Congress of Vienna
After the victory over Napoleon in the wars of liberation the leading statesmen met in Vienna to arrange Europe’s political and territorial realignment. The dominating monarchs in those negotiations were the monarchs of Prussia, Russia, Great Britain and Austria. Especially the prince of MetternichKlemens von Metternich served as the Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire from 1809 until the liberal revolutions of 1848 forced his resignation played a leading role and designed the new European order after the principles of legitimacyLegitimacy is the popular acceptance of an authority, solidaritySolidarity is unity that produces or is based on universities of interests and restorationRestoration was the return of many monarchies after Napoleon's defeat in 1814. Those resolutions oppressed all revolutionary efforts and promoted European peace for the longer term. Austria’s Dual Monarchy on the other hand would have been threatened in its existence by the foundation of a German national state. The tenets of the French revolution, for example national unity and political freedom, were to be repelled henceforth, in fact the monarchs solidarised among themselves to act against liberal and national movements1.
Instantaneously after the resolutions passed at the congress of Vienna the rulers of Russia, Austria and Prussia assured one another military support in case of war. Under the keywords restoration, legitimacy and solidarity the monarchs agreed to reinstate the absolutistic order in Central Europe, thus preserving dynastic traditions as well as the ties between throne and altar. The resolutions passed in Vienna were thereby legitimised trough “the will of god” and hence utterly justified. Furthermore this alliance legitimised the right to intervene in case of a serious threat to the political system2.
The German confederation
The claims uttered by the bourgeoisie, demanding a German national state with a liberal constitution could not be realised when Napoleon’s reign over Europe ended. On the contrary: The resolutions made at the Congress of Vienna only confirmed the interest of absolutistic monarchs that used the feudal system to rob people of their personal freedoms. Especially labourers and peasants were highly underprivileged and lived at the mercy of their landlords.
To follow the Holy Roman Empire that had been abolished in 1806 the foundation of a German confederationThe German Confederation was a loose association of 39 German states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 including 35 states and 4 independent cities was decided at the Congress of Vienna. There was neither a common sovereign nor a domestical constitution. The only federal agency was the federal convention based in Frankfurt am Main. This confederation mainly served the purpose of preserving the exterior and inner safety within Europe. The German federal act from 1815 only included indications of a constitution that was only adhered to by the sovereigns of few small states, neither sovereignty of the people nor civil rights had been passed3.