The Congress of Vienna Essay

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The Peace Settlement of the Congress of Vienna

The Congress of Vienna, which consisted of the five great European powers Britain, France, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, met from September of 1814 until June of 1815. The major people, led primarily by Klemens von Metternich, who took part in the Congress were Castlereagh, Maurice de Talleyrand, Fredrick William III, and Alexander I. The strategy of this anti-nationalistic congress was to restore social and political order in Europe through establishing a balance of power by keeping France from pursuing further aggression and to settle growing disputes. The Congress wanted to restore harmony to Europe and give power to conservatism, opposed to the growing liberal ideas. The extreme conservatism of the Congress, especially Metternich’s program, would lead the Congress of Vienna to certain problems. When the Congress of Vienna met, they met to achieve three goals: to create a balance of power, to contain France by surrounding it with stronger countries, and to establish legitimacy. They agreed to redraw the map of Europe to establish an equilibrium of powers, preventing a country from creating an uprising. They established buffer states between the great powers to prevent France from expansion. To create harmony within Europe, Metternich created the Principle of Legitimacy that stated that the old dynasties who had been driven from the throne should be restored to power. These old dynasties were the Bourbons to France, the House of Orange to Holland, and the Habsburgs to Northern Italy. The Quadruple Alliance agreed to defend the Principle of Legitimacy as the status quo of the Congress against any threat to the balance of power. The socials views of the Congress of Vienna were centered around conservatism and stopping the ideas of nationalism and liberalism from spreading, especially to the Americas. The Congress set up a stong aristocracy to accompany the restoration of the old dynasties. Within the Congress, a key alliance was set up between Francis I of Austria, King Fredrick William III, and the Czar Alexander I called the Holy Alliance. In this, the three pledged to base their relations with other nations on Christian principle to combat the forces of revolution. The Concert of Europe was a