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What were the reasons for the Congress of Vienna?

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In simple terms, the Congress of Vienna was convened to clear up the appalling mess left behind by several decades of conflict in Europe. For over three decades the continent had been wracked by bloody, bitter conflict, which could ultimately be traced to the French Revolution and its seismic political impact.

After the fall of the Directory in 1799 and the subsequent rise to power of Napoleon, Europe was plunged into even greater chaos as the Corsican general embarked upon a radical program of territorial expansion, destroying long-standing political arrangements such as the Holy Roman Empire, which had lasted for over a thousand years before Napoleon forcibly dissolved it in 1806.

The French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon had severely undermined the old social and political order on which pre-revolutionary Europe had been based. What the crowned heads of Europe regarded as dangerous ideas such as liberalism and nationalism had captured the imagination of millions. But with Napoleon now defeated and safely in exile on the island of Elba—or so everyone thought—the political elite of Europe hoped to turn the tide of history back towards monarchism and conservatism.

Hence the Congress of Vienna, which attempted to establish a long-term peace plan for the shattered continent. Even the most die-hard reactionary understood that there was no prospect of turning the clock back to how things used to be before the fall of the Bastille. Instead, the only realistic option available to the delegates at Vienna was to effect a balance of power in Europe that would prevent a single nation from becoming too powerful and from dominating all the others as Revolutionary and Napoleonic France had done.

This involved the comprehensive revision of existing national boundaries, with France inevitably the main loser as vast swathes of the territory she had acquired over the past three decades were divided up among the victorious Coalition powers.

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The map of Europe had been greatly disrupted by 23 years of warfare, as Napolean conquered and attacked many parts of the continent. After his defeat, the powers of Europe greatly wanted to reestablish stability in their favor. In order to do so, representatives from Great Britain, Austria, France, Russia, and Prussia met in Vienna to discuss reestablishing a mutually beneficial status quo.

The members of the Congress of Vienna wanted, for the most part, to restore monarchical power to the former lands of Napolean's empire. They set about squashing popular liberal movements by placing certain areas under the strong control of the great powers of Europe. The Bourbon dynasty was reestablished as the ruling family of France. Furthermore, the Papal States were restored to the control of the Vatican.

A major purpose was to prevent another great war in Europe. It attempted to do this by setting up buffer zones between France and Prussia by establishing Dutch sovereignty in what is now Belgium and the Netherlands. A lot of land was swapped between the major powers to both reward the victors and to reduce the likelihood of nationalist uprisings. For instance, Russia gained control of Finland while Sweden was given Norway in exchange. Russia took much of Poland but gave Galicia to Austria for it.

In short, the Congress of Vienna hoped to clean up the mess that Napolean had made of the continent and reestablish an order which favored the maintenance of power by the victors of the conflicts.

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The Congress of Vienna in 1815 was convened by European powers to establish a balance of power amongst them after Napoleon’s defeat. The aim of the congress was to ensure that no other dictatorship as that of Napoleon is ever established in Europe and further to maintain peaceful existence amongst the different nations. The other aim for the congress was to prevent uprisings that sought to topple established structures of governance and authority and aimed at maintaining the status quo among the different countries in Europe.

Although the Great Powers fought together to oust Napoleon there were preexisting issues among them chiefly between Russia and Prussia and between Britain and Austria. Apart from boundary issues among the European nations, other issues discussed included abolition of slavery and rights of German Jews.

Regarding the maintenance of the status quo and preventing future political uprisings the issue was addressed as exemplified by discussions about the of restoration of the Bourbon royal family in France.

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The Congress of Vienna was convened in 1814.  Its major purpose was to set up an international order for Europe after the Napoleonic Wars.  In other words, the Congress met to decide things like which lands would be controlled by who and to set up the "rules" by which European affairs would run.

As an example of the first type of thing, the Congress set up the Netherlands as a new country and they created the states of Genoa and Piedmont in Southern Europe.  They also set new boundaries for various countries like Prussia.

As an example of the second, they restored to the throne various dynasties that had been overthrown by Napoleon.  In doing so, they were essentially saying that Europe would go back to being a region of monarchies.

Overall, the point of the Congress was to try to set up a system whereby Europe could be at peace.  The Congress tried to do this by setting new boundaries and by doing things like reestablishing the monarchies in hopes that that would prevent further wars within countries.

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