EDWARD RAYMOND TURNER, PH.D.
PROFESSOR OF EUROPEAN HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
AUTHOR OF "EUROPE, 1450-1789" "EUROPE SINCE 1870" ETC.
GARDEN CITY NEW YORK
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1924
COPYRIGHT, 1920, 1923, 1924, BY
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.
THREE years ago the author attempted an account of Europe from the French Revolution. The recent past, he believed then, had added much and brought considerable alteration in perspective.
The period since elapsed has added much more--not only a rush of events, but larger understanding of the epoch of our times, of which settlement is not yet complete.
Requests for a continuation covering the years since 1920 have caused the publishers to propose a revised and enlarged account. This has given the author opportunity not only to bring the narrative down to the beginning of 1924, but--following suggestions of friendly and lenient critics--to give more extended treatment, especially of some things in the first part of the volume.
In the earlier version the author wrote that his work had resulted from studies interesting to him studies elabo rated in his teaching during some years, that his obli gations to others were numerous, that not a few of his conclusions were based upon research and observation in Europe. He has since amplified his study during fifteen months' residence abroad. His obligations have greatly increased.
The publishers have contributed additional maps for further illustration of the volume.
EDWARD RAYMOND TURNER.
Ann Arbor, Michigan,
February 1, 1924.
I. THE OLD EUROPE .......... 1
II. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION ... 20
III. NAPOLEON .......... 67
IV. THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA AND THE
CONCERT OF EUROPE ................ 93
V. THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ...... 111
VI. THE UNITED KINGDOM, 1789-1832 ... 148
VII. THE UNITED KINGDOM, 1832-1867 ... 183
VIII. FRANCE BEFORE 1870 ....... 208
IX. AUSTRIA, THE GERMANIES, AND THE RISE
OF PRUSSIA ................ 234
X. ITALY .............. 271
XI. RUSSIA, 1789-1881 ........ 291
XII. THE LESSER PEOPLES ........ 317
XIII. THE MILITARY TRIUMPHS OF GERMANY,
1864-1871 ........ 337
XIV. THE GROWTH OF THE NEW GERMAN
EMPIRE ......... 353
XV. THE LEADERSHIP OF GERMANY--THE
TRIPLE ALLIANCE ....... 376
XVI. THE RECOVERY OF FRANCE--THE DUAL
ALLIANCE ......... 406
XVII. DEMOCRATIC BRITAIN ... 430
XVIII. RUSSIA BEFORE THE REVOLUTION ... 455
XIX. AUSTRIA, TURKEY, AND THE BALKANS .. 477
XX. COLONIES AND IMPERIAL EXPANSION ... 511
XXI. TRIPLE ALLIANCE AND THE ENTENTES ... 532
XXII. THE CAUSES OF THE GREAT WAR ... 551
XXIII. THE GREAT WAR ........... 574
XXIV. THE SETTLEMENT OF 1920 ........ 618
XXV. THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION ..... 643
XXVI. PROBLEMS AFTER THE WAR ... 663
XXVII. THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AFTER THE
WAR ........ 704
XXVIII. EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION SINCE THE
FRENCH REVOLUTION ......... 742
XXIX. SOCIAL AND INTELLECTUAL CHANGES ....... 778
APPENDIX .... 801
INDEX .... 811
1. EUROPE IN 1789 (In colors) Following .... 14
2. MAP TO ILLUSTRATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION OF FRANCE AND THE GABELLE 29
3.RELIEF MAP OF EUROPE. Following .... 46
4. MAP TO ILLUSTRATE THE RFVOLUTIONARY AND THE NAPOLEONIC WARS Following 78
5. EUROPE IN 1810 Following .... 94
6. EUROPE IN 1815 Following .... 110
7. THE COAL, IRON, AND OIL RESOURCES OF EUROPE Following ... 126
8. EUROPE: SHOWING RAILROADS, CANALS, AND PRINCIPAL RIVERS Following 142
9. AFRICA IN 1800 Following ..... 174
10. ASIA IN 1800 Following ..... 190
11. THE GERMANIC CONFEDERATION Following ... 238
12. RACIAL MAP OF AUSTRIA-HUNGARY ... 243
13. PRUSSIA IN 1815 ....... 261
14. ITALY IN 1815 ...... 275
15. MAP TO ILLUSTRATE THE HISTORY OF POLAND 297
16. THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE IN 1914 Following 302
17. ETHNOGRAPHIC MAP OF EUROPE Following 318
18. EUROPE IN 1970 (In colors) Following 334
19. ALSACE-LORRAINE 351
20. EUROPE in 1871 Following 366
21. FRANCE IN 1920 ...... 422
22. THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN 1914 Following .. 430
23. THE BRITISH ISLES ..... 447
24. RACIAL MAP OF RUSSIA ...... 459
25. THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR .... 468
26.THE OTTOMAN DOMINIONS: GREATEST EXTENT, SUCCESSIVE LOSSES,
EXTENT IN 1920 Following ..... 478
27. THE TREATY OF SAN STEFANO .... 491
28. THE BALKANS IN 1878 ..... 491
29. ASIA IN 1914 Following 494
30. THE BALKANS IN 1913 .... 499
31. AFRICA IN 1914 Following .... 510
32. THE GERMAN EMPIRE IN 1914 Following ... 526
33. THE ALLEGED PAN-GERMAN PLAN Following ... 542
34. THE OCEANS OF THE WORLD--MERCATOR'S PROJECTION:
SHOWING THE PRlNCIPAL SEA LINES OF COMMUNICATION IN THE GREAT WAR Following 558
35. THE WESTERN FRONT IN THE GREAT WAR ... 586
36. THE EASTERN FRONT IN THE GREAT WAR .... 587
37. GALLIPOLI ....... 593
38. THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONTIER ... 604
39. AFRICA in 1920 Following 622
40. CZECHO-SLOVAKIA .... 631
41. THE BALKANS IN 1920 ... 633
42. JUGO-SLAVIA ... 637
43. THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN 1920 Following .... 654
44. EUROPE IN 1920 (In colors) Following .... 686
45. EUROPE, in 1923 (In colors) Following ... 718
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE :
For additional reading about the earlier part of the period covered in this volume: Antonin Debidour, Histoire Diplomatique de l' Europe, 1814-1878, 2 vols. ( 1891); of longer works Alfred Stern, Geschichte Europas seit den Vertragen von 1815 bis zum Frankfurter Frieden von 1871, exhaustive and based largely on sources, is the best, volumes I-VII ( 1894- 1916), covering the years down to 1852, have appeared. For the later period: F. M. Anderson and A. S. Hershey, Hand book for the Diplomatic History of Europe, Asia, and Africa, 1870-1914 ( 1918), a coöperative work which contains excellent summaries and extensive bibliographical lists; C. M. Andrews, Contemporary Europe, Asia, and Africa, 1871-1901 ( 1902); A. Debidour, Histoire Diplo matique de I'Europe depuis le Congrès de Berlin jusqu'à Nos Hours, 2 vols. ( 1916), the best account of recent French diplomatic history; W. M. Fullerton. Problems of Power; a Study of International Politics from Sadowa to Kirk-Kilisse ( 1913); H. A. Gibbons, The New Map of Europe ( 1914), L. H. Holt and A. W. Chilton, The History of Europe from 1862 to 1914 ( 1917). J. H. Rose, The Development of the Euro pean Nations, 1870-1914, 2 vols. in one ( 5th ed. 1916). Charles Seymour . The Diplomatic Background of the War, 1870-1914 ( 1916).
More comprehensive are the great coöperative histories: The Cam bridge Modern History, ed. by A. W. Ward, G. W. Prothero, S. Leathes, 14 vols. ( 1902-12), of which the volumes are bulky and the contents seldom inspiring, but they are always instructive, and in them the student will find a vast amount of additional information about most of the important topics treated in this volume--this work and others similar will be mentioned only here, and not at the end of each chapter, but they should always be borne in mind when further information is needed; Histoire Générale du IV' Siècle à Jours, ed. by Ernest Lavisse and Alfred Rambaud, 12 vols. ( 1894- 1901), less up to date but more attractive. For information about historical writing, Eduard Fueter , Geschichte der Neueren Historiographie ( 1911); G. P. Gooch, History and Historians; in the Nineteenth Century ( 1913).
For the treaties: Sir Edward Hertslet, The Map of Europe by Treaty, 1814-1891, 4 vols. ( 1875-91). Barton, Descamps and L. Renault, Recueil International des Traités du XIX' Siècle, ( 1914-). Not withstanding that a great part of the most important diplomatic papers remain unpublished and inaccessible in the various archives of Europe yet a large number have been published, and may be used in such store houses of information as Arhives Diplomatiques, 129 vols. ( 1863- 1914), covering the period 1862 to 1913; and British and Foreign State Papers, 113 vols. ( 1841- 1923), covering the years 1812 to 1920.
For information about governments: W. F. Dodd, Modern Constitu tions, 2 vols. ( 1909); F. A. Ogg, The Governments of Europe ( 1913); Percy Ashley, Local and Central Government: A Comparative Study of England, France, Prussia, and the United States ( 1906), Handbuch des Öffentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart in Monographien (ed. by Heinrich Marquardsen and others, 1883-), W. B. Munro, The Government of European Cities ( 1909).
For additional biographical information: the Dictionary of National Biography, 72 vols. ( 1885- 1913); Nouvelle Biographie Générale, 46 vols. ( 1855-66), Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, 56 vols. ( 1875-99). For military affairs: General A. von Horsetzky, A Short History of the Chief Campaigns, in Europe since 1792 (tr. by Lieut. K. B. Ferguson, 1909).
International law: L. F. W. Oppenheim, International Law, 2 vols. ( 1905-6) H. J. F. X. Bonfils, Manuel du Droit International Public (Droit des Gens), 7th ed. ( 1914). For the miscellaneous things, about which ready information is often not easily obtained, the best source is the Encyclopdia Britannica, 11th ed., 29 vols. ( 1910-11).
If possible, students should sometimes consult the principal historical reviews, where they will not only find much rare and interesting infor mation but be brought into contact with the best of modern scholarship and research: The American Historical Review; The English Historical Review; Historische Zeitschrift; La Revue Historique; La Revue des Ques tions Historiques; and, for the more elementary student, The Historical Outlook.
For current information the following annual publications: The Annual Register ( 1758-); L'Année Politique ( 1874- 1905), continued as La Vie Politique dans les Deux Mondes ( 1906-); Europäischer Ge schichtskalender ( 1861-); The Statesman's Year Book ( 1864-); The New International Year Book ( 1907-).
The student with a taste for recent history will find a fascinating field for exploration in the volumes of the more important periodicals, such as, The (London) Spectator, The National Review, The Quarterly Review, Revue des Deux Mondes, The Yale Review, and many others. He will also find much instruction and amusement in the cartoons of such publications as Die Jugend and Punch. No text book to ever contained too many maps, and the student will find it well to use an atlas as much as he can: E. W. Dow, Atlas of European History ( 1907); W. R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas ( 1911); Cambridge Modern History, vol. XIV; and H. B. George, The Relations of Geography and History ( 1910).
THE OLD EUROPE
The Kingdom of England is an Hereditary Paternal Monarchy . . . It is a Monarchy that hath been continued almost 1000 Years. . . .
-JOHN CHAMBERLAYNE, Magn Britanni Notitia ( 1716), p. 40.
Un grand empire suppose une autorité despotique dans celui qui gouverne . . . que la loi soit dans une seule tête . . .
-MONTESQUIEU, De l' Esprit des Lois ( 1748), livre viii. chap. xix.
Of this slave trade, which flourished down to 1783, when the Crimea was finally conquered and annexed by Russia, we have a graphic acount. . . .
Slaves may be always had for sale . . . The stronger of these captives, branded on the forehead and the cheeks and manacled or fettered tortured by severe labor all day, and are shut up in dark cells at night. They are kept alive by small quantities of food. . . .
-SIR D. M. WALLACE, Russia ( 1912) pp. 234, quoting Michael the Lithuanian, De Moribus Tartarorum Fragmina ( 1615).
THE era before the French Revolution was afterward thought of as Ancien Régime or Old Time. In Europe and elsewhere during that period much was very dif ferent from what afterward developed. So large is the difference, indeed, that often now students find it difficult to realize vividly the systems the life that prevailed then. It is true, the things most important now were the most important then also, is they had been through un numbered generations back to the beginning of the time that we know. Then as now children grew up under the protection and authority of their parents; young men and young women loved each other and were married and reared their children; and the principal occupation of most Ancien Régime people was making their living, getting food and clothing and shelter. But a great many things, important and necessary now, and taken as a matter of course, had not been then brought to pass. There were no railroads, no steamboats, no telephones or telegraphs, no electric cars or lights, no moving pictures, and, except in England where the Industrial Revolution had recently begun, no great mechanical appliances and no factories filled with machinery working for men. Newspapers were few and small and had small circulation. A great many books and pamphlets were published, but most men and women were not able either to read or to write. There were no systems of education for all the people, in what we call public schools nowadays. Compared with the times that we now know, life in those days was for most people simple and homely, bare, lowly, and coarse. In many respects conditions in the latter part of the eighteenth century were more like what they had been a hundred, or even a thousand, years before, than they were like those of the present. Absence of things common now
Europe about the end of the eighteenth century, like all parts of the civilized world down to that time, was predominantly agricultural. The majority of the inhabitants were grouped in small villages set in the midst of plowland, meadow, grazing land, and wood. As is still so in less favored countries, the houses were lowly and small, with poor furniture and simple utensils. There were not many windows to give light by day, and after dark the inmates went to bed, for there was no gas, no electric bull), oil was expensive, and often candles cost more than people could spend. The cots or the hovels of unnumbered peasants were dirty, and damp, and dark. The joyous seasons were spring and summer and early autumn, in a way not known to some of us now, for the warmth of the sun gave almost all the heating which the mass of the people could get. In winter there were Life in the country only a few in Europe who could have coal, and only a small number of the well-to-do who had fire-wood in ample supply. There was more joy in out-of-doors then than now. But work in the fields or on the wastes, in the pasture or in the woods, was hard and the hours were long. Farming was rude and implements poor; crops were generally not bountiful, or, if they were, a great part of them went to pay rent to the owner or the lord, and tithe to the church. The center of life for the neighborhood was the parish church in a manner scarcely to be conceived of now, for then the church was the holy place of the community, in which people were baptized, married, and taught by the priest, and which received them at last in its consecrated ground. It was also the social center of the neighborhood doing for people in some fashion what is now got from moving pictures or in theaters and schools. And often near by, hated or revered, was the fine dwelling of some great man, the manor-house of a lord, or even the castle of some proud noble. In them went on a life very different, but most of the people never saw it; and the tales of it were almost as remote to them as accounts of fairies or some faraway land. The village church
Lowly as was the condition of these people, in many parts of Europe it was better than it had been in earlier days. In antiquity a great number of the people were slaves, entirely unfree, often bought and sold exactly like chattels or things. It was a great advance upon this when in the later days of the Roman Empire, partly because of economic changes and partly through the influence of Christianity, slavery began to disappear and the great mass of the people after a while were in the higher condition of serfdom. As serfs men and women were free in their personal relations, not to be bought and sold like chattel property; but none the less they were partly unfree, since they were bound to remain in the place of their birth, and were under obligation to give the lord of their Serfdom land part of what they raised and to work for him many of the days of the year. Then, like slavery before it, serfdom began to pass slowly away, due chiefly to the working of economic causes which made it more profitable for the lord to give wages than the use of his land, and collect rent rather thin take a share or labor from his people. The disappearance of serfdom was a slow process. In England it had disappeared by the beginning of the seventeenth century; in Scotland there were traces of it until near the end of the eighteenth. By that time in some parts of the continent it was completely gone, but there were still thousands of serfs in France, while to the east in the German lands there were many more, and in Poland and Russia the great bulk of the population remained partly unfree. It was the results of the French Revolution, and the power of Napoleon, soon to come, which would abolish serfdom in central Europe, while in Russia it would linger on until 1861, about the very time when negro slavery was brought to an end in the southern part of the United States. So recent is the civil freedom of a great part of the population of the world. Decline of serfdom
We have no reliable statistics before the nineteenth century, but it is probable that nine tenths of the people lived their lives in the small agricultural communities, though in England and parts of western Europe the proportion was less. Simple, lowly, ignorant folk they were, unlettered, narrow, oftentimes incredibly superstitious and dependent upon their parson or priest, filled with prejudice against outsiders, for traveling was difficult and most people seldom went far from their homes. These people had no part in the governing of their countries, except sometimes in the management of their humblest local affairs. History tells little about them. Governments heeded them scantily, except to take from them taxes and labor. Seldom did they rebel or stir against their masters. The peasants of Gaul gave trouble in the later centuries of The rural population
Slowness of change
the Roman Empire; the Jacquerie rose against their lords in France during the Hundred Years War; there was a memorable Peasant Revolt in England in 1381: and a more memorable rising of German peasants in 1525. These movements and a few others were always crushed mercilessly by the upper classes, and came to nothing. The day of the great mass of the people, of the rights of man, had not come yet. In countless villages men and women lived little lives, with rude plenty at best, generally in meager existence, often in grinding poverty and toil. They lived and died and passed from recollection; and that is all, except that throughout this time they were most of the people of Europe, and made the nations ruled by great kings and led by commanders.
History has almost nothing to say about women -beyond the fact that they were the fundamental part of society. Through long generations they had been the mothers of the human race, and made the homes of the men and the children. They did at large part of all the work and much of the most useful work. Almost always their condition was lower and worse than the men's. There had been empresses and queens, sometimes, and very few rulers in Europe had been greater than Elizabeth of England or Catherine of Russia. But almost always women were strictly subordinate to men--to their fathers before they were married, afterward to their husbands. For them there was practically no calling but marriage, and the law generally considered them to be part of their husbands, not persons or individuals, after marriage. They owed obedience to their husbands, who were responsible for them under the law. Most women, perhaps, were treated well, as things then were, but many were subjected, without hope of relief, to petty tyrants in their homes. It was a man's world much more than it is now. Position of women
Subordination of women
Above the masses of the people was a much smaller class which had arisen in the towns, the boroughs or burgs, The bourgeoisie called in France the bourgeoisie, which would now be better known as the middle class. It had been rising and increasing in numbers and power for some hundreds of years, as towns and cities developed and as commerce and industry increased. It was made up of the lawyers, the masters of the small industries which then existed, the merchants, and the traders. To a considerable extent it contained within its numbers the ablest and most progressive men, and some of the wealthiest and most substantial. They had much influence in the Germanies and in France, as once they had had in the Italian states; they had considerable part in the government of Great Britain, and were of large consequence in the Netherlands; but generally their influence was indirect and their power small, for they were looked down upon by the aristocracy, and debarred from the privileges and opportunities which were open to nobles and great men of the church. After all, they represented the power of the cities and of industrial life, and most of Europe was still rural. Nevertheless the future was with these bourgeois. It was they who would guide the French Revolution and make the enduring changes of the Revolutionary period. They were to rise greater and greater as the Industrial Revolution slowly spread over Europe in the nineteenth century. Then political power, management of government, and greatest place in the state were all to be taken by this middle class, which in many respects would be the upper class, as nobles and princes were thrust into the background and deprived of old privilege and power. It would be the bourgeois whom socialists and others would regard as their worst opponents; and in the twentieth century, the middle class would be assailed by the Bolsheviki as arch-enemies to be overthrown in raising up the proletariat, or mass of the people. Future importance
Although most of the people of Europe lived in villages in the country, there were towns and some cities great Cities and important. London had more than a million inhabitants, and Paris more than half a million. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities were mighty hives of industry and commerce. The Spanish cities were now slumbering in decay, and the places once renowned in the Spanish or Austrian Netherlands were enveloped in the hush and the quiet which come when progress and activity cease. So it was with the Italian cities, great in the Middle Ages, and the very cradles of the Renaissance: Venice was dying in the midst of that charm which travellers still love to see; and Genoa, Milan, and Rome were all greater in the memory of what they had been than for what they continued to be. The seaports of the German states, Hamburg, Lübeck, Bremen, and the others, thriving in the days of the glory of the Hanseatic League, were sunk now in the silence and decay which would last until the revival and unification of the Germanies awoke them once more. Vienna was the old, proud capital of the German countries. Far to the southeast on the Bosporus Constantinople continued to be magnificent under the Turks. And in the distant eastern parts, little known to most of Europe, were holy Moscow and the new capital, St. Petersburg, which had only been founded in 1703.
In the cities the principal occupations were manufacturing and especially trade, for the greatest of all of them had grown mostly because of their commerce. Since there were no railroads yet, and not many canals, and since roads were poor, the most important communications were by water, and the greatest cities were by the sea, like Amsterdam and London and Marseilles, or on some river, like Paris, Nizhni Novgorod, and Vienna. The manufacturing was then, for the most part, as the name implies, done by hand; and while; by this time in the great towns of western Europe much of it was carried on in factories, a great deal more was still done according to the domestic system, in the homes of the workers themselves. Some of these cities Urban life were important out of all proportion to their population, for they were the centers of financial power, of intellectual activity and progress, and often the seat of the government of the nation. By the end of the eighteenth century Paris was the very heart and center of France, and in England the course of London could usually be decisive. The English Civil Wars of the seventeenth century were decided against the king largely because parliament was supported by London; in 1789 the French Revolution was made possible and begun by the citizens of Paris. Importance of some cities
The greatness of the middle class and the effects of the Industrial Revolution were for the future, and still most of the power and wealth in Europe was in the hands of an aristocracy which made the smallest and highest class. Long before, when the central authority of the Roman Empire broke up and Europe was scourged by barbarian invaders--Germans, Northmen, Hungarians--everywhere fortresses were built by strong and able men, who governed their districts, protected the inhabitants, lorded it over them, and exacted obedience and service from them. In the early Middle Ages the best of these feudal lords had saved such civilization as remained. But in course of time they were an encumbrance rather than a benefit wherever they were, and often the best hope of further progress lay in their being overthrown. To a considerable extent they had already been shorn of their political power in the progressive places, though in Poland their importance and ancient power remained nearly unabated. Everywhere they continued to have the social and economic advantages possessed in earlier times. In England, in France, in the German countries, in Russia, great lords and great ecclesiastics constituted a class apart. For them oftentimes were reserved the important offices of state; frequently they directed the councils of the nation; everywhere, except in Switzerland and Holland, they held a great part of all of the land and the wealth; they were The nobility
generally exempt from heavy taxation; their blood was deemed better than that of the commoner; and usually no person outside the noble class could aspire to marry within it. A very great distance divided the members of this noble aristocracy from all the other classes beneath them; and even in England, where the separation was not so much, the distance was still very great. In Europe of this old régime the nobles, whether great lords or petty knights of the Empire, were the splendid top of it society which rested upon the toil and the support of the immense multitude of the people.
But while they kept their wealth and their privileges, in many lands now their independent political power was gone. Once they had ruled without interference from a higher authority, and still they continued to do so in Poland; but a long time before, in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, their power had been broken in Spain, in France, in England, and elsewhere, and strong powerful, centralized governments erected. By the time of Philip II ( 1556-1598) the king of Spain had absolute power, and by the time of Louis XIV ( 1643-1715) the king of France could have made the declaration: "I am the State." And the tendency toward absolute power and belief in the divine right of rulers had spread all over Europe. It was so in Austria, in Russia, in the larger German states and also in the smaller. There were only a few exceptions. Venice, in name a republic, was ruled by an oligarchy of aristocrats. In Switzerland and in the Dutch Netherlands there were confederations of small states ruled by the citizens of their upper and middle classes. In Germany there were still a few free cities. But the notable exception was England. In England there was indeed an effective central government, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there had been strong tendency to make the power of the king absolute. But in England there survived what had once existed in Kings
Spain and France and other places but had long since withered away, a parliament, or assembly of representatives of the upper classes. On the continent usually danger from foreign enemies had been so great that the representatives of the upper classes, the estates, had given power of taxation and military control to the king; but Englishmen, secure from invasion in their island, had not had to do this. In the seventeenth century this parliament had contested with the king for the principal power in the state; after 1688 it got to be definitely superior to the king; and it made of England, what no other great state then was: a limited, constitutional monarchy. But almost everywhere in Europe toward the end of the eighteenth century, political power was completely in the hands of great rulers or small princes, while around them were grouped the upper classes in possession of the high offices, the wealth and privileges of the land. In England the principal difference was that the political power of the king was shared with the upper classes.
This Europe of the end of the eighteenth century was the seat of the largest amount of the power and importance of the world and of much of the world's civilization. There were in Europe more civilized men and women organized under efficient governments, with powerful armies and ships of war, and directed by restless, enterprising rulers, than anywhere else in the world. They had for some time been expanding into other continents, and in great part Europeans had by this time taken North and South America. Already the Russians in Siberia and the English in India had got control of large portions of Asia. Australia and New Zealand had just been visited by the English. Africa, except for trading stations along the coast, was not yet taken, as it was to be completely in the next hundred years. There was a fine old culture among the warlike people of Japan, and a better and older civilization among the swarming millions of China; but Primacy of the European states
China and Japan were far off on the edge of the world. A strange and ancient culture endured also among the teeming myriads of India; but there was neither political greatness nor military power in India's people, and already they had come under the direction of the English Fast India Company. There was still a Persia, but all of her grandeur was gone. Greatness, progress, and power were mostly in Europe, especially in the western parts, or else in some portions of America, where men from Europe had gone.
First of European states was Great Britain. The inhabitants had been fortunate in the greater part of the British Isles. Early in the Middle Ages, while other peoples were still divided among numerous feudal lords, the English had been brought together as one nation in a strongly organized, well administered state. Usually safe in their island from foreign foes, they were spared most of the horrors of invasion and devastation so frequent then. Wales was early united with England, and Scotland finally in 1707, so that all the people of the greatest of the British Isles were brought together. With their union came more and more prosperity and strength. The people of Britain had long been renowned for their boldness and skill on the sea. After the discovery of America, and as the northern part of Europe became what the southern part had previously been, the wealthier and greater portion, it was seen that Britain had for commerce and trade the most advantageous position in Europe. Many of the best routes of trade lay so near as to be within her control. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries she became the greatest commercial nation in the world, obtaining supremacy on the sea, with dominating positions upon the principal sea lanes of the world, and she was presently the greatest of the colonial powers, with the exception of decadent Spain. From the Dutch, from the Spaniards, and especially from the French, she took dominions in all parts of the earth. Great Britain adding them to the colonies which her people had established in eastern North America. Her shipping, her commerce, her colonies all brought riches, and the British became the wealthiest people in Europe. Then from the middle of the eighteenth century onward certain great mechanical inventions--like the steam engine, the power loom, better means of transportation within the island, and the utilization of great deposits of coal and iron--gradually brought about the Industrial Revolution, which by the end of the century had given to England and Scotland an industrial leadership almost as marked as the previous commercial greatness. The government of Britain was in the hands of the upper classes and administered mostly in their interests; but as things then were that government was enlightened and good; there was protection of the law for all men; and however lowly their condition the common people in England were apparently better off than any other people in Europe. This was not the case with Ireland, which had been conquered, confiscated, and oppressed. Prosperity
On the continent the great state was France. The condition of most of her people was less good than that of the British, but better than elsewhere. The government of France was a strongly centralized monarchy, with all power in the hands of the king, who was assisted by councillors and ministers chosen by himself. Because in France there were twice as many highly civilized people under one strong government as in any other state at that time, the French monarchy, when managed by capable administrators, towered above all its neighbors, just is after 1900 the German Empire was so threatening and great. But during the eighteenth century the affairs of France had not been well handled; she had fought costly wars and gained little from them, and in the prolonged duel with England had lost most of her colonial empire. She had just assisted the American rebels and this bad ruined her finances. France was still the leading nation France on the continent of Europe, but she no longer had the vast preponderance which had once overshadowed all others. England was wealthier, and more successful. Yet France was still the leader of European civilization. Everywhere her language was known and used by educated people; the letters of Horace Walpole contain numerous French phrases, and most of the works of Frederick the Great were written in that tongue. The French style of writing simple, clear, and elegant prose, was everywhere admired, and in some other languages, like the English, successfully followed. The grandeur of the French court was imitated all over central and eastern Europe. The most radical and progressive ideas of the age were being disseminated by French philosophical writers. The art, the styles, the taste of Paris, then as now set the standard for Europe. French Civilization
Spain, once so powerful, had withdrawn into the stillness of drowsy decay. She had been the greatest power in Europe during the sixteenth century, but unwise legislation had long before stifled her enterprise, religious narrowness had crushed intellectual activity, and her people, too proud to work, too ignorant and incompetent to succeed, had gone steadily down into lowly position. A hundred years before there had been a memorable contest to get possession of the Spanish Empire, and the result of that War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14) had been that a French prince succeeded to the crown of Spain, but that the Spanish possessions in Italy and the Netherlands passed to Austria. Spain still retained almost all of her wealthy colonial empire, but the inhabitants of these places, especially in Spanish America, were held in tutelage and subordination, and longed to imitate England's American colonies in breaking away and becoming independent. Spain
What is Belgium now was the Austrian Netherlands then, denied opportunity and backward, coveted by The Netherlands France, and often the battle-ground for foreign armies. The other--the northern or Dutch Netherlands were independent and powerful and wealthy. Their commerce was still lucrative and vast, and their colonies in the East Indies were rich; but they no longer did the carrying trade of Europe, their naval power had diminished before England's, and on land they had been exhausted in defending themselves against the French. They were no longer one of the great European powers.
Italy was a land of splendid monuments and glorious memories; but glory, prosperity, and power had mostly departed. There was much wealth, but it was in the hands of churchmen or great nobles. The masses were very miserable and poor, for commerce and industry had decayed. It was long since Italians had controlled their political affairs. Often they had been the prey of invaers; for a long time some had been ruled by foreign masters. Once Spain had controlled them; but now some states in the north were ruled under Austria; those in the southern part by Bourbon princes, of the house which ruled France and Spain; while across the central part of the peninsula extended the dominions of the pope. The Italian lands
Outside the circle of grandeur and power were the Scandinavian countries. A great while before they had been the terror of the rest of Europe, and from them pirates, settlers, and conquerors had gone forth to Russia, to Italy, to France, to England, and even to America. But Denmark, the most richly endowed, was small; the others had poor resources and no numerous population; and long since their strength had declined before the growing greatness of more fortunate neighbors to the south. Sweden still had the relics of her old possessions, eastern Pomerania and the country of Finland; but she only looked on now at large affairs, as did Denmark, to whom Norway was subject. The Scandinavian countries
Central Europe was, as it long had been, in the hands of Germanic powers. All through the Middle Ages Ger- The Germanies
1. EUROPE IN 1789
States of the Church, Kingdom of France, HRE (Ecclesiastical Territories, Free Cities and minor principalities), United Netherlands, Austrian Netherlands, Kingdom of Bohemia, Margt. of Moravia, Prussia, Kingdom of Poland, Kingdom of Hungary, Archy. of Austria, Switzerland, Duchy of Tyrol, Republic of Venice, Rep. of Genoa, Tuscany, Duchy of Milan, Parma, Kingdom of Sardinia, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Iceland, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Denmark, Ottoman Empire. mans had contested with Slavic peoples coming westward, and in the long struggle German sovereigns had pushed their territories to the eastward, until in the north, in Prussia, perhaps the largest element of the population was Slavic, while in the south Austria had built up a great group of possessions mostly peopled by subject Slavs. The German states, the Germanies, were grouped together in the Holy Roman Empire, an agglomeration of more than three hundred separate, independent states, of which two, Austria and Prussia, were great European powers now; a few others, like Bavaria, were prominent; while altogether less than one hundred were large enough to have any importance, the rest being small free cities or territories of imperial knights. They were loosely held together by old custom, and by the common possession of German language and culture. According to the law of this custom they were all part of a Reich ruled by a Kaiser whose office was virtually hereditary in the house of Austria. He was the object of much veneration and respect, but his authority was only nominal, except in his own numerous possessions. The rulers of the other states heeded the central government only as they wished, or not at all. In the War of the Spanish Succession Bavaria had been an ally of France, and the Seven Years' War (1756-63) was partly a terrible struggle between Austria and Prussia. As the eighteenth century neared its close Austria still maintained such headship as there was, but in the north Prussia was rising as an ever mightier rival. The Empire
Generally speaking the people of these German states were in lowly and humble condition. In the eastern and southern parts, especially, most of them were serfs; nowhere did they have any influence in the affairs of their governments, but were everywhere ruled by sovereigns whether great or petty who were the source of all government and law. Many of these lands had not yet recovered from the effects of the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), Conditions in the German lands which had once destroyed most of their wealth and the larger part of the population. Industry had declined, commerce languished, the people were exceedingly poor, and far less well off than the inhabitants of England and of France. Some of the German states, however, were centers of magnificent literary and intellectual activity. It was at Weimar about the close of the eighteenth century that Goethe and Schiller did the greatest writing which has ever been accomplished in German; and it was in the East Prussian city of Königsberg that Immanuel Kant wrote the philosophical works which exhibit him as the foremost thinker since Aristotle's time. German culture
To the east and the south of the Germanic lands were the Slavic peoples. Some had long before been incorporated into the possessions of German rulers, like the peoples of Bohemia and Moravia, which were governed by the Austrian sovereign. In the Balkan peninsula, the South Slavs had long since been submerged beneath the power of the Turks. To the east of the Austrian and the Prussian possessions was Poland, greatest of the Slavic powers in the Middle Ages, but now near to her end. In Poland a strong central government had never been erected; the authority of the king was but nominal, and power continued, as in medieval times, in the hands of numerous feudal lords, tenacious of old prerogative and extremely jealous of their rights. In the eighteenth century Poland was surrounded by great neighbors and rivals, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, who coveted her lands. Even in the midst of this threatening danger the central government could not become stronger nor did the internal weakness and jealous end. Poland was being destroyed. Already in 1772 the so-called First Partition had taken place, her outlying possessions being seized by her rivals. A little later they took all her remaining dominions. The Slavs
Half of Europe, in many respects the most backward part, was comprised in the great Empire of Russia. During Russia the Middle Ages the different Slavic peoples who lived upon the great plain of eastern Europe had suffered terrible subjection and degradation from Tartar marauders and Mongol invaders. Gradually, later on, a strong inland state was built up by Russian rulers about Moscow. For a long time the connections of the people were with Asia rather than with the rest of Europe, but in course of time the waters of the Baltic Sea were reached, and after the time of Peter the Great ( 1682-1795) Russia was an important European power. Afterward a succession of able rulers carried forward her boundaries to the south and the west, so that in the closing years of the eighteenth century she reached the north shore of the Black Sea, and, in another direction, the confines of Austria and Prussia.
Her people, different in race from their neighbors to the west, differed also in religion, the Greek Catholic faith. The Tsar of the Russias was absolute in power; under him were great officials and numerous unimportant nobles; there were a few merchants and ignorant in the widely scattered cities; but the immense number of the inhabitants of this great domain were debased and ignorant peasants, living in their lonely little villages on the plain or in the vast forests: dirty, stolid, ignorant, and dreamy, but brave as soldiers in defence of their right, and capable, if ever opportunity came, of rising to better things. The great movements of the French Revolution would not go far enough across Europe to reach them, and the Industrial Revolution was not to get to Russia until late in the nineteenth century; so that for a hundred years more their condition was to change almost not at all. The Russian people
Finally, to the south there was the inert bulk of the Ottoman Empire, which once had threatened all peoples near by. From the capital at Constantinople, with its unrivalled position, the Turks ruled broad domains in Asia Minor and beyond, and, in Europe, Greece, all of the The Ottoman Empire Balkan peninsula, and the country up to the Danube. The strength of their military organization had declined, and their ancient prowess had diminished. Like Spain al the other end of Europe their Empire was sunk in lethargy and decadence. But they still had the power to hold their subject Christian population, and perhaps no other people in Europe lived in quite so lowly it condition as the Southern Slaves of the Balkans.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very Heaven! O times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and stattute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
-WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, The Prelude, XI ( 1804).
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!
Les aristocrat' à la lanterne;
Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!
Les aristocrat' on les pendra!
-Stanza from "ÇA IRA": a song, to the air of "Carillon National," written and sung during the French Revolution.
Les représentants du peuple français constitués en assemblée nationale . . . déclarent . . . ,
Les hommes naissent et demeurent libres et égaux en droits . . .
Le but de toute association politique est la conservation des droits naturels . . . . la liberté, la propriété, la sûreté et la résistance àl'oppression . . .
Declaration of the Rights of Man, September 14, 1791, Archives Parlementaires, 1st. series, xxxii. 525.
IN 1789 great changes began that seemed to mark a new epoch in the history of Europe. The movement commenced in Franc; it is known as the French Revolution. It is one of the four principal things in the history of European civilization since the Middle Ages. The Renaissance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries brought increased perception of beauty and the excellence of man; it broadened and quickened the minds of many people, and opened the way for exploration of vast realms of thought. In the Great epochs in modern history sixteenth century the Reformation, a more violent and revolutionary change, attacked a religion that had stood for hundreds of years, led to the establishment of other faiths, and indirectly opened the way for larger intellectual freedom. About the end of the eighteenth century the French Revolution suddenly made the beginning of profound changes in social and political affairs, bringing much cruelty, suffering, loss, and confusion, but sweeping away old institutions, and preparing for self-government and democracy in Europe. Ultimately it affected most of the civilized people of the world. Its larger consequences cannot yet be determined and measured. About the same time, but much less noticed at the start, alteration more profound began in England--the Industrial Revolution. The consequences of that revolution also continue potent and ever-extending. The French Revolution
No episode in modern history has been more thoroughly studied in all aspects than the French Revolution. Yet the very vastness of knowledge concerning it, the infinity and multiplicity of details, make judgment about various important questions very difficult yet. There can still be wide divergence of opinion as to whether the revolution was foreseen and inevitable or little foretold and largely accidental. From 1789 down to the foretold and largely been opposing schools of thought, one maintaining that it was of immeasurable benefit and nearly all good, the other that it did much harm and brought very much evil. Only the shallow and little-informed will think the problem simple and of certain solution. A complex problem
In after times, when the French Revolution had attracted men's attention in largest measure, students looking back over records of the past could collect much testimony that things were evil, that remedy had to be found, that innovation was coming, that an old era was approaching its end. Yet in this present generation, especially since 1914, an active group of the radical and the Inevitable or largely fortuitous discontented constantly proclaim that capitalism and existing methods of government and organization have failed, that present civilization is rotten and ready to fall, that a great revolution is approaching to overthrow that which is, then regenerate the world. It may be so, but probably most people ascribe present ills largely to the ruin wrought by the Great War, expecting much recovery with time, with patience, with good work. Generally men and women, perhaps, expect no revolution, and the most liberal are made more conservative now by them who constantly cry revolution. So, in the eighteenth century, while many omens and prophecies can be assembled by patient research, the mass of it all is small compared with other contemporary information about eighteenthcentury life. Some were discontented and proposed various reforms; but so it had been in the seventeenth century, and in many centuries before. Most people, as things go in this world, were not greatly discontented, and few seem to have had forebodings of any terrible storm. In 1753 Lord Chesterfield visiting France thought he perceived all the symptoms which past history showed to precede "great changes and revolutions in government." But in 1756 he was very sure that the ruin of Great Britain was at hand. Testimony of the time preceding
In a certain sense now it is proper to assert that the French Revolution in all its aspects was inevitable: it did take place, and evidently a long series of causes prepared the way for its coming. Especially must this be maintained by all those whose mental attitude inclines them to believe in predestination or fate. To others it will seem more probable that judged in terms of human intelligence there is much of the accidental in the results brought forth from the infinitude of factors and forces that make up the life of mankind--much that might have been different except for some small thing. They will judge that general conditions of life in western Europe during the eighteenth Causation and sequence in history century were surely conducing to changes, that alteration for the better was bound to be made. The sudden convulsions and the violent overthrow came very largely from the incompetence of the French government, and especially from the weakness of the monarch who reigned then. Further, because of this very excess and violence the French Revolution was largely a failure. Could the changes have been conducted more slowly, with more moderation and design, much suffering and misery might have been spared, larger reforms secured, the inevitable reaction would have been less, and changes would not in some places--as in England--have been so long delayed. To this it will always be answered that without violence and sudden overthrow such mighty changes could never have been accomplished so quickly. Violent revolution
The government of France toward the end of the eighteenth century was essentially the government that had been fashioned by Richelieu and Louis XIV in the century preceding. Nobles and clergy retained certain rights. The various parlements (law courts)--particularly the parlement of Paris, watched jealously over old customary rights. In some of the provinces--especially Artois, Brittany, Burgundy, Languedoc, and Flanders-the medieval estates continued to assemble, with some little power. Essentially, however, the government of France was vested in the king. He was at the head of all executive, administrative, and legislative work. He appointed the judges and officials. He levied the taxes and directed expenditure of the public money. He was commander-in-chief of the army and commander-in-chief of the navy. Foreign affairs were completely under him, as well as all things relating to war and to peace. Generally speaking, what pleased the king was law. French government of the Old Régime: the king
The vast work of governing so ample a kingdom as France could not be carried on by one man, however able. Most of governance was actually in the hands of the Ministers and councils councillors and ministers of the king--servants of the king, appointed by him, and always subject to his pleasure. The principal ministers were generally, though not always, nobles. They were the chancellor, the various secretaries of state, and the controller general of the finances. These ministers and others formed the conseil privé or conseil des parties, a body of about forty members, besides some eighty lawyers (maîtres des requêtes), corresponding roughly to the privy council of Great Britain. The king was usually not present at its meetings. Its work was largely judicial. The principal executive and administrative work was done in smaller councils--originally offshoots or committees of the privy council--made up of the principal ministers only--most of the principal ministers were members of several of these small higher councils --meeting in the presence of the king, in the royal apartments. The conseil d'état (council of state), known as the conseil d'en haut (upper council), was much like the English cabinet of a hundred years before. Under the king it. considered and decided the important matters of state-largely foreign. The conseil des depêches (council of despatches) managed internal affairs, meeting also in the presence of the king. The conseil des finances directed all matters of revenue and taxation. In the hands of the councillors and ministers, under the king, was the government of France. This machinery was not sufficient. However the great ministers might labor the task was too great. A larger bureaucracy and government organization were needed. Much business was always in arrears. Conseil d'état
The central government controlled local as well as general matters. The local divisions revealed the past history of the construction of the French state, and they still contained many of the relics of the past. The kingdom was divided into gouvernements (governments), roughly corresponding to the historic fiefs or provinces by the absorption of which the French monarchy had grown. Local government
Each one was under a governor, originally military representative of the king, but by the end of the eighteenth century holding only a sinecure with duties merely formal. Still earlier, smaller divisions had been made--bailliages (bailiwicks), each under a bailli, and sénéchaussées, each under a sénéchal. These smaller divisions, like the English parishes, remained, but the functions of their officers had become obsolete entirely. Under Richelieu the effective delegate of royal authority in the provinces was the intendant (steward), and so it remained to the end of the Old Régime. The jurisdiction of each intendant was known as a généralité (area of taxation), in each of which was a group of officials dealing with the finances, known as généraux des finances. Actually in the généralité the intendant was all-powerful. Louis XIV had once instructed the intendants that they were to see that the royal edicts were carried out and obeyed, supervise the police and the administration of civil and criminal justice, and take care of all matters that concerned the prosperity and security of the subject. In the eighteenth century a certain one observed: "This kingdom of France is governed by thirty intendants." In practice, the intendant was usually to be found in Paris, managing his more important affairs at the center of power. In administration he was, in most cases, assisted by several subdélégués (sub-delegates) each of whom was immediately in charge of a district known as an élection, from the fact that over its fiscal affairs were certain officials known as élus (chosen or appointed). Provinces in which the fiscal matters were managed by élus were known as pays d'élection. Those which had preserved their local estates (états) were the pays d'états--in them there were no élus. The local estates had no longer much real power, and nearly all local government, even most of the petty affairs of the smallest divisions, were in the hands of the intendants and their councils, and were largely supervised from Paris. The intendants
Justice was administered in a great number of court. A system of ecclesiastical courts here, as in many other places, dealt out ecclesiastical law. There was still a vast number of feudal courts, as there had been in medieval France and in England. The lords of these courts had, some of them, haute justice (high justice)-cognizance of civil and some criminal causes; moyenne justice (middle justice)--a jurisdiction of varying extent; and basse justice (low justice)--which dealt only with petty cases. For the most part important business had long before been drawn to the royal courts, but the feudal courts still remained. Of the royal courts the highest were the parlements, of which there were now thirteen. Of them the parlement of Paris, with jurisdiction over half the population of France, was the most important. The others were in the principal cities and districts of the kingdom. They were not merely the highest judicial bodies in France, but they registered royal edicts and pretended to some legislative and administrative power. Next below them were the présidiaux--with inferior civil and criminal jurisdiction, and beneath them the courts of the various bailliages and sénéchaussées. In different parts of France were administered some three hundred and sixty varieties of law--customary, written, and Roman. Hence, there was much confusion, and much resultant delay and expense. Codification and simplification of the law in France had long been greatly needed. Courts and administration of justice
The government was supported by revenue derived from various sources. Once, as elsewhere, the income from the king's domaine or landed estates had been the principal means of support. This had long ceased to be so, and the main reliance was now put upon what were in origin extraordinary grants. Most important was the taille or land tax. From it the nobility and the clergy were exempt. Generally speaking, it was paid by the non-noble landholders, the third estate, but it had for a great while Revenue and taxation been possible as well as desirable to escape it. Magistrates, court officials, university men, towns, corporations had for the most part arranged advantageously for their payments, or had paid a lump sum to escape future payment altogether. The total amount therefore declined relatively at the same time that the burden became heavier on those who remained to pay it. The total was fixed each year by the royal council. The quota of each parish was presently determined, and the various property-holders locally assessed. It was often very difficult to collect the total demanded. About the end of the seventeenth century had been established the capitation or poll-tax, to be paid by the head of each family. All the community was liable, and the amount varied in accordance with rank or with wealth. By periodical payment of a don gratuit (free gift) and payment of a lump sum the clergy had purchased exemption from this tax. The vingtième (twentieth) was a tithe levied from time to time upon real and personal property. Personal property largely, as so often afterward, escaped, and the wealthier classes were able to procure for themselves low assessment. There were various aides (aids)--internal revenue taxes, like the English excise. From them various communities had purchased partial or complete exemption. There was also the gabelle or salt tax, derived from the monopoly which the government maintained with respect to the sale of salt. In France salt was sold by the government under various restrictions and regulations and at different prices in various parts of the country. Nearly 50,000 troops and agents were employed to suppress contraband trade. The yield was some 60,000,000 livres (francs), the cost of collection about one third of the whole. Taille
The total amount of taxation was well within the capacity of the French people to bear. Much more was easily paid during the generation that followed 1789.
But since the wealthier or more important people steadily purchased exemption, those remaining, with less capacity, found French taxation grievous and hateful. At the same time the state could not obtain revenue enough. Numerous taxes were farmed out, in order to spare the trouble of collection, but the fermiers généraux were so corrupt and inefficient that they became a by-word; and in general a large part of the taxes disappeared in the process and for the expense of collection. The government was constantly pressed for money, and constantly resorting to such desperate expedients as lessening the value of the coin or borrowing at ruinous rates. According to the comte rendu (statement rendered) of 1788, presented to the king just before he decided to summon the states general, the annual expenses were 633,000,000 livres, the ordinary gross receipts 472,000,000 livres, of which a considerable part never reached the exchequer. Revenues were being anticipated far into the following year and even into the year succeeding. The net revenue insufficient
In the latter part of the eighteenth century the condition of Frenchmen generally was much better than that of most people in the German and the Slav lands, as well as of those in Italy and in Spain. Yet the condition of many of them in respect of the increasing humaneness of the time, and especially from the point of view of better conditions afterward developed, was grievous enough. France of the Old Régime was a land of established privilege for some and of lowly life for a much greater number. The contrast between conditions at that time and now is often represented as so great that the student is brought to think the old conditions resulted from great tyranny and wickedness of rulers then; but it is necessary to remember that these conditions had most of them come down through a long course of centuries in natural development or tenacious survival; that a hundred and fifty years ago they existed for the most part nearly everywhere Conditions in France
2. MAP TO ILLUSTRATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS OF FRANCE AND THE GABELLE
in the world; and that at present much misery and depression continue despite efforts to remove them. The nobility
Position of the noblesse
At the end of the eighteenth century, in France, as in almost every European country then, there was a nobility that constituted the upper class. The number of the nobles was estimated by Taine at 140,000. Others believe it to have been no more than 100,000, that is about four to every thousand of the 23,000,000 or more which is believed to been the total population of France then. A recent authority puts the number at 400,000. This noblesse was more numerous than the English nobility, since it comprehended not only what would have been considered the nobility in England--the greater nobles, but also the gentry--the lesser nobles and their connections. It was much less numerous than the Polish nobility about the same time, that embraced, perhaps, 1,350,000 out of 9,000,000. The. French nobility was in some respects a caste, but entrance into this select body from the outside was easily possible, either favor of the crown, or by purchase of one of many offices under the government. As in Poland and in some other places, a small number of these nobles were rich, living in magnificence and ostentation, but the great majority possessed little land and had very little wealth. Nobles were debarred by position from engaging in trade. They were also by the policy of the crown deprived of political power and largely excluded from political office. For most of them there was no career except in the army or the navy, where promotion was tardy and the rate of pay low. Most of them had scanty, revenue from landed estates, and a larger income derived from seignorial rights. Pride and prejudice forbade a noble to descend to marriage with a wealthy person of lower class, though there were many exceptions. Molière, in his play George Dandin ( 1668), had (depicted the proud but impoverished noble family whose daughter had married a bourgeois.
The French noblesse were altogether in unfortunate position. On the whole, they seem to have been narrow, conservative, tenacious of their rights, but generally frugal, honorable, and proper. The famous description in Dickens's Tale of Two Cities probably represents only a little of their life. Yet, by the end of the eighteenth century they were widely disliked in France because of arrogance and lordly pose, because of their enforcement of burdensome feudal rights, and because of their obvious futility. They did not, as did the nobles and the gentry in Great Britain, manage the central and the local government. Deprived of most of the power that once they had had, the French nobles lived in isolation and even in disunion one from the other. There were many feuds and jealousies among them. Ancient aristocrats despised newer nobles. Those of the sword, whose position had come from military service, looked down upon nobles of the robe, who filled great judicial positions. When revolution came the noblesse had but little power to defend themselves and few friends to stand forward for them. Character
Futility, weakness, and division
More powerful and important was the church, custodian of the Roman Catholic religion--the only faith allowed by law in the land. It was the giver or supervisor of almost all education. It was possessor of great wealth and of one fifth of the soil of France, some say. Its total revenues have been estimated at 200,000,000 livres, of which about half came from landed estates, not very well managed, and half from the tithe, a payment or share-twelfth, fifteenth, or twentieth--paid by, certain propertyholders subject to this obligation. The church
The total number of the clergy may have been 130,000: about 60,000 monks, friars, and nuns; 60,000 parish priests and curates: perhaps 10,000 other secular clergy. Some of the monasteries and religious houses were very wealthy; some of the greater clergy had wide estates and very large incomes, and lived in great magnificence and The greater clergy renown. Most of the parish priests had small income, and lived hard, laborious, and useful lives. The clergy were exempt from such taxes as the taille, and had cheaply purchased exemption from the capitation and vingtièmte by paying down large sums to the crown in time of financial emergency. Every five years, however, the clergy granted the crown a subsidy (don gratuit), and in time of war or unusual need they sometimes made additional grants. As had one been the case in England, the French clergy possessed a certain amount of self-government. In their national assembly they made regulations and voted the don gratuit. They had also sixteen provincial assemblies.
The French church had entered on a period of decline. The religious orders were generally lazy and seemingly useless. Some of the higher clergy lived and dissolute lives. As in the sixteenth century in England, the wealth of the religious corporations was envied by others. The great body of the parish priests were loved by the people in whose midst they worked. They generally disapproved of the more privileged of their own order, and during the earlier stages of the French Revolution acted with the bourgeoisie against the nobles and higher clergy. Decade of the church in France
Beside, in some respects below, the nobles and the churchmen, were the bourgeoisie, the French middle class, less numerous and important than the middle class in Great Britain then, but greater than the bourgeoisie of any other country except the Netherlands, and perhaps more important than the middle class in Russia before the recent revolution. In England then the middle class embraced in addition to manufacturers, traders, professional men, many substantial yeomen and tenant farmers. In France the bourgeoisie were almost entirely urban--merchants, traders, manufacturers or masters in the guilds, lawyers, physicians, bankers. The population of the cities then has been estimated at about 2,000,000; but of this total many were in the lowest class. The bourgeoisie
The bourgeoisie, more than the nobles and the upper churchmen, had the brains, the intelligence, the capacity for leadership in the realm. They were able to obtain good education. They filled most of the important and well-paid offices in the state. They managed the public revenue, and farmed the indirect taxes. Generally they held little land, and for various reasons did not attempt to possess land; but otherwise they owned most of the capital in the country. They held the bulk of the public debt. Many a noble or churchman was debtor to them. For the most part they could obtain exemption from military service. Whereas the nobles and the greater clergy were relaxed and decadent, the burghers not only had many special privileges of their own, but to some extent they made their position for themselves and kept it by hard and capable work. They also profited by special privileges and exclusive right. The "masters " of the guilds practically monopolized industry and trade, and were able to avoid changes and keep out the competition of others who wanted to share in their profits. In France, as in other continental countries then, the guild system lasted long after its older usefulness was over, still able to prevent such changes as made the Industrial Revolution in England. Their power
Energy and Vigor
The bourgeoisie were greatly discontented, and desired large change and reform. They resented their exclusion for the most part from military, naval, and, diplomatic positions, and were embittered at the arrogance of some of the nobles. They looked upon the existing system of government as corrupt, inefficient, and wasteful. They hoped for local self-government in the cities and the towns, and they believed that the English system of limited monarchy and parliamentary institutions should be copied for the government in Paris. Many were filled with the noble and humane ideas so widely taught in France at this time, and with much enthusiastic idealism The bourgeoisie discontented and complete inexperience of government they had no misgivings about the difficulty of making alteration, and no fear of any larger revolution made by the masses below. the bourgeoisie were to be the principal leaders, first and last, in the French Revolution approaching.
Nine tenths of all the French people made up the lowest class, which comprised the peasants and the laborers in the towns. The town workers had no chance, as a rule, ever to rise in their trades or better their condition. As in most other towns then, they dwelt huddled in poverty and lowly living. From among them--as in all other such movements--were to come some of the wildest and most terrible of the mobs of the Revolution. More than four fifths of the population of France, some 20,000,000 people, were peasants employed in agriculture. Save in some of the northern provinces there was scarcely anywhere a middle-class rural population. Taxation bore heavily upon non-noble rural holders, and such a proprietor was liable especially to the tax franc-fief, so that the bourgeoisie kept to the towns. For the most part the French peasants were now personally free--not many more than a million still being serfs, and they mostly in Alsace and Lorraine. In some respects the condition of the French peasants was better than that of the corresponding class in England at that time. They had long been purchasing their land. Just before the French Revolution it has been estimated that one fifth of the soil of France belonged to the crown, one fifth to the church, one fifth to the nobles, and nearly two fifths to the peasants; while Arthur Young, the contemporary English traveller, supposed that they held one third. There was a vast number of petty holdings, and the number was constantly being increased through further purchase. Some have even conjectured that the number of small holdings of land was as great in France before the Revolution as it ever was after that time, the extensive estates of the church and the nobility The lowest Classes: town proletariat
Many were Small land owners
confiscated and sold during the Revolution being divided then, so they say, not among the peasants but among wealthy buyers. A large number of peasants who had not obtained their own land, worked land which they held of nobles as metayers, paying the owner half of the yield of the crops. Others were merely rural laborers toiling on the greater estates.
Often in the past the condition of the French peasants has been represented as grievous and dreadful, as one of the principal causes of the French Revolution. Travellers like Arthur Young, and Frenchmen like Rousseau and D'Argenson, wrote accounts of misery and hunger and dull despair, so horrible to modern readers as to make a revolution seem not to be avoided. To some extent, however, these accounts concern exceptional conditions; to some extent they are in contrast with exceptional conditions elsewhere known to the writers, or with ideal circumstances which they hoped might be. It must be remembered also that agriculture and rural life have always been subject to vicissitudes or misfortune or temporary depression. It seems certain that in the latter years of the eighteenth century rural conditions in France were better than almost anywhere else in Europe. The farm workers had lowly position, but as good for the most part as that of the rural laborers in England, and better than that of peasants elsewhere. The metayers frequently repined at the share which they must give the landlord, while he himself received insufficient rent. Young, who was expert in all matters relating to farming, considered the share system a very poor one; but it had for a long time existed and has often been used since then. The small proprietors, like the Russian peasants in the nineteenth century, suffered much from the very smallness of their holdings and from further subdivision of the patches of their ground among the families' children. Condition of the peasants
What the peasants found most onerous were the seignorial burdens that rested upon them all, for most of the proprietors had not purchased freeholds exempt from feudal dues, but had the position of the English copyholders, possessing subject to seignorial obligations. Crops must be sold in the lord's market, corn ground in his mill, bread baked in his oven, grapes crushed in his wine-press, for all of which the peasants must pay prescribed dues. There was also the corvée seigneuriale, or claim for a certain amount of unpaid labor. There were in addition various péages seigneuriales--tolls levied on the roads or rivers of the neighborhood for the seigneur. In France, as elsewhere, the nobility had the sole right to hunt and kill game: the peasants must assist them, but they were debarred by game laws from interfering with the rabbits or the deer which often fattened on their crops. In some places the peasant labored under more restrictions and burdens than elsewhere, the obligations varying according to old local customs come down from the time when France was a land of feudal divisions. Under these servilities the peasants chafed. Often the lord could enforce his rights only as the result of much annoyance or legal proceeding. Seigniorial Obligations
Rights of the lords
Furthermore, upon the peasants fell a disproportionate share of the taxes, since the upper classes were either exempt, or were at times able to purchase exemption. Peasants paid most of the taille, most of the gabelle, most of the capitation, and the work taxes or corrées. Worse still, their gain was lessened by the numerous restrictions on trade, for there still remained numerous towns and jurisdictions that levied tolls and customs (traites) on goods passing by. And finally agriculture had been as yet little improved, and remained not very productive: so that under the best conditions then existing the French peasants could not have obtained large surplus or procured themselves any large profit. Burdens upon the peasants
The eighteenth century had followed the seventeenth in bringing many changes that conduced not necessarily Lo revolution but to large alteration and reform. Religious prejudice was waning, and increase of scientific knowledge was altering the outlook of numerous people. Slowly men and women--at least those in the upper intellectual classes--were becoming less fanatical, more humane, more sympathetic, more considerate of the feelings of others, and more interested in their condition. Punishments were still barbarous, and horrible torture was used; but in 1764 the Marquis Cesare di Beccaria of Milan not only condemned all use of torture but advocated abolishing the death penalty as well. During these second half of the eighteenth century in France and in various other countries near by the standard of living was rising for an increasing number of people, so that more and more men and women knew of better things, aspired to better things, and wished better conditions for others. In France a school of economic thinkers, the Physiocrats (physiocracy --rule of nature), busied themselves with formulating doctrines for the betterment of the state and the life of the people. Their leader, Francois Quesnay, whose Tableau Économique (Economic Scheme) appeared in 1758, discussed "natural laws," about the conditions that would secure for man the greatest well-being. Large general changes
New standards and views
During the eighteenth century, as during the seventeenth, the sixteenth, and others, radicals and the discontented proposed sweeping changes. Then, as always most people were in the main content with what existed in their time, or else were too much preoccupied to think about changes; but a minority, as always, greatly despised what existed, and predicted revolution and reform. In France this had begun notably in the later years of Louis XIV, when that monarch's glory was fading. Fénelon ( 16511715), archbishop of Cambrai, declared that the despotism of the king was odious, and that without a constitution and parliamentary government, revolution would later on Liberals and radical thinkers come. The Count de Boulainvilliers ( 1658-1722) wrote works, published after his death, in which he affirmed that the despotic power of the crown had all come by usurpation of the rights of the nobles. In 1721 appeared Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes, (Persian Letters) and in 1748 his De l'Esprit des Lois. (Spirit of the Laws), in which he criticized the abuses of government, and expounded the excellence of a constitution--like England's. he said--where the executive was checked and limited by judiciary and legislature. In 1734 appeared Voltaire Lettres Philosophique sur les Anglais (Philosophic Letters concerning the English). In this and in other writings during the next forty years he attacked the church, and less directly the state, heaping ridicule and discredit upon them, and often holding up what he believed was the superior system in England. The Marquis d'Argenson ( 1694- 1757) was the author of a work, Considérations sur le Gourvernement de la France, published after his death ( 1764), in which he advocated reform in government, with equal laws and opportunities for all. In 1774 Diderot asserted that the existing system was encumbered with absurd regulations that violated the laws of nature, and that generally princes were employed in making more grievous the servitude of their subjects. Montesquieu
It is probable that none of this writing had directly any influence on the mass of the people. Perhaps at the time not even in Scotland or in Holland could as many as half the people read and write, and elsewhere literacy was much less widely extended. But opinions of radicalism, discontent, and doubt were read by the upper intellectual classes, and gradually the influence of them was very important. Writers like Voltaire and Diderot, who long heaped ridicule and contempt upon existing institutions, gradually caused many of those in positions of authority or importance to lose faith in the world around them and to doubt the validity of what they upheld. In course of time the intellectual Effects of critical and radical writing and moral resistance of a great many of these people was weakened; they affected contempt for their government and laws; and without seriously contemplating very much change talked lightly of large alteration.
In this period there was much discussion of natural laws and of a state of nature that once had prevailed but was lost now through man's evil work. Such ideas are very old: most peoples have thought of some golden age, of the better times of the past. Nature and the laws of nature were discussed by the sophists among the Greeks, and later on by the Stoics, whose ideas were applied by the lawyers of Rome. Such conceptions were embodied in the Christian religion and were written of by medieval churchmen. It was in accordance with alleged laws of nature that the Dutch had renounced their allegiance to Spain ( 1581). During the sixteenth century Jesuits like Mariana and Huguenots like Hotman had enlarged upon them. And they had entered into the ideas of law and international law as expounded by Grotius and Selden. "Nature" and "natural laws"
In the eighteenth century supposed natural laws and state of nature occasioned much attempted philosophic writing. Such was the basis of the system of the Physiocrats. A certain Morelly went further: he declared that nature intended all things to be held in common. Most influential was Rousseau whose marvelous eloquence aroused men's sympathy and feeling. He was a man of much weakness, often contemptible in his character, yet in some respects of great moral strength, and of great intellectual daring. Long before, the Christian church had taught the essential equality of men before God. In the seventeenth century some Englishmen expounded the doctrine that men were equal in the state, and should govern themselves. Their efforts soon failed--save in America whither some of them went--and their writings won little attention. Now their doctrines were taken up by Rousseau and others and stated with an earnestness
In the eighteenth century
and a brilliancy that everywhere attracted a following. In 1754 appeared his Discours sur l'Inégalité des Conditions (Discourse concerning Inequality of Conditions); in 1762 Le Contrat Social (The Social Contract). "Man," said Rousseau, "was born free; he is everywhere now in chains." Man could not alienate his freedom for that was his right. Civilization and the government which some men had imposed upon others had in course of time reduced most people to misery and subjection. The remedy was return to the state of nature. All men ought to be free, and government in the hands of the people. The teachings of Rousseau
Rousseau was the greatest of the earlier exponents of democracy. His ideas were read and mildly approved by many of the upper classes, who believed that it would be very good if such things could be, though many felt sure that they could not. Most people of consequence then believed that aristocracy and inequality must always exist; but more and more people began to dream now in some vague way of the world being so bettered that there might be freedom and equality and happiness for all. In America men, inspired by Rousseau but much more by earlier English writings, wrote these ideas into the Declaration of Independence; and in France a few years later such ideas came to be the basic principles of the French Revolution. All through the nineteenth century there was steady growth of (democracy, and one of the greatest things in that period was the effort to see whether doctrines of democracy could be realized completely. During the French Revolution men made reforms with respect to liberty, fraternity, and equality; but after a while much of their most radical work was swept away in reaction. In the United States people held ever more steadfastly to their belief that (democracy had succeeded completely, that it would be the portion of European people in happier times to come. European thinkers pointed out that (democratic success in America was owing in no small part
Development of Ideas about Equality and Democracy
Extension of the democratic dogma to the free land which men might have for the taking. The real test, they said, would come in the twentieth century when all of this land was possessed. In 1917, however, when the United States entered the Great War, her people had come to believe that the struggle was a final contest between an autocratic and a democratic system.
In the second half of the eighteenth century philosophic doctrines and ideas greatly moved rulers and statesmen, and some of them endeavored to effect very large and drastic reforms. This work was carried out by the socalled "enlightened (despots." In Portugal the Marquis of Pombal made reforms with the zeal of a ruthless dictator. In Spain Charles III was the most liberal and enlightened sovereign who had ruled that country for generations. In England there was a movement of much promise for parliamentary reform. Some amendment was made in Piedmont, and Tuscany became the best governed country in Europe. In Prussia, Frederick the Great, believing though he did in divine right of monarchs, yet deemed himself the servant of his people, and strove unceasingly to make their lot better. In the Hapsburg dominions Joseph II tried by despotic pronouncement to effect some of the sweeping alterations made a little later by revolution in France. In France itself the aged Louis XV sank ever lower in debauchery and sloth, but his successor was from the first interested in plans for amelioration. The "enlightened Despots"
At this time in the outlying European communities in North America occurred a revolution that profoundly affected European thinkers. In 1775 thirteen colonies of Great Britain revolted. Next year they proclaimed independence, appealing to the law of nature, asserting that all men were free and equal, and proclaiming that evil government might be overthrown. The Spanish authorities and Catherine II of Russia both clearly saw that this was a dangerous stroke at established authority and divine
The American Revolution
right; but England, very proud and successful then, was unpopular all over Europe, and not a few European rulers viewed the efforts of the rebels with approval. In France these was much generous sympathy for a people struggling, as they said, for their freedom. Moreover, burning resentment against Britain because of recent defeat in the Seven Years' War determined the French government to give assistance and so damage her rival. In 1783 Great Britain was compelled to acknowledge the independence of the United States. All Europe beheld the spectacle of a people who had asserted natural rights and overthrown a government that displeased them. Very profound was the impression in France. Some of the French officers coming back were critical of the American country and people, but most of those who saw service in the Revolutionary War returned filled with ideas about how a people had overthrown a government they conceived to oppress them, setting up a new system in conformity with the laws of nature and resting on assent of the people themselves. It was not long now before revolution spread into Europe. Effect in France
The great revolution began in France. It was once said that this was because Frenchmen were fickle and, unlike the English, easily inclined toward violent disturbance. Actually most Frenchmen, like most other people, have generally been conservative and slow to make changes. About the end of the eighteenth century Americans and Frenchmen had their revolutionary period, since when they have become very conservative again. In the seventeenth century the English were looked upon as the most radical people in Europe; and, after a long interval, at the present time, many of them are tending to be so again. It has also been said that the revolution began in France because conditions there were better than in most of the countries of Europe. It is not among the most downtrodden people that revolutions usually begin--unless the oppressive government has been completely overthrown The Revolution begins In France by enemies outside--but among those who, free of the worst grievances, are impatient of those that remain. Yet conditions were even better in Holland, or Tuscany, or in ( Great Britain, and the revolutionary movement began in none of these places. It may be that it did not begin in Britain because the English people had had their revolutions in 1641 and 1688. Probably had there been a powerful government or a government of strength and decision in France such alteration as came there now would have been mild like that in England in 1688-changes important but not radical and utterly subversive. In 1789, however, the government of France was a despotism vested entirely in the king and the officials beneath him. The king, Louis XVI ( 1774-1792), was an honest and well-intentioned young man, but heavy and irresolute, lacking in wisdom, lacking in strength and decision, desirous of being liberal and wishing himself to initiate reforms, but lacking the judgment to carry them through and easily frightened into abandoning his projects entirely. Because Conditions Were relatively good but needed reform
Because the Government Was weak
When Louis XNI came to the throne the French government was just beginning to recover from the ruin that followed the Seven Years' War. None the less, the old fiscal system had been slowly breaking down, and the country had been drifting toward bankruptcy. Then in 1778, to have revenge upon England and curb her power, France assisted the Americans to obtain independence. She won the war, but financial ruin was completed. Two great ministers and masters of finance, Turgot and Necker, saw that only by thorough-going reforms could the monarchy again become solvent; but the privileged classes, at whose expense such reforms must be made, interfered, and caused their dismissal. In 1789 the public debt amounted to 4,467,000,000 livres, almost all of which represented expenditures made in the past for things that now yielded no revenue and did no service. The annual charge for interest was 236,000,000 livres. The net receipts into the Costly assistance to the Revolted Americans
Ruin of the French finances exchequer were 212,000,000 livres--less than the yearly interest payment alone. The deficit, which was constantly increasing, was supplied by anticipating revenue for subsequent years--as the Spanish government of the seventeenth century had done; by selling future exemptions from taxation--which inevitably lowered the revenue of the future; and by borrowing at rates ever increasing. By 1788 it had become difficult to borrow anything more. This desperate financial emergency was the immediate cause of the French Revolution That the emergency was allowed so to develop, and once begun was allowed to go on to the cataclysm that followed, was owing to the incompetence of the government and to the weakness and vacillation of the king.
Already in 1786 financial difficulties of the government were so great that Louis XVI called an assembly of the notables --principal nobles, clergy, magistrates, and officials. They met next year, but could give little help, for they were unwilling themselves to pay any large share of the taxes. Like a similar body in England just before the Puritan Revolution, they were able to suggest nothing petter than that the king call the parliament of the realm. In the Middle Ages, when the English parliament was developing, similar bodies were developing in France and in Spain. In Spain they had long since virtually disappeared and in France the états généraux or the states general, representative of the three great estates or classes-clergy, nobles, and commons--had not been assembled since 1614. Few remembered what they had been or knew now what they could do, but in 1788 louis was advised to have them come and give counsel. Hunger, discontent, and unrest were abroad in France, and the king was glad to attempt this remedly in hope of assistance. The king advised to call the states general
So long had it been since the states general were summoned that men scarcely recalled the necessary form and procedure. Pamphleteers and politicians now busied themselves circulating information about what the states were or should be. In older times the assembly had been but little check upon royal power, and Louis probably feared no great trouble from it now. On the other hand, extravagant expectations were at once aroused, and many changes proposed or demanded. Presently the government issued regulations for the elections, modelling them upon those used in the convocation of 1614. The electoral divisions were to be the old bailliages and sénéchaussés. The franchise was to be very wide, wider than in any great election ever held before. In the first estate, the greater clergy were to vote directly, the lesser indirectly, for their representatives to be sent to meet the king. For the second estate, the nobles, there was to be equal and universal suffrage. For the third estate now roughly understood to be the mass of the people, and not merely the burghers --there was to be almost universal suffrage for men, since every Frenchman, of the age of twenty-five or more, who paid any taxes, might vote for representatives of this order. As a result of the elections there was presently chosen a body of 1214 men. There were 308 clergy, 285 nobles, 621 representatives of the third estate. The clergy were deeply divided, for the greater were opposed and disliked by the lower--twice as numerous. The nobles were also divided by a bitter feud--provincial nobles against those of the court. In the lower order most of the representatives were of the middle class--lawyers, merchants, bankers, officials. The third estate had in the past been the least important, but now there was current the idea that it much more than the others represented the nation. A certain Mounier heaped scorn upon the old constitution of the états généraux, and another, Sieyès, writing a pamphlet, which at once attracted very wide attention, Qu'estce-que le Tiers État? (What is the Third Estate?), expounded the doctrine that it was everything, though it had in the past been nothing. The election of the états généraux
Result of the elections
May 5, 1789, the states general met near the palace of Versailles--some distance outside of Paris--and listened to a speech from the king. The delegates themselves, especially in the third estate, had brought with them cahiers (memorials or reports), which recounted alleged evils and demanded or suggested reforms. The cahiers embody much discontent, protest, and hope, but they also reflect contemporary conditions and on the whole portray the aspirations of a great number of the people of France. Many of them were drawn up under the influence of the new liberal and radical teachings. Ultimately, most of the demands contained in the cahiers were carried out in reforms or changes later on. The cahiers
Many of the cahiers asked reform of the government. A constitution should be given, making France a limited monarchy: executive power in the king; power over taxation in the states general, which ought to be regularly summoned, and, some said, not dismissed without the members' consent; legislation to be shared by king and estates. Municipal and local government should be altered, by giving self-government to the localities and putting power into the hands of elected representatives of the people. Taxation should be thoroughly reformed, and all privileges and exemptions abolished. The law ought to be made uniform and simple. The court system should be altered and improved. Personal liberty should be carefully safeguarded and defended; and the lettres de cachet abolished or much restricted. The Catholic religion should be maintained, but there must be religious toleration for the others. Feudal rights should be abolished, and seignorial burdens removed. In the various professions or callings opportunity should be equal and open to all. Demands for reform
According to ancient practice the three orders voted separately as bodies, so that the privileged upper classes always had the majority in their two orders. But now Organization of the états généraux
3. RELIEF MAP OF EUROPE
there was current the contention that states general should sit as one body, the members voting individually and representing the nation. This would result in the nobles and the higher clergy being in the minority, and they for the most part opposed it. A bitter struggle began. On June 17th the third estate proclaimed that the orders should organize as a national assembly, and soon after they were joined by the lower clergy and a few of the liberal nobles. Then the king prepared to interfere; whereupon the gathering followed Mirabeau and Sieyès, their leaders, to a neighboring tennis-court where they solemnly swore that as members of the National Assembly they would not separate till they had written a constitution for France. After this the nobles and upper clergy came to sit with them. A National Assembly
Troops were now assembled about Versailles, and it seemed that the National Assembly might be overawed or dismissed. Suddenly the mob rose in Paris, and, after wild disorder and looting, forced the surrender of the Bastille, the old state prison, in the eyes of the people the very symbol of the Ancien Régime. While the Bastille was being destroyed the people of Paris set up a commune in the city, in which the government was put in the hands of representatives elected by the people of the different districts. They enrolled a citizen militia, the National Guard, and it was evident that a powerful champion had arisen to defend the Assembly. The mob in Paris
For a time the king acquiesced, but soon there was further plotting to dismiss the Assembly. Rumors of this came to Paris, and on October 5th, a terrible and uncouth mob went streaming forth to Versailles. During the wild night that followed, the royal family was saved by Lafayette and the National Guard, but next day the mob and the Guard returned to the city bringing the king and his family, and shortly after the Assembly followed them. The National Assembly was now sitting in the midst of the most radical of the people of France. Paris The National Assembly
Meanwhile the old order was perishing in France. The mass of the people, rude and ignorant, hoped that the states general would amend all wrongs, and believed that all things for their betterment were possible. Disorders and discontent soon broke out, and in the provinces administration and government came to a standstill. The peasants rose and drove out the lords or their stewards and sacked manor houses and châteaux. Monasteries were plundered, officials driven away. In blind wrath the people began at once to pull down all the institutions which seemed to them oppressive and hateful. Disorders in The country
Until the spring of 1789 the government of France had been vested entirely in the king and his subordinate officials and councils. During the summer the states genneral, led by the third estate, become the National Assembly of France, and proposed to abolish old abuses and make a new constitution. Like the Long Parliament of 1640 in England, they meant to effect great changes and make thoroughgoing reforms, but they were for the present led by comparatively moderate men, who desired no absolute break with the existing order of things. As was the case with the great parliament in England, the work now first done was the best, the wisest, and most lasting. Some of the large reforms begun in the period 1789-91 were destined to endure permanently for the good of France. Work of the National Assembly
In August, 1789, after the uprisings in the country, the National Assembly abolished serfdom, and provided for the abolition of all the feudal or manorial payments and obligations, the work completed four years later. In November, the church property was confiscated, and a little later the monasteries were suppressed, thus taking from the church, which was one of the greatest and firmest supports of the old order, its vast possessions comprising about a fifth of the soil of the kingdom. The property thus secularized was used as security upon which to issue the paper money, or assignats, which became the basis of
revolutionary finance. The lands were thrown upon the market, so that the government obtained only a part of their real value. On the other hand, assignats were issued in ever-increasing quantities, without respect to the security proposed for them, so that later on they declined in value much as did the German paper money of 1923, and in the end they were repudiated entirely. Another great change was made in proclaiming complete religious freedom; and in August, 1790, the clergy were taken from the control of the pope, made subject to the state, which was to pay their salaries, and their election provided for by the people. This ecclesiastical legislation was carried through by the enlightened sceptics, disciples of Voltaire and others like him, who controlled the Assembly; but it soon produced a great gulf between two sections of the people in France. The pope protested against the taking of church property and making the clergy, a civil body. He forbade Catholics to obey the decrees; and the priests, who at the start had assisted so greatly in forwarding the Revolution, now began to oppose it, and to influence the peasants against it. The Revolution prevailed, and in France the church never was restored to the position it held before 1789; but when the Revolutionary days were past the clergy and the religious orders long continued to support as much as they could what remained of the older system of things. Church and state
Many of the nobles had by this time left France, and as émigrés in foreign courts were striving to get foreign intervention. Meanwhile the Assembly went on with reforms and the task of writing a constitution. Often there was the utmost difficulty. The National Guard controlled Paris, but mobs frequently made their influence felt. Inside the chamber the Assembly was already divided into political parties: the very conservative, known as the Right from the part of the hall where they sat, and the very radical, the Left, disciples of Rousseau; between them Parties within the Assembly the more important bodies of the Center, who wanted the monarchy preserved, though limited by a written constitution. Some of them would have restricted power to the wealthy and upper class, some would have extended it to the middle class, but not to the mass of the poor. In the center sat Lafayette, and Sieyès, and Mirabeau. But while liberals and moderate conservatives controlled the body drawing up the constitution, and while the extremists were a small minority there, outside the Assembly, political bodies or clubs were growing up, of which the Jacobins were most famous, by means of which the radicals presently swayed the multitude, and began to intimidate the members of the Assembly. In the spring of 1791 Mira? beau died, and with him passed away the greatest moderate leader of the Revolution. The king, terrified now by the Paris mobs and influenced by old associations, resolved to flee from the city to his friends. He was easily brought back, and the radicals and populace would have had him put from the throne, but the National Guard of the middle class prevented it, and in September presented to Louis the new constitution, which he swore to uphold. Political Clubs
The Constitution of 1791 was the first important written constitution which any European nation had ever obtained, and with the exception of the one adopted by the American states ( 1787-9), the first one of importance in the world. The premable, the Declaration of Rights, had been drawn up some time before. Like the writings of Rousseau and the American Declaration of Independence it asserted that "Men are born in equal rights and remain so"; and that law, which should express the will of the people, must be made by the people and be the same for them all. It proclaimed freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. It declared that no one should be arrested or imprisoned except in accordance with the law. Thus at a stroke it attempted to assert for the French people those privileges which had so slowly The Constitution of 1791
Declaration of Rights
grown up in England and been so zealously defended in America, and more than that it carried France forward further than any people so far had been taken.
The constitution gave the principal power of the central government to a legislative assembly, of one chamber, elected for two years from men of property, by indirect election. The franchise, given to about three fourths of the men, was restricted to those who paid a certain amount of taxes. Actually this was a very wide extension of the right to vote, for nowhere in the world then was the franchise given to all the people or all of the men. The king was not to dismiss the assembly, nor prevent that body from passing laws--though he had a temporary veto--and he had no control over local government, army, or navy. Thus the executive was too weak. Local government had already been reformed. The old, overlapping, and confused divisions of France were done away with, along with the surviving remnants of provincial governments which had existed in them from older times, and instead now the country was divided into departments, which were divided into smaller subdivisions--arrondissements, cantons, and communes--which continue to exist in France at present. In these districts local government was established, consisting of representatives and officials elected by the people. Far too much power was vested in these local bodies, and this change did not endure. The new Government of France
This system of limited constitutional monarchy in place of absolutism, and power of bourgeoisie and propertied classes instead of the nobles alone, lasted less than two years. On the one hand, it was detested by those who loved the old order, while on the other hand it fell far short of satisfying the radicals, who wanted more drastic changes, and a great body of the lower classes whose economic condition was not yet bettered and who were excluded from any real control. The moderate leaders who had so far guided reform had believed that it would be well for France Weakness of the new constitutional system to have limited monarchy similar to that of Great Britain; but now there arose radical leaders who proposed to go very much further.
In the confusion and ferment of the times many now appeared who were sternly determined to put forward their particular schemes for completely generating France, or were eager in persuading others to try their doctrines new and untried. Some were ignorant enthusiasts; others were ambitious leaders seeking advancement in the new times; still others were able innovators, daring, keen, and constructive. Some would sweep away most of the old; some would permit nothing old to remain. There were followers of Rousseau and men like him; some were the founders of modern communism; others had new systems conceived by themselves. Ablest and most important of the radical leaders were Marat, Danton, and Robespierre. Jean Paul Marat ( 1744-93), a physician, directly his attention to politics on the summoning of the states general. At once he began to publish a paper, L' Ami du Peuple (The Friend of the People), in which he opposed instituting in France a limited monarchy like that in England, where, he said, government was controlled by an oligarchy of the wealthy and noble. He advocated for France a republic with power given directly to the people. He was opposed to the bourgeoisie as well is to the upper classes and the crown. Georges Jacques Danton ( 1759-94) was a young lawyer with bourgeois connections and associations it the outbreak of the revolution. An orator of great power he soon became a leader in the commune of Paris, and a mighty influence with the Paris mob. He strongly favored establishing a government completely controlled by the democracy of France. Maximilien Robespierre ( 1758-94), of middle-class family, a lawyer, and previously a judge, was elected to the states general in 1789. Of fastidious tastes and good bearing, he was also an idealist completely devoted to advancing the rights Radical leaders
of the people. He accepted entire the teachings of Rousseau, and was determined to effect the equality of all men in the state, and give control of the government to them. He was from the start leader of the extreme radicals in the constituent assembly. About these men and others, their associates or opponents, much controversy has raged. Condemned as monsters and tyrants, they have also been praised as leaders of mankind. It seems certain that their intentions were generally good. History judges also their work.
They and men like them worked ceaselessly to stir up the proletariat of Paris. They published newspapers and pamphlets that spread wide their new thoughts and radical ideas. They carried on correspondence with men of their sentiments in other districts of France. They banded together in clubs, which became centers of disaffection and radicalism. Foremost of these organizations in Paris were the Cordeliers and the Jacobins. The Cordeliers proclaimed themselves friends of the rights of man. At first they were the leading radical organization in Paris. Among them Danton gained his reputation as a revolutionary speaker, and from them won his first adherents. More important were the Jacobins--so called from meeting in the convent of St. Jacques in Paris. They began as a moderate body, the Society of the Friends of the Constitution, and counted among their members Sieyès-who was never an extreme radical, and was later on prominent in the reaction; Lafayette--recently returned from America, and desirous of reform but not of large revolution; and Mirabeau--connected with the noble class and desirous of reforms for the bourgeoisie, who helped to begin the revolution, then presently tried to stay it. Soon, however, the Jacobins were brought under Robespierre's sway. Then the character of the organization was transformed, and it was one of the most radical bodies in the state. The Jacobins established branches in most of the The clubs
other principal towns and became very powerful in Paris. In the confusion that presently arose they were seen to have not merely the ablest and most daring leaders, but the only well-organized political machinery in France; and, just as long afterward happened in Russia, they soon had disproportionate strength, and presently supreme power in the country.
The Legislative Assembly, elected in 1791 under the new constitution, contained few members of political experience or statesmanlike ability, for the leaders who had just drafted the constitution were declared not eligible for election. Only a minority of the members were ardent supporters of the new constitution. Presently the majority of the members followed the lead of the Girondists, whose leaders came from the Department of the Gironde, who represented the radical feeling of the country rather than of the capital, many of them wishing to establish a republic. More extreme than they were the Jacobin members, known as the "Mountain," from the higher seats where they sat in the chamber, who expressed the radical feeling of Paris, and hoped for a democracy in France. The Legislative Assembly
The émigrés abroad were preparing expeditions to return and win back the things they had lost, while the sovereigns of the old monarchies and empires of Europe looked with dismay upon what seemed to the wild and monstrous upheaval in France, which might, if not checked soon, spread abroad to their lands also. Foremost in desiring to intervene was Leopold II, of Austria, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He was brother of Marie Antoinette, Louis's queen, and champion of absolutism and divine right. In August, 1791, the emperor and the king of Prussia issued the Declaration of Pillnitz, proclaiming that it was the common interest of European sovereigns to restore what the Revolutionists had overthrown. This aroused vast indignation in France; and in the passion and confusion that followed, the Girondists got control of the gov- Hostility abroad
Declaration Of Pillnitz
ernment. They felt that safety of the reforms just won, and hope of getting further amendment, depended upon resisting the interference of foreign kings, and so they were eager to take up arms. In this they were abetted by moderates, upholders of the constitution, who believed that successful war would firmly establish the constitution. A great wave of emotion swept over the country. Men took up weapons and hastened toward the frontier, and began to sing the new song, Marseillaise, as they went.
But the French were ill-prepared for a war, and discouraging failures followed. The royal family was in secret communication with the enemy and hoping for the invaders' success. In July, 1792, the duke of Brunswick, leader of the allied invading armies, issued a manifesto, declaring that he came to end the anarchy and restore the king, and he threatened Paris with destruction if the royal family were harmed. In August the mob of Paris rose in violent insurrection and the constitutional government was overthrown. The commune of Paris, controlled by the bourgeoisie, was supplanted by a commune based upon the mass of the people. The king sought refuge with the Assembly in terror for his life, and many of the Assembly fled from Paris. The remaining members now voted to suspend the king from his office and declared that a national convention should at once be elected by manhood suffrage to draft a new constitution. For some days anarchy reigned. All the while the invaders were pressing on into the country. The frontier fortresses fell and the invaders pushed on for Paris. Then began the horrible September massacres of the royalists in Paris, for the deliberate purpose of striking terror into the hearts of enemies and traitors. Amidst shocking brutality some hundreds of the best-born people in Paris were put to death. The French defeated
The Commune of Paris
But the tide now turned. The Prussians were defeated at Valmy, in what was only a skirmish, yet in its effects one of the decisive battles in European history. "From this day commences a new era," wrote Goethe who was present on the field. It was felt now that France was saved and with it also the Revolution. In the midst of enormous enthusiasm the leaders went forward to new changes. On the day of the battle the National Convention assembled. The members resolved to make a complete new beginning of things. September 22, 1792, was to be the beginning of the Year I of a new age. France was to be a republic. The king was deposed, imprisoned, later brought to trial, and in 1793 put to death. The émigrés were banished for ever from France. Valmy, 1792
The National Convention, 1792-5
The new order
Meanwhile the Prussians soon lost interest in the campaign, and the Austrians fought with no success. France was cleared of foes, and a republican army entering the Austrian Netherlands was welcomed by the people and quickly drove the Austrians out. Many Frenchmen, wild with enthusiasm, now believed that they could carry the benefits of their revolution to the oppressed people of all the countries of Europe. In December, 1792, the National Convention announced that it would treat as enemies any people who submitted to princes or privileged classes, but would fight to the end to establish in other lands equality and government by the people. Thus did the radicals and revolutionaries boldly challenge the old order in Europe, and rouse up against themselves one of the most powerful combinations ever brought upon France. In England some had greatly sympathized with the Revolution at first, and in the Low Countries, along the Rhine, and in Italy some of the inhabitants yearned for the things which the French revolutionists had won; but all the established governments, most of the people of Europe, and many in France, not only regarded the Revolution as hateful, but saw it as a very dangerous thing, to be stamped out before it spread farther. The execution of Louis XVI filled with horror and aversion the upper The Republic triumphant and aggressive
classes and the conservative people of Europe, at the same time that formidable insurrections broke out in France itself. In 1793 a mighty coalition was formed of Austria and Prussia, already at war with France, and Great Britain, Spain, Holland, and the north Italian state, Savoy. Frenchmen were driven out of Belgium and the Rhine country, and the enemy again threatened to march on Paris. The First Coalition, 1793-7
France and the Revolution were saved by splendid and suddenly provided military organization and by the highest outburst of national feeling which any people had shown since the Romans made war upon Hannibal. The spirit of nationality had its beginning on a grand scale in France during the dangers of Revolutionary times. Nationalism means the consciousness felt by people that they are bound together by common ties and interests, which make them a distinct group compared with other peoples. Often it is based on common language; sometimes on racial characteristics, common religion and ideals; sometimes on enthusiasm and feeling which can scarce be explained. One of the most difficult things to arouse, when created it is one of the most powerful of all the feelings that can actuate large numbers of men. Nationalism
In antiquity people were held together by family or tribal ties, which can only bind a small number, or else by force from above in the old empires which so easily fell to pieces. The vast and long-enduring Roman Empire did in the end make many of its people feel that they were bound together by the tie of being Roman citizens, but after the fall of the Empire western Europe all through the Middle Ages was divided into small feudal districts, or larger jurisdictions held together in groups by force at the top. The history of England all through the Anglo-Saxon period (449-1066) is the story of efforts, largely unsuccessful, to make the inhabitants of the different parts feel that they were Englishmen, members of one state. In Ireland In earlier times this was not accomplished. Italy, the Germanies, Russia, all failed until very late to achieve unity and feeling of common interest, and Poland has only just attained it.
The people of England, France, Spain, and some other lands had got unity and strength by the end of medieval times, and had so strong a feeling of common interest that nations appeared to have arisen. At first the word nation had denoted merely a group bound together by family tie, (nati, to be born). In medieval days it seems to have been used to designate groups of university students who came from the same district or country. Gradually it was given to all the people of a single state; but it could not yet connote the strength and feeling which later circumstances were to give it. In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries the people in France, Spain, or England had for the most part no share in government or the better things of life. They were ruled by upper classes or centralized governments. They could not in the nature of things have the feeling of men who themselves took part and had interest in the rule of the state. Nations
In 1793 many of the French people became conscious for the first time that they were the state. Now they could be roused to defend the new order which seemed to have given them so much; and could be made to rise up with an enthusiasm never before shown by the masses in any large country. When the invaders closed in on France, Frenchmen sprang forward in great bodies to hurl them back, and there was a wild spirit of exuberance and power which people had not felt before. This it is that gives such importance to the rally of the French people in 1793: it was a movement of the people themselves actuated by a new and more real consciousness of national feeling. For the first time was this force unloosed in Europe, and it was destined to overturn the old order. It was about to defeat all its enemies and save the Revolution; it was the basis of the greatness of France when Na- The Revolution and national feeling poleon came to power. When the same spirit was still later aroused in the hearts of Spaniards and Russians and Germans, Napoleon was finally defeated. During the nineteenth century nationality made a united Italy and a united Germany. At the beginning of the twentieth century it was exaggerated and developed until it became one of the potent, indirect causes of the War of the Nations. Nationalism in the nineteenth century
But it was not merely the enthusiasm of national feeling that saved France from her enemies now. Before 1789 the French had often had the best military organization and the ablest military teachers in Europe. They now retained the old organization and they had the old tradition to build on. Moreover, they had in Carnot, one of the Jacobin radicals, a great genius for military administration. He and his associates planned campaigns, provided materials of war, and raised huge republican national armies, which presently by sheer weight of numbers and because of the fiery ardor of their spirit overwhelmed all the enemies who opposed them. France was cleared of the foe, and again the republicans went beyond the frontiers. In a short time Frenchmen had occupied territory as far as the Rhine and won for France the "natural" frontiers which her statesmen and generals during centuries had striven to obtain. Lazare CarNot, "organizer of victory"
All this was accomplished while France seemed in danger of falling to pieces. There was a great revolt of Catholics and conservatives and peasants in the district of La Vendée, in the west. Moreover, the Girondists, who at first controlled the Convention, were overthrown by force; then the Jacobins getting control proceeded to far more radical and democratic reforms. The result was that numerous revolts broke out in the provinces, where people were not willing to suffer the dictation of Paris or go as far as the Jacobins wished. Toulon, the great Mediterranean naval base, received a British fleet, and there were insurrections in Marseilles, Lyons, Nantes, Bordeaux, and other Revolts in France places. But all this was relentlessly, crushed. The Jacobins in the Convention established a marvellously strong and efficient central government, and undertook deliberately to stamp out all treason and disaffection by terror and force. As in Russia in 1919 the central committee of the Socialist Party assumed a dictatorship, so now in France the Committee of Public Safety including Carnot, Robespierre, and others, took supreme control of affairs. The period from the summer of 1793 to that of the next year was afterward known as the Reign of Terror. In Paris the queen, all the nobles who could be reached, and all others suspected of disaffection, were beheaded by the guillotine, which had just been invented. Toulon was recaptured, and the rebellion stamped out in the other places. Fearful vengeance was taken. At Nantes boatloads of victims were sunk in the Loire, and decree went forth that Lyons should be razed to the ground. Altogether many thousands of excellent people and high-born victims perished; and the Jacobins earned for themselves that terrible and hateful renown which is still, after more than a hundred years, so strongly associated with them. The Reign of Terror, 1793-4
It was afterward as easy to praise them and apologize as now it is to advocate the leaders in Russia. There is no doubt that the best of the Jacobins sincerely wished to destroy old abuses and better the condition of the masses. Marat and Danton were as filled with zeal for the people as Lenin was for the proletariat in 1920. Robespierre yearned to bring to pass all the teachings of Rousseau as Trotzky worked for extremest socialist doctrines. Carrier, who drowned the prisoners at Nantes, Collot and Fouché who mowed down the victims at Lyons with grapeshot, Fréron at Toulon, and Le Bon at Cambrai, whatever delight they took in this butchery, could all believe, and cause others afterward to repeat, that they took the shortest way to accomplish good ends. It is true that few people thus lost their lives in comparison with the unnumbered Effects of the Terror
Motives of the agents
victims of great wars. Yet it is a sound instinct which causes men's minds to dwell much upon the destruction of the most prominent and highest. If it be said that it was really the most merciful way to end the divisions and revolts in France, it must be remembered also that such reasoning was used by the Germans in Belgium and northern France, and the Bolsheviki in Russia--by all who have desired to attain ends by force, and impose their will thoroughly and quickly. Louis Blanc, the socialist, afterward wrote: "It is a falsehood to say that the Terror saved France, it may be affirmed that it crippled the Revolution."
France was saved from foreign invasion, and the Jacobins proceeded to establish a new democratic order. Supported by the workingmen of Paris, they had deposed the Girondists in May, 1793, and afterward put the leaders to death. But the Jacobin leaders themselves, one after another, came to untimely end. In July a young woman stabbed Marat to death. Robespierre was now leader of the Convention and the Committee. On the one hand he overthrew Hébert, who led the Paris Commune and wished to establish atheism and divide property among all the people; but on the other he sent Danton to the guillotine because he advised moderation and a return to earlier conditions. For a short time in 1794 Robespierre was virtually dictator of France. He reopened the churches, which had been closed, and laid magnificent plans for the extension of education and democracy among the people. But these plans he meant to carry through, swiftly and despite all opposition, by relentless employment of Terror, and a great number of people were brought to their death. Actually now a reaction was beginning, and the more moderate members of the Convention, who disapproved his policy and at the same time trembled for their safely, suddenly got control of affairs, and put him to death. So ended the Reign of Terror, in July, 1794. Then the Con- Jacobsins control the Convention
vention proceeded to finish its constructive work, which in after days came to be seen as the most important work that it did.
The National or Constituent Assembly, 1789-91, representing bourgeois interests, had destroyed the privileges of aristocracy, and given political rights to most of the people. The work of the National Convention, 1792-5, was mostly in the interests of the mass of the people, the lower classes, having to do principally with social and economic affairs. As the property of the church had been taken already, so now the lands of the emigrant nobles were confiscated by the state, and sold. At first they passed largely into the hands of speculators and a new body of large proprietors who were rising in the confusion of the moment. After a while, perhaps, some of these lands were bought in small holdings by the peasants. The principal result, as in so many other revolutions, was a mere transfer of property from an old to a new set of owners. Many of the new possessors were climbers, profiteers, aggressive agitators, men who were able to take gain from any upheaval in their times. Far more important was the acquisition of land and greater freedom by small proprietors and peasants. Of this there was much less in the French Revolution than there afterward was in the Russian Revolution of 1917. But in France long before 1789 much of the land was being acquired in small holdings by peasants who bought it and paid the price for it. Now, after the beginning of the Revolution, some more was obtained, and meanwhile the peasants had all been relieved of the seignorial obligations that irked them so much. Accordingly, there was a well-established body of thrifty peasants, independent and free, who in course of time became very obviously the backbone of the nation and the basis of its actual greatness. Thereafter they were the main conservative part of the nation. In 1789 they had risen against the seigneurs who held over them antiquated Reforms made by the Convention
The peasants and the land
and distasteful feudal rights; but when the feudal burdens had been removed by the National Assembly the grievances of the peasants were gone. After that radicalism was confined to the cities. So long as it seemed to the peasants that émigrés or reactionaries might undo the Revolutionary work and cause them to lose their lands or new freedom the peasants supported or endured the administration of Danton and Robespierre, just as in 1919 the Russian peasants rallied to some extent in support of the Bolsheviki. But the French country people soon turned away from the radicalism of Paris, and welcomed the more conservative rule of the Directory and the security which Napoleon gave. The socialist schemes of the Paris workingmen in 1848 and the communism of Paris in 1871 were overthrown largely because of the hostility of the small proprietors in the country.
A scheme of national education was prepared by the Convention, as well as a plan for making a uniform code or collection of the laws. These later on led to the free public school system which has been built up in France, and to Napoleon's celebrated Code. At this time also the Metric System was adopted. Furthermore, certain great principles were established, that there should be no slavery, that children should inherit almost equally from their parents, and that men should not be imprisoned for debt. The extremists did in addition try to bring to pass many strange and absurd things which involved a complete break with the sentiment and tradition of the past. Inevitably all of that soon came to an end, and was afterward remembered only with wonder and derision. Reforms begun
Meanwhile, the reaction, already perceptible, continued. After Robespierre, the Convention came presently under control of the bourgeoisie again. A new constitution was drafted, and became effective in 1795. According to this so-called Constitution of the Year III the executive was to be the Directory, a committee of five, chosen Constitution of the Year III by the legislature. The legislative consisted of two houses chosen by electors with property qualifications. Against this government the National Guard of Paris rose in the insurrection of the Thirteenth Vendémiaire, but was easily dispersed. The Directory, the government of the new middle-class republic, endured for four years. During this time France endeavored to hold off her enemies and complete the work of reconstruction. At last in 1799, by the Coup d'Etat, or sudden stroke of state, of Brumaire 18th and 19th, it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte and those associated with him. The Directory, 1795-9
Often it has been said that the French Revolution now came to an end. It did not seem so at the time, and modern scholars declare that Napoleon and his associates saved it from reaction and destruction, and made possible carrying it forward still further. The days of extreme social radicalism and the Terror had definitely ceased, and already many of the most extreme changes had been undone. But the best work of the Revolution was secure. Some of the worst abuses and obsolete things of the Old Régime had been permanently ended. Liberty, fraternity, and equality, the watchwords of the reformers, had been given to a great many of the people of France in larger measure than ever before in the history of the world. Against a host of enemies the Revolutionists had made their cause good and saved their work. Bloodshed, violence, and horrible deeds had been done, but these things, if the most spectacular and longest remembered, were later seen to be but part of what took place at this time. Some of those who had seized upon power had acted like savages or brutal tyrants, but most of the reformers, even when their methods and ideals were mistaken, had honestly tried to work for the good of the mass of the people. That some of their work was impossible, and much of it too radical and far in advance of the time, and so destined soon to be overthrown by natural reaction, is evident. The work of the Revolution secure
But large gains had been made for the middle and lower classes in France; the work would be carried into all lands adjacent and leave permanent results there; it would serve for ages as an encouragement everywhere for men who wished for things better. The great Results
Nous sommes maîtres du monde.
- NAPOLEON to ROEDERER, December 1, 1800.
[It] would sink me in final despair of ever living to see prosperity or liberty again in any part of Europe . . . the military empire might last ages, before its discipline degenerated; and ages more of darkness and idleness might protract the shame and misery of Europe.
- Letter of FRANCIS HORNER to JAMES LOCH, July 8, 1808.
Stir un écueil battu par la vague plaintive, Le nautonier, de loin, voit blanchir sur la rive Un tombeau près du bord par les flots déposé;
Ici gît . . . point de nom! demandez à la terre! Ce nom, il est inscrit en sanglant caratère Des bords du Tanaïs au sommet du Cédar. . . . LAMARTINE, "Bonaparte," Seconds Méditations Poétiques ( 1848).
IN 1768 Corsica, a mountainous island south of France west from the Italian coast, long subject to Genoa, but inhabited by Italian-speaking people who ardently wanted independence, became a possession of France. A little later, next year, was born there Napoleon Bonaparte ( 1769-1821). His people were of good standing in the island and of noble descent; his mother a woman of strong character and remarkable ability. The boy was precocious and early showed promise of unusual qualities. He was sent to France for military education, and just before the Revolution he was sub-lieutenant in an artillery regiment. He first gained distinction at Toulon in 1793, when his sagacity led to the capture of a dominating height and the withdrawal of the British fleet. He became The rise of Napoleon Bonaparte more important two years later when he took part in dispersing the crowd which had risen to overthrow the Convention. In 1796 he made an advantageous marriage, and about the same time was appointed to command the French armies in Italy.
War was still going on with England. Austria and Sardinia ( Savoy). The French had occupied Belgium, German territory to the Rhine, and Nice and Savoy in the south. Spain and Prussia had given up the conflict; Russia was far off and occupied with other affairs. But it was probable that England would not make peace while Belgium was in French possession, nor Austria while France kept her Netherlands and retained German and Italian territory which she considered herself bound to protect. The Directory found it no easy task to reduce such powerful foes. England could not be reached, but they planned to attack Austria by sending an army over the Rhine through the south German lands, while a second force was to defeat the Austrians in Italy and then strike northeastward toward Vienna. The latter plan was suggested by Napoleon himself. France against the First Coalition
The efforts to crush Austria by crossing the Rhine came to nothing; but meanwhile the young commander, infusing wondrous spirit into his republican soldiers, and at once getting the respect and loyal assistance of the older generals beneath him, took his force into northwest Italy, and, establishing his communications firmly, moved on against the Austrian forces. The campaign which followed is one of the classics of military art, and one of Napoleon's foremost achievements. He laid siege to Mantua, the great fortress which was the base of Austria's power. Four times did superior Austrian armies attempt to relieve it. Each time, moving with marvellous rapidity and superb judgment, he caught the hostile armies divided, and defeated the parts with his superior numbers, until at last Mantua surrendered. Then the French, after arranging Napoleon's Italian campaign, 1797 matters in Italy to suit them, crossed the mountains into Austrian territory, and soon came within a hundred miles of Vienna. In October 1797 the Peace of Campo-Formio was made. France kept Belgium and organized part of north Italy as a republic; in exchange Bonaparte gave to the Austrians the old and independent state of Venice. The war on the continent thus came to a close. Except for England the great coalition had been dissolved by victorious France. Her "natural" frontiers had been established, and she had partly displaced Austria as dominant power in the Italian peninsula. Treaty of CampoFormio
In the next few years Bonaparte was to establish his reputation as one of the greatest of all generals and one of the most eminent rulers and administrators in the annals of the world. He was small of stature, pale of countenance, not handsome, but with splendid forehead, nose, and mouth, and with eyes that looked into the depths of things kind awed the souls of men. He had marvellous strength of intellect, vast will-power and force of character. He was possessed of amazing endurance, could do with little sleep, and quickly acomplish results which took ordinary people a long time. He was infinitely laborious and careful and able to get entire mastery of great masses of detail; but he had in addition those qualities of mind by which some men read the heart of a matter and know the real meaning of things. While not without passion and emotion, he lived much in a world of his own, apart from and above ordinary men and the morality and the law which ruled them. He regarded himself as superior to mankind, and could play with the lives and destinies of innumerable men, without thought of their sufferings or desire, intent only on the grand schemes which he had in his mind. He was a wonderful organizer and administrator, great in civil affairs and in matters of government and law; but it was by means of his military greatness that he raised himself, and it was always because of his ex- Bonaparte's appearance and character
Superiority and aloofness
ploits in war that he was best known to the men of his time.
Bonaparte's military eminence arose from clearly understanding and first making use of new factors which had slowly developed in the art of war. He did not himself originate vast changes in military art; nor did he, like Julius Caesar, invent new methods and devices for the different crises which developed; so that in the end when his enemies had mastered his methods, they overpowered him with superior resources. Military Greatness
Military methods and devices had long been changing. In the sixteenth century slow moving bodies of infantry, armed with pikes, and cavalry made up the armies. During the seventeenth century cavalry long continued to be the principal force, though infantry was always indispensable; but at last infantry came to be the more important arm of the two. By that time foot soldiers fought with firearms, but these weapons were clumsy and slowly discharged, and artillery was unwieldy and ineffective. Therefore armies marched slowly; maneuvers were deliberate; strategy was usually cautious; the forces were drawn up in intricate and difficult arrangement; battles were often indecisive; and wars long drawn out. During the eighteenth century a series of changes was bringing about fundamental alteration. Firearms were so perfected that a shot could be fired a minute, and later on field artillery was made much lighter and far more effective. The result of this was that whereas formerly all parts of the army had been kept close together in one great body for protection, since the musketeers of Wallenstein's time with their ineffective muskets had to be protected from charging cavalry by dense masses of pikemen, now it was found that smaller bodies of infantry with their much more deadly guns could protect themselves or safely retreat from superior numbers, while artillery assumed an importance in offence never known before. Development of the art of war
In the eighteenth century
In all of these changes Frenchmen led the way; and by the latter part of the eighteenth century French military writers were advising, what some commanders were trying, that the old solid formations be broken up into smaller bodies to be moved more easily and quickly; that the old, slow, indecisive campaigns give way to rapid, daring, decisive action; that armies live on the country rather than go slowly in order to be accompanied by great supply trains; and that campaigns be won by strategy, by effective movements and combination, rather than the older device of slowly bringing up cumbersome forces. All of these things had been done by the Englishman, Marlborough, and the Prussian, Frederick the Great; though the old system lingered on among the commanders. But Bonaparte grasped clearly the enormous importance of artillery, he understood thoroughly the possibilities of infantry equipped with the modern arms, he studied the campaigns of the great captains, and mastered and elaborated their plans. He understood and applied the old and unchanging principles of strategy: to strike with superior force at the enemy where he is weakest, or to hold a position with inferior force while a crushing attack was being prepared for the enemy's flank or rear. He moved so rapidly that he could bring masses of men over different routes and concentrate them in overwhelming force upon an enemy who scarcely believed that his presence was possible. In the greater campaigns he was wont to leave tactics and local arrangements to subordinates, he himself working out the splendid moves and vast combinations of which great strategy consists. He was, in short, heir to the military excellence of France under the Old Régime and to the improvements which Frenchmen and others had long been working out; and he used this inheritance with the methods of the great captains and with the skill of a genius. Frenchmen and military art
But there were other things too which enabled him in the course of the next few years to build up an empire that threatened to subdue all of Europe. He was heir to the Assisted by the spirit of the Revolution French Revolution also. That change had swept away old encumbrances from France, aroused within her people intense loyalty and national spirit, and given to them an almost unconquerable enthusiasm and ardor. Against him were the old monarchies and empires, still clinging to outworn methods, with people not roused by any strong national spirit, and often without much spirit of resistance. When the Revolution had spent its force, and when Napoleon had established despotic rule, when nationality and patriotism and desire for a new order of their own had been put into the hearts of other peoples also, then they rose to make themselves free and Napoleon was soon overthrown.
In 1798, after Austria had yielded, Bonaparte struck an indirect blow at England. The Directory allowed him to take a powerful army to Egypt in order to conquer that country and then aim a stroke at India beyond. His great fleet of transports crossed the length of the Mediterranean, just missed by the British fleet under Nelson, and his army over Egypt with ease. But Nelson returned, and the French fleet was destroyed at Aboukir, in the Battle of the Nile. With communications completely severed now, Napoleon gained further triumphs with dwindling forces; but knowing that all chance of real success was gone, he abandoned his army and returned to France. There people thought more of the glory of his deeds than the failure of his expedition, and he continued to be the most popular person in the Republic. Expedition to Egypt
The Directory was not able to steer the state through the difficulties of the troublous time. There were royalists who wished to restore monarchy, and radicals who wished to equalize wealth and abolish poverty. Finances were dishonestly managed and corrupt politicians amassed sudden wealth, while the wars took great sums of money, until presently the issues of paper money became so vast as to make the paper worthless, and the state was bankrupt. Moreover, the policy of extending the power of The Directory and the Second Coalition
France and the influence of the Revolution was continued. Along the frontiers of France, from Holland down through Switzerland and on into Italy, was founded a series of republics, modelled on France and allied with her, so that again the fears and dislike of the great powers were aroused. In 1799 the Second Coalition was formed, consisting of Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and lesser states. That year the Coalition was almost everywhere triumphant, and when Bonaparte returned the French had been driven from Italy and the dependent republics had fallen to pieces. France was defeated and seemingly at the end of her resources. For the feeble Directory now the people had only contempt. Therefore, in November Napoleon, supported by troops, easily overthrew it by a coup d'état. He and two men controlled by him were appointed consuls and given the task of making a new constitution. The Second Coalition overthrown
Then he struck the enemies abroad. A powerful army under Moreau crossed the Rhine and won the great battle of Hohenlinden in Bavaria. Meanwhile Bonaparte had descended into Italy again and overwhelmed the Austrians at Marengo, one of the most splendid of his triumphs. Accordingly, Austria made the Peace of Lunéville early in 1801. She recognized the French conquests in Belgium and along the Rhine, as well as the dependent republics. Russia also dropped out of the war, and on the continent the Coalition now dissolved. Great Britain, left alone, could not greatly harm France, and the French could not attack the English until they had built tip a powerful new fleet. Both sides were weary of the conflict. So, early in 1802, peace was made by the Treaty of Amiens, by which England gave up many of the conquests she had made in the colonies, while France made some small concessions. The arrangement was not satisfactory, and was afterward seen to have given merely a breathing-spell while a mightier duel was prepared for. Treaty of Amiens
Meanwhile in 1800, the Constitution of the Year VIII had been put into effect. A strong government was erected. The executive was vested in a First Consul assisted by two others. The First Consul was not only at the head of administrative work, foreign affairs, and the army, but he was in effect to initiate legislation as well, and appoint all the principal officials. The legislative branch was only a shadow. There was to be manhood suffrage, but the voters were to choose one tenth of their number, who were to choose a tenth of themselves, and those so chosen were then to choose a tenth; by which time there would be some five thousand "National Notables" chosen indirectly out of the 5,000,000 Frenchmen who had the franchise. From the list thus obtained a senate, appointed by the First Consul, was to choose members of two lower branches, a tribunate and a legislative body. Actually, the legislature was to consist of four parts: a council of state to prepare legislation proposed by the executive; a tribunate to discuss; a legislative body to vote thereupon; and a senate with power of veto. As a result of this arrangement Bonaparte, the First Consul, became almost complete master of France. Local selfgovernment, which had been established by the Constitution of 1791, but which made administration less effective, was now made entirely subordinate to the central authority; for all the local executives were to be appointed by the First Consul. The result was an exceedingly efficient government, but Frenchmen, who had been attempting to establish self-government, and who had first to learn it really in the smaller units where they lived, now lost the opportunity to put it on a firm and real foundation in their local affairs. Constitution of the year VIII
In the midst of the war Bonaparte had turned to great constructive tasks, in some of which he completed the work of the French Revolution, while in others he established firmly his despotic rule. The finances, whose evil condition had done so much to make possible the Revolu- Financial reforms tion and afterward brought the Directory to its end, were put on a sound basis; expenditures were reduced, care and economy practised, and in 1800 the Bank of France founded to be the center of French finance. Next year, after most skilful negotiation, an arrangement, or concordat, was made between the pope and the Republic, the pope concurring in the suppression of the monasteries and the taking of church property, Bonaparte agreeing that the priests should be paid by the state; the priests were to be appointed by the bishops, the bishops being appointed by the state but confirmed by the pope. By this Concordat of 1801, which lasted until 1905, the Catholic Church in France became a subordinate part of the government of the land. The Concordat of 1801 with Rome
Important also was the codification of the law. Under the Old Régime there had been many legal systems in different parts of France, discrepant and confusing. There were, moreover, numerous laws, many of them now obsolete. It was very desirable to reduce what was best and most important into one collection, simple enough to be easily used and understood, and uniform for all the country. This had been undertaken in the time of the Convention; now it was carried forward to completion. With the help of legal experts and advisers Napoleon mastered the subject himself, and impelled them on to reduce to simple form the vast mass of detail, so that in four months the thing was largely done. In 1804 appeared the Civil Code, which was afterward followed by others. Altogether they are known as the Code Napoléon. They were not only simple enough to be easily used and useful, but attractive in form. Based on the Civil Law of Rome, which had been the foundation of the French legal system, they embodied also much of the best work of the Revolution, such as equality of inheritance and equality before the law, arrest only for cause, trial by jury, and personal freedom. Sanctity of private property, power of the father, in- The law
feriority of woman, were all recognized, and the Code has accordingly been condemned in later days by socialist and feminist advocates. But it embodied the best of what the Revolution had brought, along with the excellence of the Roman Law; and therefore it endured in France, and was soon adopted in most of those parts of Europe where the Roman Law previously had prevailed.
Finally, the system of education which had been planned under the Convention was carried into effect. Avowedly, elementary schools were to be established in every part of the country, though Bonaparte seems to have cared little about educating the great body of the people. Higher up were grammar schools, high schools or lycées, technical and other schools, and finally at the top was the University of France. This system was entirely under the control of the government, for Bonaparte wished that the schools should teach only what the government desired. In this he was largely successful, so far as his system of education was established; but actually he could not bring about much of what he planned because it was difficult to get the teachers. Accordingly, instruction of most of the children continued for a long time to be given in private schools controlled by the church. Education
He was zealous in developing the resources of France and constructing great public works. Harbors were improved, naval bases fortified and enlarge, highways constructed and great military roads prepared, canals bettered and extended, and marshes drained. The great palaces built in the Old Régime were beautified and restored, and in Paris splendid avenues and fine buildings were constructed. Hitherto Venice and Rome had been the pleasure-capitals of Europe, but now they began to be displaced by Paris, which gradually attained a supremacy never afterward lost. Internal improvements
This constructive and peaceful work was Bonaparte's greatest achievement, but while he lived, certainly outside The position of France of France, it was almost lost to sight amid the continued and terrible wars which marked his era. In 1802 France was the mightiest power in the world. All of her enemies had been defeated or forced to make peace, and she had got territory which she had been striving to obtain for hundreds of years. It would be now the work of a great statesman to keep peace, above all things, and try to retain what had been so fortunately won. That was what Frederick of Prussia had achieved in the later portion of his reign, and it was afterward the achievement of Bismarck. In this task Bonaparte failed. In 1803 France and England were at war again. During the next twelve years with scarcely any intermission, French armies swept over Europe, the European powers rose against France in one coalition after another, some millions of men were killed or disabled, and in the end France, overwhelmed, lost not only what Bonaparte had gained for the moment but also the magnificent conquests of the Revolution. Afterward it appeared to men that his greatest error was failure to give France time to consolidate what she had gained. It would seem, however, that his failure, while partly due to faults of his character, was also owing to causes which he could not control. Bonaparte's task
He was, indeed, filled with ambition and a feeling of superiority to others. He believed that from himself greater and better things were to come. Also he loved war and the greatness that conquerors have. Moreover, his power in France rested on no hereditary or legitimate right, then all-important, but solely on his own great achievements. He had come to power when France was in confusion and the country beset by its foes. In 1802 the people voted to make him First Consul for life. Two years later, after another plébiscite in his favor, in Notre Dame, in the presence of the pope, he crowned himself Emperor of the French. But as peace and prosperity returned, opponents would almost certainly question his His position
Napoleon I, emperor 1804
right, unless the attention of the people were fastened upon other things. So, he found it almost necessary to embark in foreign wars and win great victories in order to maintain his position in Paris.
But there was also another side. At the end of his life, in exile, he declared he had wished for peace but that his enemies would not let him have it. In that there may be much truth. It must be remembered that what had recently happened in France had overturned the old balance of power and given an inconceivably rude blow to the old order of things in all places near by. Usually most men and women are conservative, holding to the things to which they have long been accustomed, and not willing to make more than slight reform and gradual changes. In France there had just been immense changes, which came as a shock to all the conservative people in Europe; and while in the beginning liberal people everywhere sympathized with the reforms which Frenchmen were making, everywhere established interests and upper classes, vested right and conservative instinct, were against them. Then when presently the excesses of the Terror were spoken of with loathing in every European country, great numbers of people went gradually over to those who were already opposed to what was happening in France. And finally, when French influence and power became greater than ever they had been before, it was not only the wealthy, the upper, and the governing classes, seeing Europe threatened by ideas subversive of all that they cherished, who were hostile to the French Republic, but a great many others who beheld Europe endangered now by a new French empire which bade fair to become so powerful that it could overthrow all other states. Hostility not to be avoided
Europe hostile to the Revolution
In this posture of affairs it would have been the first task of a statesman to act with such moderation and care that the greatest of his opponents, like Austria and England, would have waited at least. Perhaps the other Necessity of great moderation powers might have been brought in course of time to accept a France more powerful than ever before. Perhaps Napoleon would have failed despite his best efforts, but it was the first premise of wise policy to do everything to keep the peace at least until he had built up a navy with which he might have some chance to contest on the seas with Great Britain. He did indeed begin to do this but when Englishmen saw the greatest power that had existed on the Continent for a hundred years in possession of Belgium, which for ages they had dreaded to see in the hands of any strong state, and beheld Napoleon busily scheming to obtain a colonial empire in the West Indies, in Louisiana, and in the East, and apparently intriguing to get still more power in Europe, they became suspicious and hostile, and refused to carry out the stipulations of the Treaty of Amiens about surrendering the island of Malta. Then Napoleon openly prepared for the contest, and in May, 1803, Great Britain declared war upon him. France And Great Britain
He proposed to destroy England by cutting off her commerce with the Continent, upon which he believed her strength to be founded, and taking a great army into England itself. In north France an army was prepared for the stroke. Afterward men believed that this was merely a feint to deceive other foes, but there is little doubt that the invasion was really intended. "All the ills and curses which can afflict mankind come from London," said Napoleon; and he rightly understood that conquest of England must precede the lasting peace which he wanted to make. His plan, indeed, was much like that of the Germans, more than a hundred years later; to overthrow the British government, and establish an independent republic in Ireland, and he said that he would set free the mass of the people in England. But his design came to nothing, for he never got control of the narrow stretch of waters from Boulogne to Dover; and because of the British ships, England, though in sight, remained out of reach. Attempted invasion of England
Thus in 1804 and 1805, as in the years from 1914 to 1918, Britain was saved by her mastery of the sea.
But other enemies were reached and struck down. Austria was goaded on to war. All the while Pitt, the British prime minister, was trying to bring about another alliance against France. In 1805 the Third Coalition was formed of Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Sweden. Then Napoleon turned with lightning stroke. Suddenly he moved his army from the Channel, the most powerful army assembled for ages, moved along the new military roads he had made, rushed across western Germany, captured a great Austrian army at Ulm, occupied Vienna, and then when the Russians, too late, came up to assist their ally, totally defeated combined Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz, a village in Moravia, ( December 1805). Austria was bowed to the dust. By the Treaty, of Presburg she ceded territory containing 3,000,000 of her subjects, and was left cut off and excluded from Italy and the Rhine. If she were kept thus, then one of the greatest of Napoleon's enemies was finally removed. The Third Coalition
His crowning triumph
But on October 21st, the day after the Austrians surrendered at Ulm, the French and the Spanish warships encountered the British fleet, under Lord Nelson, greatest of English admirals, off Cape Trafalgar, not far from Cadiz. On that day Nelson, who lost his life, was able to fulfil his maxim that the enemy must be annihilated, not merely defeated. He destroyed French sea-power, and removed from Britain all further danger of invasion. In the years of the long struggle which followed, French privateers preyed terribly on British commerce, and French warships were got together again; but never afterward during that time was British supremacy really challenged. This was, indeed, the most decisive victory of the war. After Trafalgar Napoleon could never hope to reach England, and by no other device was he ever to defeat her. Great Britain by herself was not able to overthrow Napoleon. England keeps controll of the sea
Trafalgar the turning point
but she was the indispensable part of the opposition to him. Not long after 1805 Napoleon had defeated every Continental power that had dared to oppose him, and brought into alliance with him all the others. It often seemed then that he never could be overthrown. But through all these days England remained unconquered and out of his reach, and, having encouraged his enemies and given them assistance whenever they dared to oppose him, in the end she took a memorable part in humbling his power. That she was able to do this was owing to Nelson's victory at Trafalgar.
Meanwhile Napoleon went on to new triumphs. Prussia was reckoned a strong military state, though actually her war power was now in decay. Before Austerlitz she had threatened to join the Coalition, and at that time, with Napoleon in Vienna, far front his base, her accession might have been fatal to him. Now in 1806, when it was really too late, site declared war upon France. At once Napoleon sprang upon his prey. In October Prussian military power was laid in the dust at Jena and Auerstädt, all the Prussian fortresses were captured, and Berlin was taken. He then went forward against the Russians advancing, and occupied Warsaw. Early in 1807, in East Prussia, a terrible battle was fought in the midst of blinding snow-storms at Preussisch-Eylau, where the French suffered heavy loss and gained nothing. But in June the Russians were caught at a disadvantage at Friedland in East Prussia, and there they were utterly shattered. Russia had scarcely been touched yet, and after events were to show that her vast extent made her unconquerable until modern means of transportation had altered all warfare, yet the disaster of Friedland profoundly discouraged the Tsar, Alexander I. He sued for peace, and meeting Napoleon, concluded the Treaty of Tilsit. The Fourth Coalition, 1806-7: England, Prussia, Russia, Sweden
By this treaty the Fourth Coalition was broken to pieces. Prussia lost half her territory. Her part of Poland was The Treaty of Tilsit, 1807 erected into the (Grand Duchy of Warsaw, thus making in east central Europe a new state dependent on France. A crushing indemnity was levied on Prussia, and she was forbidden to have an army of more than 42,000 men. Thus she was put from the rank of great powers. Russia lost almost nothing. She entered into an understanding with France by which British goods were to be excluded from ports under her control, but she had permission to do as she would with Turkey, from whom she desired territory, and with Sweden, from whom she wished to get Finland. Only Britain and Sweden now remained at war with France. In 1808-9 the Russians took Finland; and presently Sweden made peace with France, accepting one of Napoleon's generals as her king.
Napoleon was now the most powerful ruler in Europe since Charlemagne, and the French Empire was greater by far than the dominions once ruled by Charles V or Louis XIV. Throughout the Empire and in most of the dependent states excellent reforms were made. The French Revolution now really came into the lands surrounding France. Serfdom and feudal rights were abolished, the Code Napoléon was introduced, with civil equality and freedom from the old burdens, and, as had been the case in France, old cumbersome restrictions were swept away, justice made simpler and easier to obtain, and government much more efficient. Especially were the results notable in northern Italy and the German lands. But a heavy price was paid for it all. Even in France, where there was now much prosperity and material progress, great glory and large renown, Napoleon's rule was a despotism partly supported by his army and partly by innumerable policemen and spies. From the neighboring and subject lands his family and his generals amassed great fortunes; vast sums of money were taken in contributions and taxes, and the best of the young men claimed as conscripts for his army. Finally the continued wars and The Napoleonic Empire: reforms
the blockade by England brought increasing confusion and hardship.
This power, which had been constructed with the utmost ability, had none the less been erected by force, and only by strength and force could it be maintained. It had been possible because of the fervor of the French Revolution in the first place, and because of the division and mistakes of the adversaries of France. Slowly they had learned in the school of adversity, and even now in the days of their utmost degradation causes were at work which were destined in no very long time to lay low all the structure which Napoleon had reared. Maintained by force
But in 1809 contemporaries, perhaps, could discern nothing of all this, and the outlook seems to have appeared hopeless. Only Great Britain, behind her barrier of warships, remained unconquered and not despairing, though often, as her people sustained the unending struggle, they must have reflected that across the Channel was the military despotism which had defeated all the enemies it had reached, and that some day, perhaps, with the resources of the Continent, Napoleon might assemble overwhelming sea-power, after which nothing could save them. But always they fought on unyielding, and in the end it was found that their resources, based on commercial supremacy and their new industrial development, were equal to the task set before them. Apparently not to be overthrown
The downfall of Napoleon was due very largely to the efforts he made to conquer England. Her navy protected her from military subjugation, but he believed that destruction of her commerce would entail her defeat, and he endeavored to shut her off from trading with Europe. He had tried to do this in 1801, but it was definitely carried out in the Berlin Decree ( 1806) and the Milan Decree ( 1807) and the Decree of Fontainebleau ( 1810), by which successively he ordered that British ships should not be permitted to trade with the Continent, that neutral Attempted blockade of Great Britain ships bringing British goods should be seized, and that imported British goods should be publicly burned. To this policy Britain replied with the Orders in Council of 1807, declaring liable to capture all ships trading with France and her allies. Thus the two tried to blockade each other.
British sea-power ruined the commerce of France and those countries that followed Frence dictates. Napoleon's decrees wrought enormous loss to British trade, but they never caused her to break down, and indeed they could only be partly enforced. Numerous exceptions were authorized by Napoleon himself, so great was the need of things which could only be bought from Britain. In the end the principal result of Napoleon's attempts was to alienate profoundly some of the European people whose commerce he ruined, and then involve him in ruinous enterprises--as with Spain and with Russia--to enforce his blockade. Disastrous results
In 1807 Napoleon proposed to debar England from Portugal and the harbors of Spain. For some years Spain had acted as a vassal of France, but Portugal had long been bound closely to England by the Methuen trade agreement. He now demanded that Portugal adhere to his Continental System, and, when she refused, got permission from Spain to send an army through that country to Lisbon. Portugal was easily overrun, but it then became apparent that he was determined to acquire Spain also. French troops filled the country, the king and his son were made to abandon their rights to the emperor, and Napoleon thereupon put his brother Joseph on the throne. But now began a rising of the proud Spanish people, in whom this insolent taking of their country awakened the spirit of national resistance. England came to their aid, and under Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards duke of Wellington, the small British army found in the restricted field of Portugal and Spain a chance for success- Conquest of Spain
The Peninsular War
ful operations. The French were unable to destroy the British in Portugal, who stood behind strong fortifications and were based upon the British fleet. In Spain the mountains and the rivers, as well as scantiness of resources for the invader to live on, made it exceedingly difficult for the French to carry on such campaigns as they were accustomed to wage. Some 300,000 of Napoleon's best troops were locked up in the peninsula and largely destroyed in the heart-breaking struggle which followed.
Elsewhere for a while Napoleon's power seemed to increase. In 1809 Austria again declared war. Napoleon hurried from Spain, through which he had just swept in triumph, and, striking with terrible swiftness, drove back the Austrians from Bavaria and again took their capital, Vienna. But he had not destroyed the Austrian army, and attempting to cross the Danube at Aspern he came near to suffering a total defeat. In July, however, he won the battle of Wagram, and again Austria made peace. By the Treaty of Vienna she lost more of her territory and population, and promised not to maintain an army of more than 150,000 men. Shortly, after, Napoleon annulled his marriage with his wife Josephine, who had borne him no heir, and in 1810 married a daughter of the emperor of Austria. The Fifth Coalition, 1809: Austria and England
In 1810 Napoleon's empire was at its zenith. Spain did not yet seem dangerous, and Russia was friendly. On the Continent all his enemies had been defeated. To France had been annexed the Netherlands, German territory to the Rhine, northwestern Italy, and Austria's Adriatic coast. The remainder of Italy, Spain, all western and central Germany in the Confederation of the Rhine, and the Grand Duchy of Warsaw were under Napoleon's protection. Austria and Prussia remained humbled and diminished. The Empire at its zenith
But in this vast empire, which controlled all western and central Europe, the forces of dacay were at work. The national revival which was making Spaniards give up all Forces of decay and destruction rather than surrender, was stirring also in the German countries. In Prussia they were making reforms and schooling themselves for the day of deliverance hoped for. Indeed circumstances now were doing for the German people the wondrous work which some years before had been accomplished in France, and this was taking place at a time when among the French in the midst of prosperity and greatness the Revolutionary feelings were losing their force. Once France had defended herself from Europe by a national rising of her people, but now with her yoke heavy on others the armies of Napoleon were composed largely of conscript soldiers, whom other peoples were compelled to provide. These levies were wonderfully disciplined and drilled, and they won great victories for him, but no longer was it possible for his armies to be animated by the feelings that once filled the people of France. Moreover, Napoleon was not as before. He had raised up many a man of ability to be a marshal or great assistant, and thus surrounded himself with very capable assistants; but in these later years he was much less inclined to take their advice, and came at last to rely almost altogether on himself. Decline of Revolutionary ardor
The accord with Russia was slowly breaking to pieces. Russia was almost entirely an agricultural state, dependent for industrial products and foreign wares upon commerce with others, especially England. The Continental System, which Napoleon had persuaded the tsar to uphold, worked increasing hardship on the Russian people, and as the years passed it was partly abandoned. To Napoleon enforcement of the blockade against Britain was still allimportant, and at the beginning of 1812 he prepared to conquer Russia and thus definitely complete his system in Europe. For this mighty task he collected the greatest army ever brought together in Europe, and the most powerful force, perhaps, which up to that time had ever been assembled. To his French veterans were added Discord between Russia and France contingents from the subject and vassal states, until he had ready for the adventure 600,000 men and more than 1,000 cannon.
In June a great part of Napoleon's forces, the Grande Armée, crossed the Niemen River into Russia. He hoped to meet the Muscovite hosts and destroy them on some memorable field. But Kutusov, the cautious Russian commander, steadily retreated, avoiding battle, ever luring his enemy forward. In September Napoleon gained the terrible, empty victory of Borodino. Both sides suffered fearful losses, but the Russian army retreated undestroyed. A month later he entered Moscow, the old capital of Russia, in triumph; but the enemy did not sue for peace as he hoped, and Napoleon now found himself far in the depths of a hostile country, separated from his base of operations by a thousand miles, half of it the dreary plain of Lithuania and Great Russia. Furthermore, on the night of the entry, Moscow was burned and partly destroyed. Then while the Russian army watched from near by the peasants rose up in wrath to harass what remained of Napoleon's forces, and soon he had to withdraw. The retreat which followed was one of the most awful episodes in military history. The greater part of the Grand Army had been dissipated before Moscow was reached, but most of what was left perished horribly in the fearful march through the snows and the storms of the Russian winter which soon came on. Not more than 50,000 of all the host which had set forth came back to the German frontier, and they came as miserable, stricken men. It was evident that the best and greatest part of Napoleon's strength had been lost in the vastness of Russia. Invasion of Russia, 1812
In December Russia, Great Britain, Sweden, and Prussia began the Sixth Coalition against France. In January, 1813 the emperor of Russia crossed his frontier and promised liberation to the European peoples. At once the Prussians rose in a great national movement, and the The Sixth Coalition other German states began to waver. Napoleon assembled another army, but the forces being gathered against his own dwindling strength were too great to be overthrown, and the victories which he gained at Lützen and Bautzen were not decisive. Austria now tried to intervene, suggesting that Napoleon abandon his arrangements in central Europe, but he would hear of no compromise, and when the armistice came to an end Austria joined the coalition against him. In August the Austrians were badly defeated at Dresden, but again Napoleon failed to destroy his foe. Then in October the issue was decided at the great "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig, where at last he was completely defeated. He struggled across the Rhine with a remnant of his army, and Germany was free. Napoleon defeated
He might still have got terms that now seem very good. He might have kept the "natural boundaries" of France, the Rhine, the Alps, the Pyrenees, if elsewhere he had abandoned his system. This would have left France with more than Louis XIV had ever been able to keep, but Napoleon refused. Afterward historians condemned him as a desperate gambler in scorning such terms and staking all on trial by combat. But in truth, since his power had been reared on military triumph, the acceptance of such terms, whatever benefit France might have got, would certainly have involved his own ruin. So he refused, and made ready to defend France with such scanty forces as he still could assemble, for not only was France weakened, but there was now no great rising of the French people as there had been in Revolutionary days. Refuses any compromise
The campaigns of 1814 showed Napoleon still at the height of his military skill, but against the overwhelming forces brought upon France nothing could avail. When he rejected harder terms than had been offered previously, Great Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Austria made the Treaty of Chaumont ( March 1814), by which they concluded an alliance and promised not to halt until Napoleon Napoleon at bay was completely overthrown. In the end they overwhelmed his forces and captured Paris. At last he abdicated, and was given the little island of Elba, near Italy, in the Mediterranean.
The Allies placed a younger brother of Louis XVI on the throne as Louis XVIII. Then Napoleon, restless in his insignificant state, and believing that his enemies were now too divided to act in unison against him, suddenly, in March 1815, returned to France, and with his matchless magnetism, and through the old renown which still remained to him, won all who were sent to oppose him. He would for the moment have chosen peace, but the Great Powers, whose representatives were wrangling at the Congress of Vienna recently assembled, at once forgot all their differences, and assembled their forces to destroy him. Napoleon got together a superb army of 200,000 men-largely his old veterans, who, until the peace, had been captive in other lands--and at once took the field. In June, after some brilliant but indecisive strokes, the matter came to final decision at Waterloo, not far from Brussels in Belgium. There throughout a long day the French artillery wrought havoc in the ranks of an army of Englishmen, Dutchmen, and others under Wellington, and the French horsemen dashed themselves again and again at the enemy's lines. About evening the Prussians came up to assist, and then the French army, which had been terribly shattered in the struggle, fled from the field in total rout, and Napoleon's power was definitely ended. The "Hundred Days"
He surrendered to the British, and was presently sent to the remote, lonely island of St. Helena, off the southwest African coast, a thousand miles out in the ocean. There for six years he lived on, eating his heart out in exile, and appearing, when men could forget the misery he had caused, one of the most pathetic figures in history. He had put himself above mankind, and they put him forth from among them. St. Helena
It is still difficult to pass judgment. During his lifetime, he appeared as a mighty hero in France and to many people elsewhere, while in Prussia and in England men felt that he was a monstrous and terrible being. Not less than four million men in Europe were lost in the wars caused by his needs or ambitions. In his own day he was like the reincarnation of some war-god of old. Afterward Taine saw in him the last and greatest of the condottieri, those captains in Italy who made war their ambition and trade. For a while he was hated by those who had overthrown him; but presently with the lapse of time there was a glamour of romance about his name, and often his statecraft and military methods were studied and admired. Nowhere was this done more than in Germany, where a school of Prussian generals and writers openly proclaimed his greatness and their purpose of following his steps. When after 1914 they did this the world was horrified, and once more understood the real meaning of some of his deeds. Estimate of his career
There is another side to his achievements, which may be more, may be less than the evil, but is none the less of supreme importance. Whether without him the better achievement of the French Revolution could have been maintaind and defended sufficiently to fulfil its great mission we cannot now know. But certain it is that Napoleon helped to preserve it and spread its work over the central and southern lands. When he was gone, his conquerors could no longer undo the best that the Revolution had accomplished. They did try to reëstablish an old order, but it was very different from what prevailed in the previous era. After the reaction, revolutionary and progressive spirit flamed out successfully again, and the principles that men should more and more govern themselves, and that there should be an increasing measure of social, political, and civil equality, were in the next hundred years very largely established over part of Europe. These were not things which Napoleon had begun, and Napoleon and the French Revolution he had sympathized little with some of them; but after all he was a "child of the Revolution," and he had defended and saved it.
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA AND THE CONCERT OF EUROPE
Leurs Majestés l'Empereur d'Autriche, le Roi de Prusse, et l'Em- pereur de Rusie . . . ayant acquis la conviction intime, qu'il est nécessaire d'asseoir la marche à adopter par les Puissances dans leurs rapports mutuels sur les vérités sublimes que nous en- seigne l'éternelle Religion du Dieu Sauveur:
Déclarent solonnellement, que le présent Acte n'a pour objet que de manifester, à la face de l'Univers, leur détermination inébranlable de ne prendre pour règle de leur conduite . . . que les pré- ceptes de cette Religion Sainte--préceptes de justice, de charité et de paix qui, loin d'être uniquement applicables à la vie privée, doivent au contraire influer directement sur les résolutions des Princes, et guider toutes leurs démarches. . . .
- The Holy Alliance, 14-26 September, 1815
British and Foreign State Papers, iii. 211.
THE long struggle of the Revolution and Napoleonic Wars was followed by a general settlement, as the Thirty Years' War had been, and just as the World War which ended in 1918 afterward was to be. Enormous social and political changes had come to a great part of Europe, and the map of the Continent had been completely changed. Now with the Revolution subsided and the French Empire fallen to pieces the conquerors of Napoleon assembled to restore and rearrange and decide. It was a token of Austria's recovered power that the meeting was held in Vienna. The settlement 1814-15
Peace had already been made, May 30, 1814, by the Treaty of Paris. This treaty provided that within two months all the powers engaged on either side of the war The Congress of Vienna just concluded should send plenipotentiaries to Vienna "to settle at a general Congress the arrangements which are to complete the provisions of the present treaty." In September, 1814, there was the greatest and most gorgeous gathering held in Europe up to that time. The tsar of Russia, the emperor of Austria, the king of Prussia, and the kings of Bavaria, Würtemberg, and Denmark were present, along with the princes and rulers of smaller states, and the representatives of France and of England. Most important of all was Metternich, Austria's minister. There was in 1814, as in 1918, much feeling that the old era had come to an end, that vast changes had been made and were still to be made, that the world was to be better, that a golden era was near, and that after the horrible wars which had devastated Europe, there would now be perpetual peace.
Strictly speaking no congress was ever opened, and officially none existed. Actually, in the midst of long and magnificent festivities at Vienna, representatives of the various powers waited, while four great powers began to arrange in private meetings what was to be done, and there make the important decisions. Not only were the delegates of the lesser states thus excluded from the "Congress," but of the eight powers which had been parties to the Treaty of Paris, because of which the Congress assembled, two of them, Portugal and Sweden, were in the first place not invited to come to a preparatory meeting held at Metternich's house, while Spain was never permitted to participate in anything important. But France--because of the very dexterous diplomacy of her representative, Talleyrand, who took advantage of disputes between the four principal members--was soon admitted, and thereafter the work at Vienna was done by five powers: Great Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and France. In 1814 and 1815 at Vienna, as in 1918 and 1919 at Paris, those who wished the settlement made by all the powers interested Procedure
Position of France were obliged to see the decisions made in small secret meetings and determined only by the most powerful states. In both cases, perhaps, the work could have been done in no other way.
The most important part of the work had to do with territorial arrangements. The proper or "legitimate" sovereigns, who had been dethroned by Napoleon, were restored in Spain, in Holland, in southern Italy (the Two Sicilies), and in north Italy ( Sardinia-Piedmont); while the Pope and various German princes got back their lands, most of what Napoleon had taken away from Austria was restored to her, and Poland partitioned again. Great Britain kept various colonial possessions which she had taken--Malta, islands in the West Indies, Trinidad, British Honduras--and three possessions which had been taken from the Dutch: Ceylon, South Africa, and part of Guiana. In compensation, Holland had Belgium joined to her to form the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Before the Revolution Belgium had belonged to Austria; that power now got in compensation Lombardy and Venetia, while other small states in north Italy were left indirectly under her control. From Sweden Prussia got eastern Pomerania, last relic of Swedish conquests in the days of Gustavus Adolphus, while already Russia had taken the Duchy of Finland. In compensation Sweden got Norway, up to that time under Denmark's rule. The arbiters of Vienna deemed it well that France should have strong states adjoining her boundaries, so that she might not easily break forth again. It was partly for this reason that Holland had been enlarged by the addition of Belgium; it was for the same reason that Prussia, enlarged by a portion of Saxony, was given provinces west of the Rhine, as was Bavaria also. In these arrangements the nationalism aroused since 1789 was not so much as considered. Generally speaking, the diplomats at Vienna, like those at Berlin in 1878, altogether disregarded aspirations of the Territorial arrangements
Holding France in check
people. Norwegians and Swedes spoke different languages and had long gone different ways. Belgians and Dutch had been separate since the time of the struggle against Spain. The people of Italy were beginning to yearn for a united Italian nation, and the people of the German states, after their magnificent struggle against Napoleon, were more conscious than ever before of their German nationality and the miserable weakness of their age-long disunion. But the Italians were left separated, put under Bourbons and Hapsburgs, and Metternich exerted all his skill to keep the Germanies separate so that Austria might still rule by having them divided. Nationality disregarded
Some excellent and lasting work was accomplished. The Swiss Confederation was reëstablished with a guarantee of permanent neutrality, an agreement that thereafter European powers would not attack Switzerland or send their troops through her territory. This was the beginning of a series of neutralizations of small states which seemed to promise well, and did work well for a long time, until the violation of Belgian neutrality by the German Empire in 1914. Furthermore the navigation of rivers flowing through or between several European countries was declared free to all these countries. And finally the Congress declared that the slave trade should be abolished. Constructive achievement
This work was accomplished in the midst of disputes almost certain to break out during a general conference of nations; and it was in the midst of them that Napoleon returned from Elba and began his career of the "Hundred Days." The bitterest quarrel concerned what Russia and Prussia should have in Saxony and Poland. Russia came to an understanding with Prussia by which she agreed to assist her in trying to obtain Saxony, on condition that Russia have the part of Poland set up by Napoleon as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Austria resisted the arrangement, and was supported by England. She was Disagree- ment supported also by France, for it was largely by taking advantage of the dissensions growing out of this dispute that the skilful Talleyrand was able to get France admitted as one of the great powers in the inner deliberations at Vienna. In January 1815 Talleyrand brought about a secret alliance between Great Britain, Austria, and France to resist, if necessary, the plan of Prussia and Russia. Presently a compromise was made. Prussia got about two fifths of Saxony, and gave up all her Polish territory except West Prussia and Posen. Russia obtained nearly all that she asked for. What Austria had received in the old partitions of Poland, she kept; but Russia obtained most of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, to which was added some Polish territory already in her possession, all of which she erected into a kingdom of Poland under the tsar. She now extended farther into central Europe than previously, and during the course of the nineteenth century she was to exert more influence upon her neighbors and be a greater factor in European affairs than ever before. Her Polish territory protruded henceforth like a great salient or bastion in between the lands of Austria and Prussia, her neighbors and rivals. As long as she was dreaded for what was believed to be her mighty military power, her neighbors would always have to fear her Polish position; but when at last the matter was put to the test of war it would be seen that this protruding possession made it possible for them to deal her a mortal thrust. Meanwhile the Poles, mostly under Russia, but partly in Prussia and partly in Austria, were to yearn fondly for the old days when Poland had been independent, and look forward wistfully to some future day when independence might be restored. Talleyrand
These arrangements being concluded and presently ratified in the Final Act ( June 9, 1815), the leaders of the Congress proceeded to more general and more important considerations. Some of them desired that such measures Efforts for a lasting settlement should now be taken that there might be no more war; some believed that, the disorder of the Revolution being largely at an end, the desirable conditions that had just been established ought to be preserved by united action of the powers. Out of all this grew the attempts to have European affairs thereafter controlled by a Concert of Europe.
The sincerest and most far-reaching attempt to establish justice and maintain peace in European affairs was made by Alexander, Tsar of the Russias. This was the project, derided at the time and suspected afterward, which was known as the Holy Alliance. Circumstances had made the tsar appear as the savior of Europe, and he wished now to be the regenerator of the nations of his time. He loved to think of himself as a liberal, though he did not make, and doubtless could not make, much effort to apply liberalism in Russia. He dreamed much also of being able to abolish all war. In 1814 and 1815 many people hoped for this. It had been so before, after long and exhausting wars, and a century later it would be so again. Philanthropists like William Penn and philosophers like Emmanuel Kant had proposed plans by which war might be avoided, and from time to time statesmen and political writers had drawn up schemes. Two centuries before, during a lull in the long wars of religion, Queen Elizabeth of England had pondered upon such things, and her contemporary Henry IV had conceived of the "Grand Design," whereby, a general council of delegates from the powers of Europe should peaceably settle disputes. A century later, in 1713, after the exhausting struggle of the War of the Spanish Succession, a Frenchman, the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, suggested a league of nations whose members should settle their disputes by the arbitration of a general congress. Now in 1814 came the Tsar Alexander, filled with mystical yearning to make the world better and establish a lasting peace. The Holy Alliance, 1815
Earlier schemes for perpetual peace
For some years he had been attempting to win adherence to his ideas. Then, as afterward, men perceived the almost insuperable difficulties, and looked at the matter from the point of view of the old order, which the reform was designed to make better. Nevertheless, after Waterloo, when the triumphant Allies were in Paris, and when they were imposing upon France new and severer terms of peace, Alexander submitted to his particular allies, Austria and Prussia, a document containing his ideas, which they accepted. So, in the name of "the very holy and indivisible Trinity" the rulers of these three countries now proclaimed their fixed resolution to act solely in accordance with the precepts of justice, Christian charity, and peace, both in their own internal affairs and in their relations with other rulers. To this agreement the British government was unwilling to assent, since British statesmen considered the scheme to be visionary and vague, and because they objected to an agreement which would bind the contracting parties always to give each other aid and assistance, and which would establish things as they were, and obstruct desirable changes in the future. Alexander's design
Great Britain refuses assent
This Holy Alliance, as it was called, embodied rather the dream of the tsar than anything in the practical politics of the age. In the popular mind it was soon confused with the Quadruple Alliance, also concluded about that time. This latter, as will be seen, stood for perpetuating the status quo, the settlement made at Vienna, and upholding as much of the old order as had there been established; in short, for repression and reaction. So the Holy Alliance --which at the start received some sort of adherence from all the governments of Europe, except the Vatican and the Porte, but which was nevertheless derided by some and not seriously considered by others, and which from the start had almost no force--was regarded for a generation after that time as a symbol of tyranny, a device, hidden under religious guise, to keep European peoples from Effects of the Holy Alliance attaining the liberty and national development which they desired. And yet, we can see now that some of the objections made in 1815 were curiously like those made to the League of Nations in 1919; and that a hundred years ago a project for the betterment of relations between governments and applying better principles of morality to the conduct of states, failed largely because of the selfishness of diplomats and the imperfection of peoples.
An alliance of Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia had been made at Chaumont in 1814, by which the parties had pledged themselves to coöperate until Napoleon was completely overthrown. This union, had been threatened with dissolution at Vienna because of the quarrels over Saxony and Poland, but the reappearance of Napoleon had strengthened it again, and there seemed to be much necessity of retaining it to deal with any other effort which the French people might make against Europe. Accordingly, at Paris, November 20, 1815, the four powers signed a new treaty of alliance. Its avowed purpose was to employ concerted action against any further outbreak of Revolutionary principles, to secure the tranquillity of Europe by maintaining the settlement just made in France, and in the future to uphold the arrangements which its members had made. From the point of view of those who had made the arrangements it was most proper that they should do this. But since they represented the past much more than the future, and because their work, had it succeeded, would have fatally checked some of the most important movements of the nineteenth century, in after days when these great movements were accomplished, then the work of the statesmen who framed this alliance seemed baleful and inauspicious. The Quadruple Alliance 1815
In 1814 and 1815, as might have been expected, a full tide of reaction set in. Some small and dull leaders would have liked to put back things where they had been in 1789. Indeed, some ridiculous things were done, though Spirit of reaction in Europe they had but small, temporary effect. Little princes came back to their petty domains to set up what had been there before the Revolution and Napoleon drove them away. It was said of them and some others that they had "learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Vaccination and other "French improvements " made in late years were put aside; in north Italy serfdom was reëstablished; and in Spain and Rome the Inquisition once more appeared.
The statesmen and important rulers did not busy themselves with the accomplishing of such things, but they fully concurred in trying to set up firmly again what seemed wise, and normal and proper. All of them represented conservatism and a desire that there should be no further revolution and no more great change. They had long struggled against the French ideas, which had originally involved such innovations as equality of the people and government based on the people themselves, but which had degenerated into wild excesses, which had presently failed, which had then seemed to prepare the way for the rise of a great military despotism, and presently changed into a danger which had threatened to overthrow the rights of all the established governments in Europe. Now these governments had triumphed after a long and exhausting struggle, and they meant to make safe that which they regarded as best. Russia, Austria, and Prussia were autocracies in which the sovereign still ruled by divine right with unlimited power. France now had a constitution, but divine right remained and the spirit of the rulers was very conservative. England had long been a limited monarchy, but her government was in the hands of aristocracy and upper class, conservative, and very cautious, by instinct. It was therefore the desire of the leaders who made the Quadruple Alliance, and of France who was presently admitted into their councils, that the Revolutionary era be definitely ended, and that a great Conservatism of the leaders
Desire to conserve the old order
part of the previous order of things being now restored, no further revolutionary change should be allowed.
In this way developed the Concert of Europe, an agreement of the principal powers to work together for the management of European affairs. The sixth article of the treaty of alliance had provided that the high contracting parties should thereafter hold meetings from time to time to consider measures salutary for "the peace and prosperity of the nations, and for the maintenance of the peace of Europe." Four such meetings were held in the next eight years, and during the period 1815 to 1823 Europe was directed by the great powers acting in concert. The Concert of Europe
First was the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818. Little as the lesser powers liked a dictatorship and supremacy of the greater ones, this Congress was generally looked upon as the supreme council of Europe, and they brought many things before it for decision. Little difficulty was caused by what they submitted. Nor was there disagreement about evacuating France, nor admitting France into the Alliance, after which five great powers controlled Europe. But real differences soon developed. In order to break up the slave trade Great Britain proposed that the different states should have the right to search one another's ships at sea; this failed because the others were jealous of England's superior sea-power. On the other hand Great Britain successfully resisted Russia's proposal to maintain an international fleet to stamp out the Barbary pirates, since she had no trouble with them now herself, and wished to see no new naval power in the Mediterranean. The European states were no more willing to sacrifice their particular interests in 1818 than the United States in 1918 was willing to give up her Monroe Doctrine for the sake of a league of nations. Congress of Aix-laChapelle
The powers disagree
Two years later, a second congress was held at Troppau, in Austria, which was adjourned in the following year to Laibach, near by. In 1820 revolutions had broken out in
The Congresses of Troppau and Laibach
Spain and then in Naples against the reactionary sovereigns there. Ferdinand of Naples appealed for assistance, and Austria wished not only to intervene, but to have the sanction of the Allies in doing it. Metternich was greatly strengthened at this time by the adhesion of Alexander of Russia, who had formerly desired to be a liberal, but who was influenced now by certain events to join the forces of reaction. At Troppau, Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia were represented. There Metternich proposed his doctrine that the great powers should refuse to recognize as legal any changes brought about in a state by revolution, and should intervene to restore conditions which had been altered by revolutionary changes. Great Britain opposed this doctrine, but it was accepted by Russia, Austria, and Prussia, and embodied in the Protocol of Troppau: "States which have undergone a change of Government due to revolution, the results of which threaten other States, ipso facto cease to be members of the European Alliance. . . . If, owing to such alterations, immediate danger threatens other States, the Powers bind themselves, by peaceful means, or if need be by arms, to bring back the guilty State into the bosom of the Great Alliance." To such intervention England was strongly opposed, for conservative as her government was then, it was liberal compared with those of central and eastern Europe. Actually she was about to separate from the European Concert, and go her own course, while France, also comparatively liberal, was shortly to drift away from the Alliance also. But for the time being Metternich's ideas were carried out, for in 1821, after Ferdinand had been summoned to the Congress at Laibach, he was restored to his throne despite the opposition of his Neapolitan subjects. In that year also there was a revolution against absolutism in Piedmont, but Russia and Austria made ready to stamp it out, and soon it collapsed. Revolution proscribed
In 1822 the last of the congresses met at Verona. In Spain revolutionists had extorted a constitution from Ferdinand VII, their weak and odious king. He had appealed to the rulers of the Allied Powers, and now at Verona France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, demanded that the king's prerogatives be restored. The Spaniards refused, and though England strongly protested, the other allies prepared to coerce the king's disobedient subjects. France, temporarily directed by reactionaries, was commissioned to do the work, and a French army entering Spain, easily overcame all resistance, after which there was a cruel and shameful proscription and reign of terror. It is well known that the "Holy Alliance," desired also to restore to reactionary Spain her revolted American colonies. But England, in command of the sea, was able to interpose effectual resistance, and the government of the United States also announced unalterable opposition in the socalled Monroe Doctrine; and the project was quietly dropped. The Congress of Verona
The collapse of the European Concert began with the withdrawal of England in 1823. After the Revolution of 1830 France also drew far away from the policy which had dictated intervention in Piedmont and Spain. The scheme had begun in 1814 with the desire to preserve from another outburst of the French people what the Allies had so far saved by a great deal of effort and fighting. It had broadened into the design of maintaining order and tranquillity in a Europe where peace and quiet were sorely needed. But as the forces of reaction and extreme conservatism presently attempted to use the Alliance for the purpose of preventing all revolution and change, fundamental differences developed between England and France on the one hand and on the other the conservative and stationary central and eastern powers, where the influence of the French Revolution had been felt not so much or not at, all. Moreover, none of the powers were willing to The European Concert breaks up
Great Britain and France Draw away
make any substantial sacrifice of their peculiar interests for the good of all Europe. Therefore the Alliance or Concert soon broke up; England dropped out and presently France. After a while there was no longer any great alliance dominating all Europe as in the years from 1815 to 1823, though Russia, Austria, and Prussia long acted in much unison, based on the similarity of their governments, their proximity to each other, and often their identity of interests, which to a considerable extent persisted throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.
But even though this Concert of the Powers was broken up, the example remained, and from time to time thereafter, affairs of general concern were settled at meetings of representatives of some of the powers. Twice more during the nineteenth century great congresses were held, at Paris in 1856, and at Berlin in 1878, to settle European affairs; and there were several others less important. In the closing years of the century there was an informal association of the Great Powers, in a European Concert, to deal with the dangerous and perplexing affairs of Turkey and the Balkans. In 1913 such a meeting was held at London to deal with the Balkan troubles, and such a conference was proposed by England in the days just before the World War, in a last vain effort to avert the conflict. Later Concert Of the Powers
For some time after the Congress of Vienna the dominating and guiding spirit in Continental affairs was the Austrian minister, Prince Metternich. His influence was so powerful and persistent that to a great extent the period from 1815 to 1848 is Metternich's era. He stood for what he believed was a sane, wise, and proper condition of affairs. He had lived through the violence and fluctuations of the Revolutionary period, and risen to greatness during the years of Napoleon's power. When the Corsican had been sent to Elba, Metternich appeared at Vienna The age of Metternich desiring restoration of most of what had been and resistance to any further change. He was descended from an ancient and noble family, and, both by temperament and training, represented aristocracy in social arrangements and the Old Régime in governmental affairs. He was too astute a statesman to believe, as did some lesser men, that things could everywhere be restored to what they once had been; but now that the Revolution was over and Napoleon put out of the way, he hoped that no further innovations would be made, and that political arrangements decided at Vienna would be upheld by the masters who had made them. He desired very much to maintain Austria as the leader of Europe. In the arrangements at Vienna, he and his associates thought it well to abandon Belgium, which was far away and hard to defend, as well as Austrian possessions in western Germany, so that nowhere should Austria be in contact with France. He opposed the acquisition of Saxony by Prussia, lest that state become too great a rival; and to preserve the leadership of Austria among the German states, he successfully opposed all attempts to make any real German union. Prussia, under a weak ruler was for the time no serious rival. After a while Russia also acted in harmony with Metternich's wishes. Metternich's spirit and aims
At the Congress of Vienna
But his greatest efforts were expended in preserving the order of things now established. He believed, as he said, that sovereigns ought to guide the destinies of their people, and that they were responsible to God alone: "Government is no more a subject for debate than religion is." He had no sympathy with ideas of nationality, democracy, and civil equality, which he believed to be pernicious and wrong, and he determined to keep them, now that they existed in Europe, within as narrow bounds as could be. The national risings of the people of Spain and of Prussia had made it possible for Austria to escape from subjection; but Spain was put back under the despotic rule of the Bourbons; the German people were not allowed to His system in central Europe
National aspirations disregard
unite, but were left under the absolute rule of their princes; while the Italians were kept disunited, and put under the yoke of native despots or foreign masters. Austria had scarcely been affected by the French Revolution, as the German states had been, and it was easy now for Metternich, by means of repressive laws, drastic censorship of the press, and far-reaching espionage, to prevent any more new ideas getting across the frontier. His influence brought it about that this repressive and reactionary system was also maintained in the neighboring German states; and for some time his ideas were successfully upheld in the Italian lands.
Metternich's system was gradually shaken by various revolutionary movement, then finally destroyed by a great upheaval. In 1820 the Spanish veteran, Riego, led a rising against Ferdinand VII. For a moment the rebels were successful and the king was forced to accept again a liberal constitution that had been proclaimed in 1812. Confusion and dissension followed, however. Three years later a French army assisted in restoring Ferdinand's absolute power, and Riego was condemned to death. In the summer of 1820 a revolt also broke out in Naples. In March, 1821, the Neapolitan revolution came to an end, but at the same time another broke out in Piedmont; next month began the Greek War of Independence; and a few weeks later a Polish Patriotic Society was founded. The Congresses of Troppau, Laibach, and Verona were convened largely for the purpose of considering how to deal with this growing unrest; and it was by the leaders gathered at Verona that France was commissioned to put down opponent of the king of Spain. The revolutionary movements of 1820-1
A decade later another series of disturbances began. In July, 1830, a sudden revolution in Paris overthrew the Bourbon monarchy--the establishment that the allies had made in France, the rebels substituting therefor a sovereign from the House of Orléans in a limited monarchy based
The revolutions of 1830-1
especially upon the bourgeoisie. The effects of this movement were soon spread far over Europe. In August the Belgians revolted against the Dutch, and presently were able to establish a kingdom independent of Holland ( 1831). In November, 1830, the Poles rose in furious revolt against their Russian masters, but after heroic efforts and furious resistance Poland was reconquered next year. In December there were various outbreaks in the German lands. About the same time there were risings in Modena and at Bologna, and in February, 1831, a revolution broke out in the Papal States. The risings in Italy and in Germany came to nothing, but in 1832 the powers recognized the independence of the new Greek state. In 1836 there was a revolution in Lisbon, with two others a few years later. In France, in Belgium, and in Poland
All the time, everywhere in Europe save in Russia and the southeastern lands, progress of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of a middle class were undermining the system of things that Metternich and his associates cherished. Finally came the Year of Revolutions, 1848. A little before there had been prolonged riots in Bavaria and disturbances in Würtemberg, with ominous mutterings in Italy. In February, 1848, a rising in Paris quickly, overthrew the Orléans Monarchy, socialists and radicals gained power, and a French republic was proclaimed. Before the end of the month the socialists were attempting to institute national workshops in Paris. A few weeks more and German liberals were demanding a national assembly and a constitution for a united Germany; there were riots in Berlin; and the Austrian government was forced to bow to revolutionists in Vienna. The various parts of the Hapsburg dominions began to fall asunder now, and everywhere Italians rose against absolutist monarchs or Austrian masters. There was disturbance in Spain, and in Great Britain it seemed for a moment that the Chartists--the British radicals--would overthrow the existing system. The revolutions 0f 1848
Temporary dissolution of the Hapsburg dominions
All over western and central Europe governments were threatened or were falling. Everywhere authorities hastened to grant constitutions or make more liberal the constitutions already existing.
With his world thus falling to ruin, Metternich fled from Vienna and presently found refuge in England. Times had greatly changed, but he was too much identified with the older days to alter himself. "My mind has never entertained error," he said in 1848. In later days his memory was execrated, and he was condemned, without doubt, too harshly. Partly because of his efforts most of Europe had peace for a generation after Napoleon's wars, and peace she then needed more than any social or political progress, however desirable they were and however much men must strive to obtain them later on. Metternich represented, moreover, the instincts of conservatism, of law and order, and of natural reaction against the toogreat changes of the revolutionary epoch. But his system made improvement impossible, and its ultimate downfall was necessary for the progress of Europe. The end of Metternich's power
Necessary For further progress
6. EUROPE IN 1815
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