A "Geographical Expression"
History provides few examples of the single-minded determination with which the victorious allies of the anti-French coalition applied their policy after Napoleon’s defeat. Statesmen such as Metternich tried to restore the political order as it had existed before the French Revolution insofar as it was possible, but in the long run conservatives could not suppress the national and constitutional aspirations unleashed in Europe by the French. In their attempts to contain the effects of the economic, social, and legislative changes of the revolutionary era, the restored rulers met with little success. On the other hand, Austria proved remarkably successful in keeping control of the areas in which it had established its political domination—in Italy until 1860 and in Germany until 1866.
In both Italy and Europe during the Restoration, the tension between an evolving society and a repressive political order drove events. With the industrial revolution’s progress and the spread of liberalism, how quickly a particular society changed and to what extent governments endeavored to block the political ramifications of that evolution became crucial variables determining the history of different areas.
Even before the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna ( June 9, 1815), Austria, England, Russia, and Prussia established a twenty-year alliance against possible renewed French aggression in the postrevolutionary era ( Treaty of Chaumont, March 9, 1814). The powers supplemented this pact with the Holy Alliance ( September 1815). Originally based on the vague mysticism of Russian Tsar Alexander I, this agreement became a prime instrument of antirevolutionary intervention under Metternich’s influence. With Castlereagh’s cooperation, the great powers instituted the "Concert of Europe," which called a series of congresses in the 1820s and sanctioned the powers’ intervention against revolts