2 The Congress of Vienna and Post-Napoleonic Europe: -- Part 1
For a number of reasons, the gathering of Europe's leading statesmen in Vienna in 1814-15 is the starting point for this volume.
The Congress of Vienna's decisions were final in that year and Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo was considered a watershed by historians.
The boundaries of Europe's states were redrawn during the deliberations of the Congress.
The new borders and territorial adjustments established at the Congress lasted for a long time.
Europe's leading statesmen add up to a colorful and crucial story and the Congress stands out as a splendid spectacle: The ceremonial pomp and splendor of court life at the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna and the intricate meetings, lasting nearly a year, of Europe's leading statesmen
The Congress was distinctly European in nature and anything similar to it was unlikely to happen in the rest of the world at this time.
"We are all Europeans now," said Alexander I at the Congress.
If he had announced that "we are all one big family now," the claim would have had some genetic basis, for the dynasties reinstalled in Europe's many states in 1815 were remarkably much related to one another by blood and marriage.
It was published by John Wiley & Sons.
Every monarch in Europe had at least a distant cousin, if not a brother, sister, father, or mother, in the royal houses of other countries.
The dynastic internationalism would become even more notable in the 19th century.
Queen Victoria married her first cousin, a German prince, and her mother was a German princess.
The emperors of Germany and Russia were among the scores of relatives, children, and grandchildren she could count at the end of her rule in the 1890s.
Her son became King Edward VII after her death.
Europe's royalty and upper nobility were pulled together by a lot.
There is no more effective unifier than a powerful common enemy, and so nearly all were united in dread of Napoleon.
Most of Europe's royalty were not hardened Francophobes; a few had even married into the Bonapartist dynasty at the height of Napoleon's power.
Napoleon was denounced as the Antichrist.
The related one of Europe's Christian heritage was made by Alexander.
He said that the followers of the Prince of Peace should cooperate in assuring a Christian peace for Europe after so many years of war.
Alexander created an initial draft of the Holy Alliance.
He claimed that it would stamp out the godless, anti-Christian principles of the Revolution and Napoleon and uphold Christian ideals in international relations.
Prussia and Austria joined the Holy Alliance because they were suspicious of his motives.
Britain's Lord Castlereagh derided it as "nonsense" and "mysticism," in part because of its extremely vague, open-ended quality (signers committed themselves, for example, to offer mutual assistance in case there arose, in any country, a danger to peace,
The tempestuous negotiations at the Congress of Vienna made clear that the European dynasties were not a har monious one.
Their sense of having common interests was more genuine than that of Europe's general population.
Chapter 1 shows a comparison between the European scene and that of North America.
They wanted to unite their states into a single American nation, but their attempt to "Confederate" them failed.
Europeans began to emphasize their national differences from one another in a number of states with different languages, cultures, and histories, while Americans began to think of themselves as a single people in a single nation.
The Americans of the former thirteen colonies retained their Anglo-Protestant political and cultural values, but the majority spoke English.
Americans defined themselves as free people, equal citizens, not subjects of kings and nobles or tied down by feudal obligations.
The idea of a congress for purposes similar to the Congress of Vienna was not considered seriously by any major figure or nation.
The Americans of the former thirteen colonies had a sense of identity that was tighter than that of the residents of Latin America.
The various nations of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking South America never developed a congress system comparable to that of Europe, and of course never came to see themselves as a single people aspiring to forge a single nation.
In other areas of the globe where there were strong historical, linguistic, cultural, or religious affinities, such as China, India, or Arabia, a congress system of independent nations that were united in values and purpose was not part of their mental world.
The Congress of Vienna revealed a lot that was unique to Europe.
Developments in both North and South America since the 1770s were much on the minds of those meeting at Vienna in 1815, but mostly as a warning rather than as positive models to be emulated.
There were revolts against European domination.
They were based on revolutionary principles that were not in line with the guiding principles of the delegations to Vienna.
The Congress of Vienna was called by kings, emperors, and their ministers to restore their power and privileges.
The delegates to Vienna did not want to unite Europe so much as to bolster a Europe of independent states, dominated by equal major powers.
Austria, Britain, Prussia, and Russia defeated France.
Spain had been a great power in the 16th century, but had fallen out of favor by the 19th century.
The residents of most European countries harbored racist stereotypes about one another, even though they made snide remarks about the southern part of Italy.
The delegates to Vienna were not sure what they would be able to accomplish in terms of reestablishing something resembling the pre-1789 order.
Many new social groups and interests gained a degree of legitimacy after a quarter century, so a thoroughgoing return to the past could not be seriously entertained.
The influence of the royalists who had learned nothing and forgotten nothing since 1789 was not decisive at this point.
Kings and nobles across Europe had suffered traumatic losses, whereas significant numbers of commoners had risen in station and wealth, but simple logic suggested that the formerly privileged and the newly established could not both be completely satisfied.
Civil unrest and bloody battles on the battlefield were alternatives to compromise.