The Revolutions of 1830

The revolutions of 1830 were a series of revolutions in different countries around Europe. Some were successful, some not, some were even averted. But regardless of whether they were successful or not, almost all of them had the same goal in mind: new government systems.

Poland in 1830 was a province of Russia. The Polish were unhappy under the rule of Czar Nicholas I. They revolted, remaining importantly on paper for 35 years, until they were made just a simple province. Their revolution failed.

Belgium’s revolution was more successful. Belgium had been forced into union with the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna, and they had been joined together ever since. Belgium did not like the Dutch king, so the liberal nationalists rebelled. Eventually they were granted their freedom by the British. A treaty was imposed on the Dutch, which stated that Belgium was guaranteed its freedom, now and forever, and that it would remain “…perpetually neutral”.

In France, Louis XVIII died. Charles X became his successor. Charles X’s political opponents were dominating the government. Charles responded instantly. He limited the freedom of the press, he limited the freedom of the people in general, he closed the Chamber of Deputies, etc. Eventually he was deposed by the outraged people and they elected a new king: Louis-Philippe.

Under Louis-Philippe the artisans were dissatisfied. They wanted to get rid of the labor-saving machines. Louis-Philippe said No. Eventually in 1848 he would flee the country and Emperor Napoleon III would come to power.

In Britain, the Corn Laws were imposed. The Corn Laws were a high tax on imported grains. Thus people would only buy within the country, which used this advantage to raise its prices to a ridiculous height. The result was a revolution.

The outraged people assembled in Peter’s Field. They demanded not only that the Corn Laws be repealed, but that all people be allowed to vote at the parliamentary elections. They also demanded that the elections be held annually, instead of every seven years. When the ‘peacemaker’ tried to talk to them, they almost killed him. The cavalry was called out and fifty-seven people were killed, along with many wounded. This became known as the Peterloo Massacre.

Although the Peterloo Massacre seemed to be the start of a full-scale revolution, the British government miraculously managed to dodge a revolution. They were the only ones in 1830 who managed to do so.

The revolutions of 1830, although mostly not successful, are a major milestone in western civilization.


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