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. There are various factors for the 1848 revolution in Europe includes;-
1. Nationalism; Politically there was a strong spirit of nationalism among the Italians and Germans. They resented foreign domination of Austria and strongly advocated for national unity and national political independence. The spirit of nationalism thus contributed to the outbreak of the 1848 revolutions.
2. Liberal constitutions (liberalism); The desire for liberalism had grown too strong especially in France and hungry. People demanded for political reforms of the existing political systems. They advocated for constitutional governments which by then were lacking. In France, Louis Philippe had risen to power on the ticket of preserving constitutional rights of the French people but by 1848 the French were still denied expansion of franchise (voting rights).In Hungary, the people demanded for independence and constitutional parliaments so that their political rights could be protected.
3. Widespread discontent; The Metternich system had caused a lot of discontent in the Austrian empire. There was a package of strict regulations introduced by Metternich to preserve the spirit and arrangement of the Vienna settlement.
Metternich always used force to check the growth of liberalism and nationalism. In 1819, he introduced the Carls bad law which banned peoples freedom. The press was concerned, political parties were banned and nationalist leaders were imprisoned. These conditions forced people to stage the 1848 revolutions.
4. Economic problems; The spread of the industrial revolution to the Austrian empire and France had side effects which forced the people to join the 1848 revolutions. The industrial revolution was championed by the capitalists who wanted to maximize profits by exploiting the workers. There was mass unemployment, low wages and long working hours. The masses demanded economic reforms but their respective governments were slow to respond thus they decided to stage a revolution.
5. Role of the socialists; The ideas of socialism contributed to the outbreak of the 1848 revolutions in Europe. The socialists mobilized the workers into a strong force that played an active part in the 1848 revolutions. The workers were promised better working and living conditions.
6. Natural calamities; Natural calamities partly sparked off the 1848 revolutions in France and the Austrian empire between 1846 and 1847, there was general bad weather in Austrian empire and France which was characterized by heavy rains which destroyed crops. The poor harvests were followed by severe food shortages. To make matters worse, there was an outbreak of epidemics such as typhoid and cholera. These conditions create a good atmosphere for the 1848 revolutions.
7. Chain reaction; The success of the revolution in France of February 1848 inspired similar revolutions throughout the Austrian empire because of common existing political, social and economic conditions. Following the revolution in France, Louis Philippe and his Orleans monarchy was pushed out of power. In March, the revolution spread to piedmont, Sicily and Prussia. It is from this point that historians concluded that whenever France coughs, the rest of Europe catches cold the revolution in France provided a practical example to the already discontented masses in the Austrian empire.
Therefore, it follows from the above that the 1848 revolutions, mainly broke out because of paramount political consideration the social and economic distress only facilitated the pace of the revolutionary mood.