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Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of FearFrom Absolutism to Neo-Conservatism$
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Marc Mulholland

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199653577

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199653577.001.0001

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The Turning Point

The Turning Point

(p.60) 4 The Turning Point
Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear

Marc Mulholland

Oxford University Press

It is explained how Chartism in Britain signalled the emergence of the working class as a major political force: Chartism is repressed and appeased to defeat. Marx's response to the Prussian United Landtag of 1847 is discussed to delineate Marx's understanding of ‘bourgeois revolution’ as a contemporary phenomenon. After the prologue of the Swiss civil war, the 1848 pan-European ‘Springtime of Peoples’ is analysed to explain its initial dramatic success and rapidly following defeat. Having survived the ultimate challenge of revolution, the European states adopted a confident ‘neo-absolutism’, under which the state sidelined the aristocracy, fostered commercialism, and experimented with controlled constitutionalism to reinforce fiscal-governance (as discussed by Alexis de Tocqueville). Marx and Engels’ post-mortem on 1848, combining themes both of bourgeois betrayal and capitalist triumph, is discussed.

Keywords:   Chartism, United Landtag, 1848 Revolutions, Marx, Alexis de Tocqueville

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