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Revolutions of 1820

Beneath the tide of reaction, the principles of the Revolution survived. The two positive forces in politics for the 19th century were to be democracy and nationality. The league of princes compelled them to work underground; but before the middle of the century they emerged in three series of revolutions - in 1820, 1830, and 1848.

The revolutions of 1820 started in Spain, to re-establish the Constitution of 1812, which had been adopted first during the war for Independence. Completely successful there for the time, the movement spread swiftly over the southern peninsulas - to Portugal and to the states of North and South Italy, while it stimulated the Greek rising against the Turks. Metternich found a weapon of repression ready. After Waterloo the four great allies, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and England, had agreed to preserve their union against revolutionary France by holding occasional congresses. Metternich now summoned these powers to the Congress of Troppau. Here the despotic masters of Russia, Austria, and Prussia signed an agreement to unite in putting down revolution against any established government. Ergland protested and withdrew from the alliance; but her place was taken by France, and the united despots, popularly known as the "Holy Alliance," proceeded to carry out the Troppau programme. With overwhelming armies they crushed constitutionalism in Naples and Piedmont, and a little later, in Spain. England's fleet preserved the little sea-coast country of Portugal from attack; and the Tsar's sympathy for his Greek coreligionists held Metternich from aiding Turkey. Portugal and Greece were the only European lands to reap good from the widespread risings of this period.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 03:29:20 ZULU