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Europe's Uncertain Path 1814-1914: State Formation and Civil Society



Europe's Uncertain Path 1814-1914: State Formation and Civil Society

R. S. Alexander

ISBN: 978-1-444-34740-1 November 2011 Wiley-Blackwell 256 Pages

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Europe’s Uncertain Path is an introduction to Europe’s turbulent history from 1814 to 1914. It presents a clear narrative of the major political events, set against the backdrop of social, economic, and cultural change.
  • An introduction to Europe’s turbulent history from 1814 to 1914
  • Provides students with a solid grounding in the main political events and social changes of the period
  • Explains the causes and outcomes of major events: the effect of the emergence of mass politics; the evolution of political ideologies; and the link between foreign and domestic policy 
  • Offers balanced coverage of Eastern, Western, and Central Europe
  • Illustrations, maps, and figures enhance student understanding
List of Maps ix

List of Figures x

Preface xii

Acknowledgements xix

1 A World Half Restored: The Vienna Settlement and the Restoration Regimes 1

The Nature of the Restored Regimes 7

Constitutional Monarchies 8

Despotism in Italy and Spain 12

The Eastern Autocracies 14

The Ottoman Empire 18

2 Political Contestation from the Vienna Settlement to the 1830 Revolutions, 1814–1832 21

Failed Revolutions 25

Conservative Consolidation 34

Erosion of the Conservative Order on the European Periphery 35

Reform and Revolution in the West 38

Resistance to Change in South, Central, and East Europe 44

3 Stability, Stasis or Decay?: Europe from 1830 to 1848 50

Structural Sources of Stability in Inter-State Relations 50

The Thin Veneer of Ideology 52

Utopian Socialism 56

Consolidation and the Constitutional Monarchies: Britain and France in the 1830s 57

Liberal Advance and Political Instability: Spain in the 1830s 63

The Volatile Complexity of Emergent Nationalism and Liberalism in Italy, Germany, and the Austrian Empire, 1830–1848 65

Toward Crisis? The Constitutional Monarchies in the 1840s 70

4 The Underpinnings of Politics: Economic, Social, and Cultural Developments up to Mid-Century 76

Population Growth and Agricultural Production 77

Rural Society: Peasants, Nobles, and Notables 79

Commerce, Industry, and the Emergent Urban Economy 82

Urban Society 88

State Formation and Social Control 94

Cultural Trends: Religious Revival and Romantic Revolt 98

5 Europe in Transition: The 1848 Revolutions and the Crimean War 104

Origins 105

The Initial Wave 105

The Springtime of the Peoples 108

The Crucible: Politics up to the June Days 110

Incomplete Conservative Recovery, July–December 1848 115

In the Balance: A Second Revolutionary Wave and Conservative Response, January–October 1849 118

Conservative Consolidation and the Spanish Exception 120

New Departures on the Left: Scientifi c Socialism and Anarchism 123

The Return of Great Power Rivalry 125

Taking Stock 128

6 Wars of National Unifi cation and Revolution in the European States System, 1850s–1871 129

Domestic Politics in the 1850s: Liberalism in the West 130

Autocratic Politics in the 1850s 134

The Quixotic Foreign Policy of Louis-Napoleon: Italian Unifi cation 136

Partial Unifi cation of Germany 139

The Early Stages of the Women's Movement 144

Domestic Politics in the 1860s: Reform in the Autocracies 146

Domestic Politics in the 1860s: Reform in Britain and France 150

Domestic Politics in the 1860s: Instability in Italy and Spain 153

Birth and Death: The Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune 156

7 Europe from the Paris Commune to the Fall of Bismarck, 1871–1892 162

Arms, Alliances, and Inter-State Relations in the 1870s 162

The Coming of Male Democracy 165

Domestic Politics in the 1870s: Britain and France 167

Domestic Politics in the 1870s: Spain and Italy 170

Domestic Politics in the Eastern Autocracies in the 1870s 173

Inter-State Relations in the 1880s: The "New Imperialism" and the Demise of the Bismarckian Alliance System 179

West European Domestic Politics in the 1880s: Britain and France 184

Spain and Italy in the 1880s 188

The Eastern Empires during the 1880s 191

8 The Underpinnings of Politics: Economic, Social, and Cultural Developments from Mid-Century to 1914 199

Rising Population 200

Economic Expansion 202

Mid-Century Prosperity 203

Economic Slowdown 204

The Return of Rapid Growth 206

Social Change: Urbanization 208

Rural Society 209

Urban Society 212

State Response to Economic and Social Change: Increasing Intervention 216

Association "Mania" 220

Cultural Trends: Positivism and the Cult of Scientifi c Progress 223

Religious Response 226

Growing Doubt 228

Mass Culture 231

9 Toward Destruction?: From the 1890s to the mid-1900s 237

Inter-State Relations, 1890–1900: Shifting Alliances 238

Inter-State Relations, 1900–1905: Partial Clarifi cation and Continued Flexibility 241

Democracy, Mass Politics, and the Women's Movement 243

Adaptation to Mass Politics in Britain and France 244

Mixed Signs in Spain and Italy 250

Uncertainty in the Autocracies: Germany and Austria-Hungary 255

Revolution in Russia 261

10 Transition Re-routed: From the Mid-1900s to the Great War 267

Domestic Politics: The End or Beginning of an Era? 267

Evolution in Britain and Stalemate in France, 1906–14 271

Failure in Spain and Italy 276

Parliamentary Confl ict and the Limits to Opposition in Germany 280

Nationalist Divisions in the Dual Monarchy 283

Imperial Russia: One Step Back from the Brink of Revolution? 286

Toward the Abyss: Inter-State Relations, 1905–14 290

From the First Moroccan Crisis to the Annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1904–9 290

Temporary Stabilization and the Return of Crisis, 1909–12 293

The Final Destruction of the European States System, 1911–14 294

The Causes of World War One 302

Culmination? 305

Conclusion 309

Notes 317

Bibliography 324

Index 338


“Still, this efficient and useful survey reminds scholars that we should indeed continue to re-evaluate how we tell the story of the modern European world and its making.”  (European History Quarterly, 1 April 2015)

“His book offers a good introductory survey for first-year undergraduates, with a   clear, relatively comprehensive, political narrative. This will provide   students with a platform for more
advanced studies and/or reading.”  (Journal of European Studies, 14 November 2012)