Long 19th Century


Revolutionary Ideas & Conservative Response

French Revolution

1789 - 1799

The theme of the French Revolution was Liberté, Equalité, and Fraternité. These three ideas were developed and implemented during the period of the Revolution. Although the Revolution radicalized and turned to the Directory and eventually Napoleon, it still had espoused important ideas such as nation, citizen, political freedom, merit, and economic equality.

Napoleonic Wars

November 1799 - November 20, 1815

Napoleon's campaigns were important for three primary reasons: 1) Redrew the map of Europe and prepared the way for the establishment of Italy and Germany, 2) Created the need in other states to mobilize the masses which required some level of common feeling (nationalism) to drive them to work together, and 3) It spread the ideas of the Revolution (Napoleonic Code)

Napoleon Crowned Emperor

December 2, 1804

Napoleon being crowned as Emperor established him as a "legitimate" ruler to some degree. Furthermore, it expressed expansionist ideals. To some it also symbolized the end of the Revolution even though Napoleon kept some of the main ideas of the Revolution.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814 - June 1815

This ended the Napoleonic Wars (Although Napoleon returned for the Hundred Days) and was dominated by Klemens von Metternich. It attempted to reestablish legitimate monarchies, create a balance of power, and maintain order to avoid revolution and new ideologies.

Year of Revolutions

February 23, 1848 - 1849

The liberals, radicals/republicans, and nationalists were able to gain some of their demands in government, such as parliaments. However, within a year, many of these successes had been rolled back.

The Nation-State & Empire

Wars of German Unification

February 1864 - January 1871

Otto von Bismarck through a series of wars, unified the German states under Prussia. In successive wars against Denmark, Austria, and France, Prussia was able to defeat its enemies and unite the various German states.


January 18, 1871

The Prussian monarch became the emperor of Germany. This symbolizes the connection nationalism with the conservative powers. It also established Germany as the most powerful state on the continent of Europe.

Scramble for Africa

1880 - 1914

The European powers raced to take control of various areas of Africa in order to gain new markets and resources. They dominated local populations and expressed European superiority. This also led to competition among European states over colonies.

Diplomacy & Nationalism


October 22, 1873 - March 18, 1890

Bismarck was able to maintain Germany in a position of power as the "Concert of Europe" broke down. He used alliances with the various great powers of Europe to keep France isolated from other powers. He primarily focused on relationships with Austria and Russia.


1890 - 1914

Following Bismarck's forced resignation, Germany failed to maintain France's isolation in the diplomatic systems in Europe. Over time, two alliance systems developed. One was based on a German/Austrian alliance and the other based on a French/Russian alliance.


July 28, 1914 - November 11, 1918

In 1914, the competing alliance systems led most states in Europe, and their colonies, into a general war. This war was fought with the full industrial might of the powers and led to heavy casualties on all sides and a general stalemate for 3 years.



The peace which accompanied the end of World War I. It sought to punish the defeated powers by limiting their future ability to wage war, forcing financial payments, and dividing their territory and colonies. The various nations of the world all desired their own states, but only a few European states received them.