Q. 13.6( 66 Votes )

Explain what is meant by the 1848 revolutions of liberals. What were the political, social and economic ideas supported by the liberals?

Answer :

The word ‘Liberal’ is derived from the Latin ‘liber’ that means ‘free’. So 1848 revolution meant the revolution led by the educated middle classes alongside the revolts of the poor, unemployed peasant and workers of Europe. Liberalism emphasizes on absolute and unrestrained freedom of thoughts, religion, conscience, creed, speech, press, and politics. Liberals believed that government is necessary to protect individuals from being harmed by others, not to pose a threat to liberty.

In the nineteenth century, a series of republican revolts started against European monarchies. In countries like France, unemployment and shortage of food, triggered the movements on a large scale. In other parts of Europe, men and women of the liberal middle class, came together to raise their voice for the creation of nation-states based on parliamentary principles and frankfurt parliament is the example of revolution of liberals.

In the economic field

(i) Interference of state in the economic life: Liberal in the 19th century urged to end the interference of the state in the economic life of society.

(ii) Freedom of markets: They fought for the freedom of markets and abolition of state-imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and capital.

(iii) Unification: In 1834, a Custom union or Zollverein was formed at the initiative of Prussia and joined by most of the German states.

(iii) The union abolished tariff barriers and reduced the number of currencies from thirty to two.

(iv) Infrastructural Improvement: The construction of a network of railways stirred economic growth and economic nationalism which eventually strengthened nationalism.

In the political field

(i) The main aim was to establish freedom for the individual and equality of all before the law and government should be formed with the consent of people.

(ii) it was against the class-based partiality and birthrights.

(iii) It opposed autocracy and clerical privileges and favoured a Constitution with national unification and representative government through Parliament.

(iv) The Napolean Code was related to property, colonial affairs, individual rights and reduced women’s role.

(v) Women were considered as the subject to the authority of fathers and husbands. This led to the rise of movement by women and non-propertied men demanding equal political rights.

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