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Flashcards in O'Leary: Europe in 1815 Deck (5)
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1

Great Powers: Britain 1815

- Britain and Russia were the two dominant powers in international affairs
- in 1815, Britain was more than just supreme at sea ; she had regained a reputation as a military power, thanks to Wellington's successes in Spain and his victory over Napoleon at Waterloo.
- she had paid an important role in european diplomacy the last 50 years.
- As the first industrial Nation, Britain enjoyed half a century or more of economic supremacy over her continental neighbours
- Britain dominated markets throughout the world; Latin America, India and the US, imported a large amount of Britains manufactures, especially textiles and engineering goods in exchange for raw materials
- Between 1840, 1860 Britain's world trade trebled in value and continued to expand rapidly until the 1870s.
- Britain had a unique political system in this period. In 1815 she possessed a well established system of parliamentary government under a constitutional monarch who exercised some political influence, but who did not determine policy.
- The political system in Britain was far from being democratic ; even after the 1832 reform act only one in five adult males had the right to vote for members of Parliament.

2

Great powers: Russia 1815

- Russia's emergance as a european great power dated from her victories over turkey and her acquisition of Polish territory in the late eighteenth century.
- her military reputation was enhanced by the defeat inflicted upon Napoleon's grand army in 1812-13.
- until the mid 1850s Russia was a staunch defender of monarchical rights and conservatism, following the crimean war 1854-6 she became less committed
- The Russian economy was the ost backward in Europe during 1815-70. serfdom survived until 1861. 80 per cent of the population were serfs.
- she could not successfully exploit her best sources of raw materials/
- Russia was great by her size and limitless supplies of serf conscripts.
- At root, Tsarist Russia was a partnership between the Tsar and the landowning nobility and gentry whose interests could not be ignored. It was equally unwise for the Tsar to offend the higher clergy of the Orthodox Church, who sustained his image as God's representative on Earth.
- The Tsar was free to govern as an absolute ruler since no parliament existed before 1905.

3

Great Powers 1815: France

- Despite being thw vanquished nation, rance was nevertheless regardd after 1815 as ranking second only to Russia as a military Power. With the rebuilding of her fleet she also became Britains main rival as a naval power.
- she was regarded by other powers as the revolution incarnate, and thus the other powers of Europe were hesitant of her.
- Anglo-french cooperation in international affairs turned out to be a fitful matter from 1830 to 1870, partly because of British suspicions of French aims and partly through rivalry or prestige and trade.
- France's industrial growth was spasmodic for several decades, following no clear pattern
-much of france remained agricultural , farming provided employment for about half the active population as late as 1870
- industrialisation only began to accelerate after 1850 when railway building and easy credit encouraged rapid expansion of the iron and steel industries
- France was the only continental power to have a system of government resembling Britain. The charter of 1814 made France a constitutional monarchy in which the king retained considerable power and the right to vote was confined to the wealthy
- But the revolution of 1830 brought about a change of monarch; that of 1848, a change of regime. the short lived republican experiment of 1848-51 introduced the principle of manhood suffrage, which remained thereafter the basis of the french electoral system.

4

Great powers 1815: AUSTRIA

- in the years from 1815 to 1848, Austria exerted an influence over in European affairs that was quite out of proportion to her limited financial and military resources. This owed something to the astute diplomacy of her foreign minister, Prince Metternich.
- Austria had several key roles within Europe, to keep Russia in check in eastern europe; to maintain stability in italy and germany; and to oppose the contagion of revolutionary ideas that was regarded as a threat to monarchical rule and conservatism.
- Her empire was crumbling from within, she was comprised of a dozen nationalities.
- Her ability to act as a great power was undermined by military weakness, arising from a persistent financial crisis. Bankrupt in 1811, the Austrian treasury was burdened with a large national debt.
- the national debt trebled between 1848 and 1866, this imposed severe constraints on Austria's military.
- agriculture employed 70% of the population
- Austrian industry in general was technologically backward
- she was an absolute monarchy until the 1860s
- The main function of the Habsburg empire and his ministers was to resist the forces of change by any means available, this included censorship, use of political police and reliance on a large bureaucracy and the army.
- She alienated Russia during the Crimean War for her lack of engagement to back her ally

5

Great Powers 1815: PRUSSIA

- Prussia was regarded as the weakest of the great powers in 1815
- Her timid and hesitant policies denied her the chance to exercise more influence over the smaller German states, she tended to follow Austria's lead.
- By 1870, however, Prussia had become a great power of the first rank. Industrial reform and military reform in the 1850s reshaped her status withheld in Europe
- Three factors played a crucial role in the expansion of the prussian economy after 1850; waterways, railways and the zollverrein.
- Until the late 1840s Prussia was an absolute monarchy, despite the King;s promise in 1815 to summon a representative assembly for the whole kingdom.