Its merits outweighed its defects



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However, many historians attacked the Vienna Settlement for negligence of the impact of the ideas of the French Revolution, and thus the peace established after the Napoleonic War was eventually buried by the growing tide of nationalism, liberalism and democracy. So their conclusion was that the diplomats in 1815 were unwise to neglect the forces of change. However, we should admit that although the settlement did fail in the long run, the fault of the Vienna Settlement was not that they put the clock back in 1815, their error was that they hoped to keep the clock stopped at 1815 for the next half of a century. Acting too much on the principle of nationalism was not unrealistic and impracticable in 1815 while the statesmen's negligence of liberalism and democracy was also understandable.
With regard to liberalism and democracy, they were not mature enough to gain momentum in 1815. Although the ancient regime was on the way of decline, the bourgeoisie, the backbone of liberalism and democracy, was all a very minority group in the western part of Europe at that moment. In the east of Elba, they were totally negligible. Furthermore, these ideas were too much linked up with the French Revolution. which had once overshadowed the European Continent with Jacobinism, disturbance, and at last a general war. So we should not blame the Vienna Settlement too much on this issue for at that moment, peace and stability were the prime concern of most of the European states.
At the same time, acceptance of the principle of nationalism was impossible and undesirable in the circumstances of 1815. For instance, an independent Belgium would have been though in 1815 to have no chance of survival at all because of its perilous proximity to France. In Germany, the unification was not in the realm of practical politics in 1815; as firstly, parochialism was strong enough to overshadow increase the conflict between Prussia and Austria. In Italy, as what Metternich said, 'it was nothing more than a geographical expression'. Moreover, if we look at Europe as a whole, we may find that, at that moment, besides the influence of parochialism, a national movement was not mature for most of Europe as there was still the landed aristocracy placed as the dominant group which symbolized that the distinction of class cut horizontally across the local and national division of Europe and these local leaders were more concerned about their class interest rather than national interests. In the west of Elba, the situation was even more complicated. Their confusion of people and classes confined any political organization of Central and Eastern Europe to a non-national basis.
As a conclusion, due to the work of Vienna Settlement such as the realistic and cool-headed attitude towards critical issues, the establishing of the balance of power, restoration of the legitimate rulers and the successful creating the barrier encircled France, Europe could have a comparative peace for forty years; however, the ignorance of the nationalism and liberalism paved the way for the 1830 and 1848 revolutions. Generally speaking, the Vienna Settlement was, to a large extent, wise and moderate.
8. Could it be said that the Vienna Settlement met the needs of the time?
As C. A. Leeds states "Vienna Settlement" was "a Congress notables." Many historians have questioned how notable it was and how much it had met the needs of the time. And it is the latter past which we have to pay attention to. Before we look into the question. we better bear in mind the comment of Seamen of the Vienna Settlement, "it was concerned solely with restoring the rights of royal and princely property owners and never with the rights of 'the people'". This will help us to examine the question.
First of all, we should have an understanding of the backgrounds and needs or forces of that time. At that time, two forces existed in Europe, they were respectively force of continuity and force of changes. The forces of changes were the legacy of the French Revolution which consisted the ideas of nationalism, liberalism, fraternity and equality. The force of continuity was represented by the Monarchs, the Church and the landowners who felt the challenge of the revolutionary ideals to their ancient regime and tired their best to resist these challenges. Since Napoleon was defeated, it was the force of continuity which dominated the time. Besides, this force was backed by government and corruption who were exhausted after twenty-two years of war. They longed for peace and stability, so they welcomed back the monarchical rule, which was regarded as a guarantee of peaceful life against revolution and turmoil. Although Napoleon was defeated no one can deny the fact that the ideas of the revolution were spreading to the people. Therefore, through a brief introduction of the backgrounds and forces of the time, one may saw the basis needs of them. Their needs were mainly peace, legitimacy return of old orders and territories, security against France invasion, and somewhat liberalism, nationalism and equality.
Secondly, we have to look into administration of the Vienna Settlement. Apparently, it was a settlement for all powers but actually, it was dominated by Britain, Russia, Prussia, Austria and even France. Instead of fulfilling the needs of the time, the settlement aimed at "Consisted the divisions among the victors of the spoils and to revive the balance of power in Europe." Therefore, the domination and self-interest of the "Big Five" had actually diverted the settlements.
Significantly, we have to seek the self-interests of these five powers. Castlereagh of Britain wanted to safeguard Britain's trade and maintain rights. He also wanted to check Russia expansion and tired to create strong barriers around France. Metternich of Austria wanted to preserve the status quo and was "totally out of sympathy with national and liberal ideas" as C. A. Leeds has alleged. Alexander I of Russia hoped to have liberalism and maintain Russia national interest in Poland. Frederick William of Prussia was conservative and decided to back Russia. Talleyrand of France simply wanted to promote and safeguard French interests. And it was basically these self-interests of the "Big Five" which put down the principle of the Settlement. They were legitimacy, security against French Revolution, balance of powers, national self-interest and compensation, restoration of territories and nationality neglected.
Now, it is time for us to examine these principles and see how far they met the needs of the times or the needs of the "Big Five". For the principle of legitimacy, most of the rightful kings and rulers were restored. For instance, House of Savoy was restored in Sardinia and Piedmont, House of Orange in Poland, the Bourbon family was restored in France, Spain and Naples and Pope was restored in Papal States. Anthony Wood has said "Vienna was a more genuine Congress" and Hardy has stated " Earth's wormy dynasties re-robe." However, for the sake of balance of powers, this principle was not applied to Belgium and Poland. Besides, some unpopular absolute monarchies were restored. Therefore, discontent would turn out.
For the principle of security against French Revolution, David Thomson has said, "the territorial indeed drastic safeguard against a resurgence of France." For this reason, buffer states were created to round up France. However, for the preservation of this principle, sacrifices were made in Belgium, Poland, Italy and Rhineland.
For the principle of balance of Power, a historian has alleged "the Vienna peace Settlement of 1815 at the close of Napoleonic wars attempted with considerable success to restore in Europe an effective balance of power and hence paved the way to a long period of peace." To achieve, this principle, compensation is inevitable, as David Thomson says, 'the settlement was a network of bargains and negotiated compromises." And it is these compromises which helped to show the selfishness of the peacemakers. Some of them gained more and some got less. For instance, Russia got most in Poland and Britain got France overseas colonies which would strengthen her naval power. A revolutionary phenomenon would exist those who were rich became much richer, for those who were weak became weaker.
Together with these principles, principle of restoration of territories was following. However, owing to the above principles, old territorial situation was impossible to be restored perfectly. Besides, nationalism was neglected, ideas of liberalism and equality were ignored. Despite their desire for independence, Poland, Belgium and Finland were handed over to foreign governments. Little was done in encouraging an united Italy. Nevertheless, nationalism was not yet a strong force at that period. Therefore, not much discontents were aroused by these.
For the achievement of peace, one must bear in mind "it was not technically a peace conference" as David Thomson states. However, through the processes of balance of power and territorial arrangements, powers, especially the "Big Five", were satisfied with their spoils of victory and no one of them wanted to have war. So Seaman says "they did in fact prevent a general European conflagration for a whole century of time" and "wars are neither caused nor prevented by treaties, but by polices." What prevented a major war until 1853, was a determination made easier by the fact that the Vienna Settlement involved no major injustice to anyone of them, not even to the defeated.
As a conclusion, the settlement was dominated by the "Big Five" and interests of the small powers and individuals were disregarded. As I have already quoted Seaman statement, "it restored the rights of royal and princely property owners, not 'right of peoples'". Therefore, one may frankly says that needs of the "Big Five" and the royal property owns were met. For the other needs, most of them were scarified for the sake of balance of powers. But the it may argued that the leadership were "not wholly selfish" for they still hoped to have some form of unity in Europe which was longed for by the powers, After all, Vienna Settlement had brought unexpected merits which was feverly hoped for by the whole. As David Thomson states, "Vienna had the practical merits of giving Europe nearly half a century of comparative peace and this was what most Europeans most fervently wanted in 1815.
9. Describe the role played by Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15?
Castlereagh, Metternich and Alexander I wanted not only to confine power to themselves, but to do it in such a way that might avoid outraging the rest of the Congress and also evade summoning it into plenary session. These narrow intentions, slightly received by adroit and dramatic objection from Talleyrand, and produced the simplest organisation of the Congress imaginable. The Four (later Five) retained the control of territorial questions.
For Talleyrand the moment of opportunity had finally arrived. He had come to Vienna in September as the head of a defeated power, theoretically excluded from inner decision by to the secret articles oft he First Peace of Pairs, and practical, prevented from participation by the success of the leading powers in retaining the initiatives themselves. Much has been made of his proposal for that sacred principles of legitimacy which had often, and erroneously been described as the dominating them of the peace conference. He came fortified with the most exploit directive of any of the participation statesmen in the form of the elaborate King's instructions conceived by himself. In it he hold legitimacy to be the best advice for establishing the separate entitles of the state-system, governing conception for Europe as while. According to the instructions, he accepted perpetual neutrality of Switzerland, he sought to limit Prussian gains in West Germany to check her power within the new German Confederation, which itself should not be strong, and equally cleared aimed at generally finishing compensation to the member, of coalitions.
Talleyrand at Vienna showed extra-ordinary skill. Refusing to accept as permanent France's exclusion from the inner meetings of the peace conference, he devoted most of his energy to working his way in. By offering leadership to the disgruntled representatives of the medium size and small powers he was able to harass and embarrass the statesmen of the leading powers. In his eagerness to council limit the compensation of Prussia, he stood for denying Saxony to her and thus, formed in October, annoyed enterprises. Castlereagh felt to at Talleyrand should have co-operated in checking Prussia before everything else. Talleyrand often praised for his prediction of the defeat of Castlereagh and Metternich over clans, might have prevented that defeat if he had stood with them against Czar during October. This point, however, remains speculative, and whatever one thinks of his conduct in the autumn, his stock had risen noticeably by winter time.

On the 12th December, 1814 Talleyrand sent Metternich a written overturn for alliance and receiving encouragement, repeated it a week later. Shortly there after the creation of the statistical committee served inadvertently as the point of entry for Talleyrand into the inner councils of the Congress. Arriving unwanted at the first meeting, he successfully resisted expulsion by threatening to withdraw the French delegation from Vienna. Having crossed the threshold, he still had to penetrate the inner sanctum of the Four. The time of that, too, was now at hand.


Castlereagh, although aware of the rapprochement between Talleyrand and Metternich, had until Christmas been chary of giving them an exploit indication of his interest in an alliance. However, with the Four Powers still deadlocked over the disposition of Saxony, he finally indicated that he was ready to enter a treaty relationship and to urge the acceptation of Talleyrand within the inner group of ministers. When the Four Powers met on 29th December, Castlereagh and Metternich demand the Talleyrand be included in the top ministerial council, thereby expanding the Four to Five. Their request evoked highly agitated responses from Hardenberg and Hesselrode, who naturally sought to evade any arrangement giving three values to their two on the Saxony issue. The Prussian Chancellor, usually discrete and usually able through his deafness to avoid hearing what he disliked, not only heard the proposal but was moved to declare in the meeting 31st December that a refusal to cede Saxony to Prussia was tantamount to war.
The statesmen thus squeezed past the most bitter phase of the Conference. When it was over, Talleyrand reported statically to Louis XVIII: "the coalition is dissolved, and for ever. Not only does France, no longer stand alone in Europe but- France is in concert with two of the greatest powers, and three of the second."
The Russians, having the secured their own chief aim, were now less eager to risk war over gains for the Prussia ally through use of this advantage Castlereagh and secured the Czar's support for compromise on Saxony, and was then able to devote the remainder of January to modifying the intransigence of Metternich and Hardenberg.
The Italian Settlement, a complex affair, was stalemated for months and unsolved until May 1815. Murat's daring manoeuvre worked successfully in 1814, but Metternich, thus committed, found himself entangled with Talleyrand who sought to oust Murat and restore the legitimate Spanish Bourbon Monarch. The problem remained until Murat soled it during the excitement of the Savored Days be his further gamble on switching back to Napoleon and attempting to raise Italy against Austria. He had no alternative, since Metternich had Castlereagh had already secretly agreed to unseat him. Talleyrand succeeded in restoring the Bourbons in Naples.
With Alexander I, Castlereagh and Wellington in agreement with Metternich not off, preponderance lay clearly with a policy of moderation. Hardenberg indicated on 28th August 1815 that he would moderate his position and Alexander I eager to avert a humiliating setback for Prussia, said that he would support moderate territorial concessions from France. The items which they presented to France on 20th September, were disconcertingly refused by Talleyrand just before he was replaced by his successor, the Duc de Richelieu, who soon accepted a slightly altered version.
They theory of equilibrium, although clearing domination, the peace settlement did not pervade it to the exclusion of other conceptions. Legitimacy claimed much support, but even Talleyrand, regarded its as a subordinate ingredient of the more comprehensive theory of the balance of power.
Talleyrand gave timely assistance in the restoration of the Bourbon, resourcefully worked his way into the inner delegation of the Congress, and was to some degree responsible for salvation.
10. Evaluate Alexander I's role at the Congress of Vienna, 1814-15.
In the city of Paris the moment belonged wholly to Alexander. Napoleon's emissaries secured the Czar of the offer of Elba, commitment which could have been averted if Castlereagh and Metternich had reached Paris earlier. Through exchanges which appear to have been amicable, terms were soon settled with Talleyrand and signed on 30 May in the treaty known as the First Peace of Paris. Alexander I favoured Talleyrand and advised Louis XVIII to issue a constitution as the basis of the French government of restoration and as a means to reconciliation the forces of the old order and revolution in France. Within three months the allies had bound themselves by the Treaty of Chaumont, occupied Napoleon's capital, sent him to his island kingdom, restored the Bourbons, and written for France a peace treaty free of indemnities, occupation and humiliation. Even this had its uses in smoothing the way to diminishing the threat of a civil war in France, and enabling her to be represented in the Congress of Vienna.
Alexander of Russia was supported by the most international group of advisers at the Congress - the Russian Raymovskil; Nesserirode, his foreign minister of German extractional Stein, distinguished reformer and exile from Prussian Services; Czartoryski of Poland; and Pozzo de Boyo, Corsican enemy of Bonaparte. Despite the presence of these men, the Czar intended to handle many important matters himself.
The Russian began to reveal their plan, drafted in August and dominated by the principle of Compensation for Russia, Prussia and Austria. It stood against a unified Germany; gave most of the Duchy of Warsaw to Russia; Posen, Kulm and Saxony to Prussia and parts of South Germany, north Italy, and the Illyrian provinces and Dalmatia to Austria. These proposed terms lay at the centre of the biggest and bitterest fight at the Congress, the struggle over the disposal of Poland and Saxony. Although not adjacent, these two territories were tightly linked, primarily because of the Czar's insistence on the basis Russian formula that Poland should go to Russia and Saxony to Prussia. Since Russian troops occupied both areas, he had scarcely to whisper to be heard with frightening clarity. This emphasis within his formulation lay on the Russian gains, and this meant that early Congress activity was primarily concerned with the Polish half of the formula.
The background of the problem was complicated. As a consequence of the three partition of Poland the Russians had been poised after 1795 on the edge of old Catholic which had formed the bulk of the Prussian and Austria gains of '93 and 95'. Then Napoleon, after his victories in 1805-06, had taken this region to create the new duchy of Warsaw, his satellite outpost in East Europe. The area was especially significant to Poles, because it lay at the geographical heart of Polish culture. Although obviously attractive to the Russian--- its retention by Russia and the concomitant denial to Prussian and Austrian of their former Polish lands would mean, however, that these powers would have to seek adequate compensation elsewhere.
Alexander himself was undoubtedly one of the most puzzling leader of his day, brought up by a French septic, he had swung strongly towards a deep Christian commitment a sensitive idealist; he resented and was often unable to cope with the arch decisions he had to make; a moralist he was plagued the awareness of a tacit participation in the murder of his father. He wavered between the cold mechanics of the balance of Power, urging proportions appropriate for maintaining the general equilibrium, and lights of idealism, distrusted by the others, in which he spoke of his moral duty to minister to the happiness of the Poles. They were to enjoy a semblance of national existence in a separate Polish kingdom linked with Russia.
For several more months Castlereagh and Metternich continued to concentrate on Polish half of the Russian formula. However, with no further reason for them to cope for appropriate concessions from the Czar, they were compelled to turn to the other half of the formula and block the cession of Saxony to Prussia.

On the new year's day of 1815, Castlereagh submitted a draft of an alliance to Metternich. Nesselrode tried to secure a compromise, but Hardenburg continued to claim all Saxony for bargaining purposes. Metternich blocked by refusing the Prussian of any part of Saxony. He was considerably helped by the right that the new western frontier of Poland had been virtually settled on 3rd January 1815 when Metternich had placed before the Four Courts the Austrian counter project to the formal Russian proposals of 30th December. This 30th December document revealed Austria still to be in strong disagreement with Russia over Saxony but in complete accord with her on the boundary of Poland. Their agreement really determined the frontier which was written into the Final Act of the Congress in June. The Russian having secured their own chief aim, were now kiss eager to raise was over gains for the Prussian ally. Through use of this advantage Castlereagh secured the Czar's support for compromise on Saxony.


One of his benevolence and Christian concept of morality Alexander proposed a constitution for the separate kingdom of Poland which was placed under his personal rule, and secured on the Congress of Vienna's guarantee for the Polish Constitution.
Castlereagh and Metternich discovered to their great relief that Alexander had redirectly involved, the Czar favored their policy of moderation over the harsh designs of his Prussian ally. Alexander had increasingly turned toward religion since 1812, and been through a deeply religious experience in the spring of 1815 which made a strong impression on Russian policy throughout the year and which doubtlessly explains much of his gentlemen in this period. With Alexander, Castlereagh and Wellington in agreement and Metternich not far off, preponderance lay with the policy of moderation. Hardenburg, although isolated, pressed his country's demand vigorously, but in vain. Under the Second Peace of Paris France received the frontiers of 1790, failing to keep the considerably more generous lines of the First Peace of Paris. The French were not asked to cede Alsace-Lorraine, although Prussian took over the responsibility of defending the Western frontier of Germany by enlarging her holdings in the West.
Alexander I sought a general alliance for redressing the balance of Power against the British influence in Europe. He proposed for disarmament in April 1815, designed to suggest that any pruning of military powers on the Continent should be collective instead of isolated 2 action against the Barbary pirates and worked on the resentment of all the larger maritime powers against an extended use of British navy's claim to right of visit and search in suppressing the slave trade.
A device for shoring up the peace settlement appeared with the Czar's treaty of the Holy Alliance, which he hoped his fellow Monarchy would sign, and by which they would make of themselves a true and indissoluble fraternity, searing to base their conduct of foreign affairs on the precepts of Holy religion, namely the precepts of Justice, Charity and Peace, which far from being applicable only to private concerning must have an immediate influence on the councils of prince.
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