In Europe, at the beginning of the 19th century, liberal ideas, spread by Napoleon, pleased more and more the bourgeoisie. These ideals preached the end of the State's interference in private and public life and fought against mercantilism, the economic model employed by absolutism.
Liberal ideas, then, advanced across much of the European continent, and many monarchs had their powers limited. The bourgeoisie organized itself into political functions and began to demand the creation of parliamentary representative bodies, preventing political decisions from being concentrated in the hands of the king or the aristocracy.
A revolutionary wave marked Europe between the years 1830 and 1848.
The main events took place in France: the first, in 1830, of a liberal character; the second, in 1848, when a series of conflicts broke out that had a greater social and nationalist component than the previous ones.
The revolutions that took place around 1830 affected almost all of Europe. Belgium became independent from the Netherlands, establishing a liberal monarchy. However, the situation change in Central and Eastern Europe, this revolutionary process was not so successful.
In France, though, the revolts expanded. The Bourbons were defeated in the July Revolution of 1830. After Napoleon's defeat, King Louis XVIII was restored to the French throne in 1815, but he refused to submit to a constitution that limited his powers. His successor, Charles X, also refused to subordinate himself to parliamentarians in political and economic decisions.
This situation led to a series of demonstrations and revolts, which led to the abdication of Charles X in 1830. In his place, the bourgeoisie supported the coronation of King Louis Philippe of Orleans, who became known as the Bourgeois King.
However, the situation of the poorest people in France became increasingly critical. The miserable living conditions, political neglect caused a rural exodus. These discontented sectors began to unite, becoming a threat to the capitalists.
The revolutions of the 1830s reflected the strong discontent of the popular classes. In addition, a more radical democratic and republican movement emerged. This movement would soon face, for example, the new French constitutional monarchy, based on the principles of moderate liberalism: census vote and control of the system by the upper bourgeoisie.
Springtime of the Nations (1848)
The year 1848 was marked by the so-called Springtime of the nations, a series of revolutions that spread across Europe. The popular rebellions began in Paris and spread to Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and Budapest. The people took to the streets, setting up blockades and confronting their governments.
In the face of this, workers, students, artisans, and small merchants united and occupied the city of Paris, which forced the king to abdicate the throne. Consequently, the Second French Republic was declared.
A temporary republican government was installed, to contain the popular rebellion and organize an election. This government defended a universal vote for men and the creation of handicraft workshops. In addition, a maximum working day of ten hours was achieved.
Unhappy, the bourgeois reacted and looked for a way to manipulate the situation back in their favor. There was, on the part of moderate liberal groups, strong opposition to these measures. In the Constituent Assembly elections, the moderates emerged victoriously.
The revolution became radicalized, and the petty bourgeoisie, previously aligned with the working classes, allied itself with the upper bourgeoisie. The struggle against absolutism was transformed into a conflict between bourgeois and workers, resulting in repression. The popular intensified their demonstrations, and what was a revolution became a civil war. The Assembly defined that the Executive Power, from then on, would fall to a president, elected to govern for four years.
This environment of revolt and tension favored the victory in the 1848 presidential elections of Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon's nephew.