posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 02:31 PM
We need some kind of history repeats forum here on PTS, although it will probably be filled within a day or two with Germany 1935 Vs. US 2006.
In 1848, Europe was on the edge of a revolution. This is well after the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. The French had opened
up a can of worms the Monarchists wanted to seal back up. At this time in France, two major revolutions had just taken place, one to oust the French
monarchy, and then another led by Napoleon after he escaped from Elbe. The French revolution on top of France’s short-lived conquest of all of
Europe spread this ideal that government belonged to the people, rather than rights being gifts from royalty. All over Europe, this then liberal idea
of nationalism and universal male suffrage became major talking points. As was typical at the time, France led this revolution.
After the Fall of Napoleon the second time, there was a wish in France to reestablish a monarchy-style of government. This was held mostly by their
European counterparts and England, but could have been held, too, by the individual peasants in France, as well. No one knew for sure since they were
not permitted to participate in government. France had come a long way from a hereditarily deterministic monarchy, having elections for government
bodies, but those eligible for the vote were the elite of the elite. To give you an idea, France at this time consisted of 30 million people; 70,000
of those people were permitted to vote in elections.
This was an interesting time in French history. The rest of Europe saw France as a kind of rabid dog. They understood France trying to take over the
continent; after all, all nations vied for power. However, the French people were not led by a legitimate king at this time, and what was worse was
Napoleon’s audacity in creating nations (something you just don’t do) and assigning kings to these nations from his own family (again, something
you NEVER do). The terms of the peace, however, were fairly gracious. The European powers didn’t want to destroy France; they wanted to destroy the
movement that had begun in France. As a result, France was scaled back, obviously, from what it had controlled under Napoleon, and placed under a
Now for the interesting parallels. At this time, some very liberal movements began in both France and the Germanic federation. In the Germanic
federation, the loudest cry was for a national government, whereas France was talking about national suffrage. Meanwhile, there was a strong battle
taking place behind liberal lines, liberals making up the largest portion of the voting class. The more moderate liberals wanted to maintain some of
the elements of monarchy while giving ultimate power to the people. The movement was for a constitutional monarchy. At the same time, the more
radical, outspoken group wanted a republic, much along the lines of what the US was. Both sides, however, overwhelmingly agreed on full male suffrage
for the peasants. They were absolutely sure that, if the people could voice their opinion, liberalism would flourish and, more than likely, the
radical left, those looking for a republic, would have their backing. They eventually won their battle and got universal suffrage.
Of the 30 million people living in France, 9 million voted in the election. The vote was a staggering loss for the liberals, only gaining tens of
thousands of votes supporting them. The clear winner was Louis Napoleon, or Napoleon the Third, as he would come to be known. This infuriated the
liberals and shocked the conservatives. This great movement in France, it turned out, was being lead and consisted almost exclusively with the upper
middle class and those self-dubbed intellectuals teaching in universities.
So now France stepped back into a more dictatorial, though definitely not a tyrannical government, since the people loved Napoleon III. There was a
major counter-revolution taking place in France now. While it was impossible to get the genie back into the bottle, they definitely cleared away a lot
of the smoke. A similar election took place in the Germanic federation. Conservative ideals overwhelmingly won against liberalism when the individuals
were asked what they wanted.
True to form, the radical liberals realized the people did not want what they were proposing, and the stopped being such a loud voice in trying to get
their ideals realized…Just kidding. They took the fight to a different level. They now realized the people would support the more traditional forms
of government, so they would have to get rid of this vote, this universal suffrage, they had worked so hard at establishing. It was becoming quickly
apparent that it was a majority of those 70,000 original voters who held these ideals.
This was just a very, very shallow overview of what took place in Europe in 1848. The details are vastly more complex, and have a far closer parallel
to American politics. Rather than spend a massive amount of time documenting all of them, though, I figured I’d wait and see if anyone’s
interested in witnessing history repeating its self in such a consistent and documentable manner.
So did you see the parallels?
[edit on 9-12-2005 by junglejake]