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Liberalism and Nationalism


  • The classic statement of Liberalism was the Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen.
  • It proclaimed that all men had should have equal rights and opportunities
  • The rights should be protected by a constitution, and all men should participate in the governmental process through their elected representatives.


  • Nationalism suggested that all those who shared a common language and culture should form their own states.

Liberalism and Nationalism threatened the restored rulers of Italy. They threaten the rest of Europe as well. After all, the well-meaning and moderate reforms of the Estates-General in France had destabilized the state and led to chaos and war, from which the rest of Europe suffered. Anxious to prevent any recurrence of this process, the partners to the Holy Alliance declared their readiness to intervene anywhere in Europe to quash any threat to monarchical prerogative. Their official statement of principle was the Troppau Protocol.

  • It opened careers to talented men, regardless of their background.
  • The forces of conservatism and change clashed. As a result, Italy and other parts of Europe witnessed a series of revolts during the 1820s and 1830s.

Many historians consider these events as the beginning stages of the Risorgimento, the rebirth of the national idea in Italy. Their failure points out the lack of clear idology and organization on the part of the revolutionaries and the strength of Metternich’s determination to maintain conservative regimes in Italy during this period.

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