The Congress of Vienna

In the wake of the Napoleonic wars, the countries of Europe gathered together to discuss peace arrangements in the Congress of Vienna (1814). They wanted very much to avoid another general European war, so they established several principles to preserve stability. These principles were legitimacy, the balance of power, and compensation. Legitimacy was the idea that the people who were born to their thrones were the legitimate rulers of their country. This principle was exercised in the reestablishment of the Bourbon dynasty in France with Louis XVIII. In order to preserve stability, the congress decided that resources should be divided evenly and balanced between the major powers of Europe to prevent a struggle. Belgium and the Netherlands were forced together, with the Netherlands in charge, in order to provide a foil to French power. This did not last long, however,  because the Belgians revolted in 1830 against their Dutch king and won. The last principle is compensation, by which if one power receives more territory, the other powers should receive some as well in order to maintain the balance of power. After the Napoleonic wars, Britain, Russia Prussia, and Austria received territories in many places to compensate for losses incurred. The Congress of Vienna marked a change in the thinking of international politics since the 18th century, in which everyone was preoccupied with undermining their rivals. On the contrary, the Congress of Vienna was focused on repairing the damages of war and with working together to prevent it in the future. They were mostly successful, as a major European war did not occur for one hundred years. However, the same principles applied in the Congress of Vienna were not applied in the treaty of Versailles, and another worldwide conflict came soon after.

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  1. Pingback: The Carlsbad Decrees | supererling

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