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Revolutions of 1848 and 1989

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The Revolutions of 1848 and 1989 had causes that were similar and different from one another, because they both started from the want to get rid of the old governmental system and replace it with a new one in sovereign states. However, one had food shortages that contributed the other did not. The revolutions 1848 were largely democratic in nature, with the aim of removing the old feudal structures and creating independent national states[1]. 1989 revolutions were to put an end to communism and create separate states in the process. In 1848 food shortages with the lower classes influenced the uprisings but not in 1989. The origins of these two events were very similar but 1848 had more influences then 1989.

The 1848 and 1989 revolutions both stemmed from economic problems, but the cause of the problems were different between the time periods.  The economic conditions hurt the working class badly in 1848. A series of reforms were rejected by the monarchies, therefore pushing the working class to revolt into a revolution to change the government to better the conditions of the people[2]. In 1989 the same issues were going on however, the difference was the government of the Soviet Union had proposed reforms of economic policies, but they weren't helpful to a lot of people due to the governments lack of resources[3]. The revolutions of 1848 and 1989 both came from the same issues economically, but had different causes.

These two revolutions were in different locations, because one was western Europe and the other was eastern Europe. The revolutions of 1848 going across Europe included Germany, Italy, and France. In 1989 revolutions spread across eastern Europe which included countries like Estonia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Lithuania. The citizens in these countries wanted virtually the same thing despite occurring on different sides of the continent. The location of these two revolutions were different but they wanted the same thing.

These two revolutions fought for the belief in the same political ideology of democracy, but the revolutions of 1989 strived for it more than the revolutions of 1848. 1848 was fueled by the ideas of liberalism and democracy as was 1989. The two had different priorities when it came to this ideology. These ideas were a direct result from the ideas of the Enlightenment, such as the rights and the security of the constitutional rights the people were entitled to. The working class sought to gain more power in the revolutions of 1848[4]. The people not just the working class wanted to gain independent power from the Soviet Union during the revolutions of 1989. These two revolutions believed in democracy, but the revolutions of 1989 put a lot more weight on that than the 1848 revolutions.

The major problem that led up to the revolutions of 1848 and 1989 were the tensions forming between societal superior and inferior groups or classes of people, but one was between non-governmental groups and the other was between governmental and non-governmental. The working class had major issues dealing with survival in poverty. In 1848 people of a higher-class status had or were taking resources that led to them being in that situation. The people of the lower class were of course angry about this and wanted change. In 1989 the government was the one withholding resources from the people because of shortages. Unrest occurred as a result and the people demanded change. The 1848 and 1989 revolutions resulted from tensions between social status groups, but between non-governmental groups and governmental and non-governmental.

The outcome of the 1848 and 1989 revolutions had nations going in different directions than before, because the directions they chose had full participation from the people that supported the revolutions. In 1848 the industrious response to the growth of the population was parallel to the new population size after its revolution.[5] More people from rural areas were found moving to the cities to find work in the new industries that were created. In 1989 there was a growth of people in political parties that people supported. Even though most of them failed to meet the needs of the people, the idea of different parties was supported by the people[6]. The results of these revolutions went in different ways, but were still supported by the people.

Despite originating from the same issues the revolution of 1848 and 1989 had different results, because the people of each country in the two revolutions went into different directions soon after they ended. Through each of the revolutions of 1848 and 1989 all of the countries had one major component in common, the struggling of the working class. The working class went through hard times the most during these two time periods, facing poverty and death itself. Both revolutions had people that pushed for change for the betterment of their countries. Tensions rose between the classes as well as between people and their government. The results of the 1989 revolutions was different, because it was a more prosperous ending for the people economically and politically than the 1848 revolutions. The revolutions of 1848 and 1989 both started from the same issues but they however started to go in different directions and resulted to the revolutions having completely different outcome from each other.


[1] Stearns, Peter N. 1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe. Vol. 1. New York : W.W. Norton , 1974. Print.

[2] Stearns, Peter N. 1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe. Vol. 1. New York : W.W. Norton , 1974. Print.

[3] Sony, Ronald Grigor. "Empire Falls: The Revolutions of 1989." The Nation. N.p., 28 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 Dec. 2016.

[4] Stearns, Peter N. 1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe. Vol. 1. New York : W.W. Norton , 1974. Print.

[5] Stearns, Peter N. 1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe. Vol. 1. New York : W.W. Norton , 1974. Print.

[6] Sony, Ronald Grigor. "Empire Falls: The Revolutions of 1989." The Nation. N.p., 28 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 Dec. 2016


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