These essays arose out of lectures given in Oxford to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1848 revolutions in Europe. They comprise judicicious summaries of the existing state of knowledge, as well as insights and unfamiliar information. The book also seeks to place the revolutionary events in their wider context: apart from chapters covering the main centres of disturbance in France, Germany, Italy, and the Habsburg lands, there are discussions of the situation in Britain and Russia, which were affected but not convulse and by the disorders elsewhere; of reactions in the United States of America; and of the symbolism of 1848 for the later democratic, radical, and socialist movements. 1848 marked the first breakdown of traditional authority across much of the continent, and as such is of profound significance in the development of modern European politics as a whole.
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