The period between 1830 and 1848 was marked by a lot of tensions and turmoil in Europe. Europe had witnessed the dramatic rise of two philosophies, liberalism and conservatism. The liberal nationalists or the educated middle class planned ways to overthrow monarchy and bring in a government of the people. Europe hence saw a series of revolutions in Italy, Germany, Poland, Turkey and Ireland.
In 1821 in the Greek war of independence, the Greeks began a nationalist movement. Several poets (Lord Byron) and artists supported the Greek war against the Ottoman Empire. After the war, the Treaty of Constantinople was signed in 1832 and recognized Greece as an independent nation.
In 1830 the Bourbon dynasty, restored in 1815 during the conservatives’ reaction, was overthrown by liberal revolutionaries. The French revolution of 1830 is also known as the July Revolution.
In the 19th century, art, culture and literature helped in instilling the feeling of nationalism and also infusing the idea of a nation. After the French revolution, there was rise of a literary and cultural movement called romanticism, which sought to develop nationalist sentiment. This national sentiment was mobilised by artists by using the common language, or vernacular, and popular folk arts that people understood and identified with.
Writers, poets, painters and musicians of the romantic era stressed on individualism, nationalism, feeling, imagination and emotion as opposed to reason and science.
German romantic philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder stressed that true German culture could be found in folklore and folk art, of the common people. In Poland, nationalist feelings were kept alive through music and language.
The Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Germany. They collected German folktales and popularized German.
The years after 1830 were marked by a lot of anarchy and chaos. Europe witnessed the worst period of hunger and hardship. Bad harvest and a rise in food prices added to people’s woes.
In the first half of the 19th century, the population of Europe had increased a lot. This led to unemployment. Many people migrated from the rural areas to the growing slums in the cities.
Small producers in towns faced stiff competition from cheap machine-made goods in England. In certain regions of Europe, aristocracy and feudalism still prevailed. In 1845 the Silesian weavers revolted against their contractors. In France, food shortage led to the peasants’ uprising in 1848.