July monarchy of Louis Philippe and established the Second Republic. In most German states there were popular demonstrations and uprisings, and a movement for an elected national parliament to draft a constitution for a united Germany. Rioting in Austria caused the flight of both Metternich and the emperor, and the formation of a constituent assembly and the emancipation of the peasantry. A movement for Hungarian independence, headed by Kossuth, led to a short-lived republican government from Budapest for all Hungarian lands; but Magyar refusal to consider independence for its own minorities resulted in an insurrection by Croat, Serb, and Transylvanian forces and in Hungary's defeat by Austrian and Russian forces. In the Italian states there was a series of abortive revolutions which led to the temporary expulsion of the Austrians and the flight of Pope Pius IX from Rome, but the united, democratic republic dreamt of by Mazzini did not come about. A Pan-Slav Congress in Prague inspired Czech nationalist demonstrations to demand autonomy within a federal Austria. By 1849 counter-revolutionary forces had restored order, but the concept of absolute monarchy and the feudal rights of a land-owning aristocracy had been tacitly abandoned.

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