Contra: Congress of Vienna

When Napoleon was finally defeated, after crushing most every European power except Britain and Russia, the map of Europe had to redrawn. This was handled by the Congress of Vienna. During the Congress, Napoleon escaped and attempted again to conquer Europe, and was defeated at Waterloo. The map of Europe led to a sort of peace for the next 100 years (until the first World war ), the conflicts there are covered here .
Their entourages of ministers, ambassadors, equerries, aides-de-camp, ladies-in-waiting, when added to the Austrian court and the soviety of Vienna, made up the largest aristocratic gathering there had ever been. And the sheer number of interested parties converging on the city would make this the greatest diplomatic contest of all time.1
The Congress itself, representing almost all the countries of Europe, was not beset by translation difficulties, as most everyone spoke the diplomatic language of Europe at the time, French.
Very little of the machinations involved the concerns of the affected populations, despite some high-sounding talk, especially from Talleyrand of France, and after the negotiations Europe's linguistic map was as mismatched with its national map as before.

Most of the concerns were dynastic in origin, with Prussia, especially, attempting to maximize the number of persons, not land, over which its King ruled.2 History would show that this was one of the last great efforts of dynastism in Europe, which would be extinguished within 150 years, although nearly 100 years of relative calm followed.
Poland and Saxony
These were the two thorniest problems for the Congress. There was some support for uniting partitioned Poland, especially from England, but that was, in part, just a move to keep Russia further out of Europe, and does not appear to be motivated by a desire to let the Poles run their own business. France, at one point, when trying to get England to join her in an attempt to save the King of Saxony's lands, said that another war in Europe could be made popular to the English people by making it about "[t]he re-establishement of Poland."3

The United Kingdom of the Netherlands
The creation of a United Kingdom of the Netherlands was of strategic importance to the British, and ignored the linguistic elements. They did not want France to control all of her claimed "natural borders ," which some of the monarchs were willing to consider, because this would have given France control over all the coastline between England and Europe. The united Belgium and Netherlands only lasted 15 years before it broke down. Part of the road to separation was the language difference.
Again, although many considerations and proposed solutions had nothing to do with language, multi-lingual Switzerland was of join linguistic and religious interest to the representative of France, who, in addition to protecting France's interests, was keen to "fulfil a perceived obligation to save the Francophone Catholics of the former Bishropic of Bale from the German-speaking Protestants of Berne.4

The German Bund
The development of the constitution for Germany was protacted and difficult, with dozens of princes and cities having their own interests. Regardless, the Bund, or constitution, was to be for all the numerous German states, and was to include only such parts of Prussian or Austrian lands which were populated by Germans.5

Comments or Questions about this page? Click here
Revision 164 as of 2008-05-03 22:24:04
Copyright 2003-2013 by Joshua Simeon Narins