In the spring of 1848 the resistance against absolutismAbsolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch has absolute power among his or her people increased in the German small states, PrussiaFor centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. In 1871, Prussia united the german states in creating the German Empire under its own leadership and Austria. The industrial revolutionThe Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to 1840 had even aggravated the poverty of peasants and labourers, who had lost their jobs to modern machinery, as the Silesian Weaver revolts in 1844 disclosed. After there had been first revolts in France in February the revolution gradually spread around Europe1.
The European revolution from 1848/49 had been preceded by social, political and national questions evoked by the process of restoration. The revolutionists were composed of a broad class of the population, which criticised the state’s system and claimed more freedoms. Thus the movement was united in its rejection of absolutism and privileging of the noblesse. The French revolts in February, in which the king Louis Philippe I.Louis Philippe I. was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 was overthrown and a new republic was proclaimed, were that last spark necessary for the escalation of the numerous protests2.
Dissemination in Europe
After the February revolution in France the revolution spread rapidly over Europe. Firstly the revolutionists managed to compel the Prussian King Wilhelm IV.Frederick William IV reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861 to pass liberal reforms, followed by the convening of the national assembly. The movement was close to realising their claims concerning a German national state and constitution, however due to the discord among the members of the Frankfurt ParliamentThe Frankfurt Assembly took place from 18 May 1848 to 31 May 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main the negotiations stagnated in the summer of 1848. In turn the monarchs managed to regain control over the movement by a counterrevolution and in consequence withdrew all reforms made previously. When Friedrich Wilhelm IV. rejected the imperial crown in the spring of 1849 the revolution was finally at its end3.