This Week in History

Return of Vienna’s Emperor:

August 12, 1848

The following is an excerpt from our text, Light to the Nations II:The Making of the Modern World. It continues our series on the 1848 revolutions in Austria. You may read these posts here, here, here, and hereFor information on ordering this or our other texts, please go here.

Emperor Ferdinand I

The revolutionaries in Vienna cheered when they heard of Radetzky’s victories in Lombardy. Why did they cheer? After all, Radetzky’s enemies should have been their friends. Both the Viennese and Lombard revolutionaries were Liberals. Both battled what they thought was tyranny. Yet the Viennese radicals welcomed the news of Radetzky’s victories. Why?

The answer is simple. The Viennese revolutionaries were Liberals, but they were also nationalists. They cheered Radetzky, for he had led German and Austrian arms in triumph over people of a different nation. The success of Liberal ideals meant less to the Viennese insurgents than their nation’s glory.

Such nationalism could be found as well in the German and Hungarian diets. The German and Magyar Liberals wanted liberty and citizen rights for themselves, but not necessarily for other nationalities. Kossuth fought for Magyars but wanted to keep down the Slav minorities in Hungary. This only alienated the Slavs from the cause of Hungarian independence. The Viennese revolutionaries also alienated the Slavs by cheering the news that in June the imperial Austrian army under Alfred, Prince zu Windischgrätz, had crushed the Czech revolution in Prague.

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This Week in History

The Holy Roman Empire’s Quiet End: August 6, 1806

The crown of the Holy Roman Empire, in use from the 11th century until the empire’s dissolution in 1806

Napoleon … left the pope alone for a time because, once again, war threatened the French empire. Prussia was growing restless. King Friedrich Wilhelm III had discovered that betraying the Russians and the Austrians had not paid off; Napoleon’s power was growing and was extending into the lands Prussia wished to dominate—the numerous duchies, principalities, and kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire.

Since his rise to power, Napoleon had seized several German imperial lands. He had made German territories west of the Rhine part of France. He had taken Hanover from King George III of Great Britain. He had made the kingdoms of Württemberg and Bavaria his allies. And, now, in July 1806, he threatened to force most of Germany to acknowledge his overlordship.

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This Week in History

A New Plan to Destroy California’s Missions: August 2, 1833

The following text comes from our high school book, Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. To see sample chapters of this book, go here. For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here. 

President Anastasio Bustamante

When Governor Echeandía ignored Monterey and set up his government at San Diego, he created a good deal of ill will in the north of California and awakened latent rivalries between the south and the north. But the governor proved he could unite the interests of the leaders of both parts of Alta California when, in July 1830, he lay before the diputación a plan to secularize the missions.

Echeandía proposed that, beginning with the missions nearest the presidios, the government should take control of the temporalities (lands and anything having to do with economic production) from the missionaries and deliver them to salaried officials. The friars would function essentially as parish priests, or they could depart to establish new missions in the interior. The neophytes would be granted a share in the mission lands. The plan, which would basically hand control of the the neophytes and their lands over to a small group of Californios who had long wanted to seize the missions to exploit them, was approved by the diputación and then sent to Mexico City for approval. Continue reading

This Week in History

The End of Milan’s Revolution:

July 25, 1848

The following is an excerpt from our text, Light to the Nations II:The Making of the Modern World. It continues our series on the 1848 revolutions in Italy that we began here. For information on ordering this or our other texts, please go here.

File:Carlo Alberto in divisa.jpg

King Carlo Alberto

Though it had begun with much promise, the revolution in Milan was already showing signs of weakness in the early summer of 1848. One big weakness was the fact that Liberals were divided among themselves. The moderate Liberals, made up of nobility and middle-class landowners, had taken control of the government of Milan and of all Lombardy. The moderates were in favor of uniting Lombardy to Carlo Alberto’s kingdom of Piedmont. The extreme republicans, who opposed the moderates, wanted no kings, but a republic. And they desired an independent Lombardy. They would have nothing to do with Piedmont.

But the new rulers of Lombardy made a serious mistake in how they treated the peasants. Peasants had not played a large part in earlier Italian revolutions; but poor harvests in the years 1845 to 1847—along with heavy taxes, debts, and general suffering—had made many peasants favor revolution. Because governments in some parts of Italy did not control trade, foreign merchants were taking the little food Italians had and shipping it out of Italy. In some regions, poor peasants were forced to give up their communal lands to private owners.

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An Education on the Camino

by Michael Van Hecke, M.Ed.

This summer my wife and I were blessed to be able to go on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela with our son. The Camino, The Way, is a many-centuries-old pilgrimage across Spain to the resting place of the remains of St. James the Apostle: Santiago.

This is my third Camino, and like the others,