In September 1814, the rulers of Europe and their ministers descended upon Vienna after two decades of revolution and war. Their task was to redraw continental borders following the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire. Inevitably, all of the major decisions were made by the leading statesmen of the five 'great powers'-Castlereagh, Metternich, Talleyrand, Hardenberg and Tsar Alexander of Russia. The territorial reconstruction of Europe marks only one part of this story. Over the next seven years, Europe witnessed unrest in Germany, Britain, and France, and revolution in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Piedmont, Greece, and Romania. Against this backdrop, the Congress of Vienna was followed by an audacious experiment in international cooperation and counter-revolution, known as the 'Congress System'. This system marked the first genuine attempt to forge an 'international order' based upon consensus rather than conflict. The goal of the Congress statesmen was to secure long-term peace and stability by controlling the pace of political change through international supervision and intervention.
The fear of revolution that first gave rise to the Congress System quickly became its exclusive concern, sowing division amongst its members and ironically ensuring its collapse. Despite this failure, the Congress System had a profound influence. The reliance on diplomacy as the primary means of conflict resolution; the devotion to multilateralism; the emphasis on international organization as a vehicle for preserving peace; the use of concerted action to promote international legitimacy - all these notions were by-products of the Congress System. In this book, Mark Jarrett argues that the decade of the Congresses marked the true beginning of our modern era. Based on original research and previously unseen sources, this book provides a fresh exploration of this pivotal moment in world history.
Mark Jarrett holds a PhD in History from Stanford University. He has taught at Hofstra University and Stanford University.
PREFACE PART ONE: WAR THE EUROPEAN STATE SYSTEM AND THE NAPOLEONIC WARS The European State System of the Eighteenth Century The Challenge of the French Revolution The Rise of Napoleon The Birth of the Napoleonic Empire and the War of the Third Coalition The Napoleonic Empire at its Height The Plans of Czartoryski and Pitt for the Reconstruction of Europe 2. THE COLLAPSE OF THE NAPOLEONIC EMPIRE, 1812-1814 Napoleon's Invasion of Russia and the Fourth Coalition Castlereagh's Mission to the Continent Negotiations at Chatillon The Treaty of Chaumont The Bourbon Restoration The First Peace of Paris PART TWO: PEACE 3. THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA, 1814-1815 The Decision to Convene a Congress Preliminary Negotiations in Paris and London The Characters of the Statesmen Diplomatic Aims on the Eve of the Congress The Procedural Question The Social Life of the Congress The Polish Question and Alexander's Diplomatic Triumph The Saxon Question and the Secret Treaty of 3 January 1815 The Other Questions at the Congress The Question of a General Guarantee Assessments of the Settlement 4. THE BIRTH OF THE CONGRESS SYSTEM, 1815-1818 The Hundred Days The Second Peace of Paris and the Quadruple Alliance The Holy Alliance The Allied Occupation of France The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle PART THREE: DIPLOMACY 5. THE ALLIANCE IN OPERATION, 1819-1820 Central Europe and the Carlsbad Decrees Peterloo and the Six Acts The Revolution in Spain and Castlereagh's State Paper of 5 May 1820 The Neapolitan Revolution and Metternich's Dilemma 6. RIFT AND REUNION, 1820-1822 The Congress of Troppau and the Principles of Intervention The Congress of Laibach and the Piedmontese Insurrection The Greek Revolution, the Hanover Interview and the Threat of a Russo-Turkish War 7. THE TWILIGHT OF THE CONGRESS SYSTEM, 1822-1823 The Congress of Verona The French Expedition to Spain The End of the Congress System 8. THE LEGACY OF THE CONGRESS SYSTEM: SUCCESS OR FAILURE? NOTES SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY