The Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon by Brian E. Vick

By Brian E. Vick

Convened following Napoleon’s defeat in 1814, the Congress of Vienna is remembered as a lot for the pageantry of the royals and elites who collected there as for the landmark diplomatic agreements they brokered. Historians have however regularly brushed off those brilliant festivities as window dressing compared to the intense, behind-the-scenes maneuverings of sovereigns and statesmen. Brian Vick reveals this traditional view shortsighted, seeing those in its place as interconnected dimensions of politics. analyzing them jointly yields a extra entire photo of the way essentially the most vital diplomatic summits in background controlled to redraw the map of Europe and the overseas approach of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Congress of Vienna investigates the Vienna Congress inside a vast framework of impression networks that integrated unofficial opinion-shapers of every kind, either women and men: artists and composers, marketers and writers, hosts and attendees of stylish salons. as well as high-profile negotiation and diplomatic wrangling over the post-Napoleonic fates of Germany, Italy, and Poland, Vick brings into concentration different understudied but major concerns: the African slave alternate, Jewish rights, and relatives with Islamic powers reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire and Barbary Corsairs. not easy the standard portrayal of a reactionary Congress keen about rolling again Napoleon’s liberal reforms, Vick demonstrates that the Congress’s merchandising of restricted constitutionalism, recognize for spiritual and nationality rights, and humanitarian interventions was once stimulated as a lot by means of liberal currents as via conservative ones.

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In this instance, Elisabeth handed over the banner to a detachment of officers who rode to the Hofburg to retrieve it for the occasion. ”40 In this the empresses imitated the seamstresses of the women’s patriotic associations Peace and Power in Display 6 37 of the Wars of Liberation in many parts of Germany, as indeed in Britain. 41 The representations of the festivities in words, image, and music did not hide the active presence of women, and in some ways emphasized it. 42 This experience, too, found an echo in the recounting of the climactic postprandial toasts in the poetic accompaniment to Anton Diabelli’s piano portrayal of the festivity: “The beauties of Vienna glorify this festival, and array themselves amid the rejoicing gathering.

On Sunday, 25 September, many were fixed—directly or vicariously—on the parade route by which Tsar Alexander and King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia would enter the city. The Tabor Bridges formed the cynosure of attention, where the pair was greeted by Emperor Franz of Austria. 1). 1 Yet the entry represented a celebration not just of the court but also of the city and its citizenry. The military escort and associated parade constituted a major part of the event, beginning with the early-morning cannon salvos that announced the approach of the foreign sovereigns several hours in advance (needlessly early, complained a rudely awakened Prince Metternich).

Attitudes began to change during the Napoleonic period, in gatherings such as the Congress of Erfurt or the famous encounter between Napoleon and Tsar Alexander at Tilsit. 3 The choreographers of Congress events like Prince Trauttmansdorff of course drew heavily on the fund of traditional display and representational culture from the old courtly-aristocratic public sphere, even as the novel presence of so many royals offered opportunities for creative experimentation and potentially headache-inspiring conundrums of etiquette.

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