Why did revolutionary situations develop in Prussia and France in 1848?

Essay by stephenjamessmithHigh School, 12th gradeC+, March 2003

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The revolutions of 1848 in France and Prussia came about due to similar political, economic and social factors. However the nature and reason behind them differed in one particular area.

Whilst Prussia was suffering an economic slump and several poor harvests the impetus for revolution came form a desire for universal political freedom, along the same lines and scale as the French revolution of 1789, and crucially the wish to solve the question of a unified Germany. In the case of the French the economic situation had become even more unbearable, with tens of thousands relying upon poor relief even in times of relative economic prosperity. And whilst there was an overriding dissatisfaction with the regime, similar to the political climate in Prussia, the French people were challenging the form and composition of the government, not the very composition and integrity of their country as was the case in Prussia.

As I answer the question 'Why did revolutionary situations develop in France and Prussia in 1848' I will take the common factors that developed in both countries, then study the factors unique to each. Then in the penultimate paragraph I will compare the similarities and differences inherent in the argument then summarise my essay. However, if we are to fully understand why and how revolutions occurred in France and Prussia, then we must have an understanding of the stability of the rest of Europe during the period in question. If we make this analysis then we can ascertain whether or not the revolutions in France and Prussia were a result of circumstances and external forces, or were the epicentre of the revolutions in1848.

A tide of revolutionary fervour had engulfed Europe, with Britain and Russia the only countries to escape its onslaught. France, Prussia, the...