The 1848 has been regarded as the year of revolution in Europe. The revolutions broke out mainly in France and the Austrian empire. There were mainly directed against the spirit of the Vienna arrangement of 1815. In France, the 1848 revolutions contributed to the downfall of Louis Philippe and his Orleans monarchy, while in Austria Empire the 1848 revolutions lead to the downfall of Metternich. The following are the common characteristics of the Europe revolution in 1848;-
1. Reaction against the Vienna settlement; The 1848 revolutions were opposed to the Vienna settlement of 1815 thus the revolutions were either nationalists or liberal in nature. In Germany and Italy states, there was a strong feeling for national unity and political independence. In France and Hungary, there were strong feelings for liberal ideas.
2. Urban based revolutions; The 1848 revolutions were urban centered and with less impact on the country side. They were common in cities like Paris, Berlin, Rome and Milan.
3. Lack of mass mobilization; The 1848 revolutions was started and led by intellectuals such as university professors, poets, journalists and teachers. The merchant class also took an active role in organizing the revolutions. The peasants were not actively involved and perhaps this explains why these revolutions were short lived.
4. Reaction against the side effects of the industrial revolution; The 1848 revolutions erupted in less industrialized countries of Europe such as France and Austria whose economies were based on agriculture. The spread of the industrial revolution from Britain led to various effects which left many people dissatisfied. The workers were exploited and oppressed through low wages and long working hours.
5.Promotion of the French revolutionary ideals; The 1848 revolutions promoted the ideals of the French revolution. There was a lot in common between the 1848 revolutions and the French revolution. There was formation of national guards to protect the gains of the revolutions, liberal constitutions were advocated for to protect peoples political liberty.
6. Short lived revolutions; Most of the 1848 revolutions failed by the end of 1849 to achieve their desire and goals, they were only partially successful in France where the Orleans monarchy was forced out of power. The provisional government that was established was too weak to solve the problems of the French population.
In the case of Austrian empire, the 1848 revolution in Piedmont, Hungary and Prussia to a certain extent forced the respective governments to grant liberal constitutions but by the end of 1849 they were defeated and the constitutions were withdrawn.