Revolutions of 1830

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Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix commemorates the July Revolution
Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Egide Charles Gustave Wappers (1834), in the Musée d'Art Ancien, Brussels

The 19th century is marked in Europe by a set of civil wars which marks the wake of the European nations and the establishment of nation states.

The Revolutions of 1830 were a revolutionary wave in Europe. It included two "romantic" revolutions, the Belgian Revolution in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the July Revolution in France along with revolutions in Congress Poland and Switzerland.

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Romantic revolutions

The romantic revolutions led to the establishment of very similar constitutional monarchies, called popular monarchies. Louis-Philippe of France became king on 31 July 1830, Leopold I of Belgium became king, on 21 July 1831. The French July monarchy would last until the 1848 Revolution. The Belgian monarchy is still alive and well.

Louis-Philip wore the title of the King of the French while Leopold wore the title of the King of the Belgians. This title was in contrast to the King of France, which reflected a monarchy's power over the country, instead of a kings rule over its people. This title reflects that the king does not take his mandate from God but from the people themselves.

In 1832, Leopold married Princess Louise-Marie Thérèse Charlotte Isabelle d'Orléans, daughter of Louis-Philippe.

Poland

Simultaneously in Congress Poland, the unsuccessful November Uprising against the Czar of Russia occurred.

Switzerland

In Switzerland, the rural population was poor and uneducated while politically and economically under the control of the nearby cities. During the French controlled Helvetic Republic in 1798 the ideas of freedom and equality spread. The medieval idea of different laws for city citizens and countryside peasants was overthrown. However, in 1803 the Helvetic Republic collapsed and was replaced by the Act of Mediation which struck a compromise between the Ancien Regime and a Republic. In the following years, even the limited freedoms under the Act were undermined and following Napoleon's defeat in 1813 the Act was overturned. In the Restoration, which started in 1814, the new constitution reduced the representation of rural areas in the cantonal councils.[1]

The Ustertag meets near Zurich on 22 November 1830

Following the French July Revolution in 1830, a number of large assemblies were held calling for new cantonal constitutions. As each canton had its own constitution, the assemblies in each canton addressed different specifics, but they all had two main issues. First, they called for peacefully adjusting the constitutions by adjusting the way seats in local legislatures and the Tagsatzung were allocated. In particular they objected to what they saw as the over-representation of the cantonal capital in the government.[2] Secondly, they sought a way to amend the constitution. Very few cantons even had a way to amend or modify the constitutions, and none of them allowed citizen's initiatives to be added.

The first assembly was held near Weinfelden in Thurgau in October and November 1830. Followed in November by meetings in Wohlenschwil, Aargau then Sursee, Lucerne and finally the Ustertag near Uster in Zurich. In December there were three assemblies in the Canton of St. Gallen in Wattwil, Altstätten and St. Gallenkappel as well as in Balsthal in Solothurn. The final assembly was held in Münsingen in Bern in January 1831.

The speeches and articles reporting on the assemblies were widely distributed and became very popular. The crowds were generally well behaved and orderly. For example, in Wohlenschwil it was reported that they met "in unexpectedly quiet attitude with decency and perfect order".[2] Even in Aargau and St. Gallen, where the crowd marched through the streets of Aarau (known as the Freiämtersturm)[3] and St. Gallen, the protest march was peaceful. Following the assemblies and marches, cantonal governments quickly gave into the demands of the assemblies and amended their constitutions.

References

  1. ^ City of Uster-Ustertag (German) accessed 6 January 2010
  2. ^ a b Volkstage in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  3. ^ "Auf nach Aarau, Freiämter!" (in German). Bremgarter Bezirks-Anzeigers. 2 December 2005. http://www.css.ethz.ch/mediadesk/Archiv/PDF_Articles2005/Furter_Article_WA_021205.pdf. Retrieved 25 May 2010.