Age of Revolution

The Age of Revolution is a period from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries in which a number of significant revolutionary movements occurred in most of Europe and the Americas.[2] The period is noted for the change from absolutist monarchies to representative governments with a written constitution, and the creation of nation states.

Age of Revolution
Scene from the French Revolution
DateLate 18th century–1849
OutcomeIndustrial Revolution
Multiple revolutionary waves
Atlantic Revolutions
Latin American wars of independence
Revolutions of 1820
Revolutions of 1830
Revolutions of 1848
End of feudalism
Widespread implementation of Republicanism
DeathsAmerican Revolution: 37,324+[1]

French Revolution: 150,000+[1] Napoleonic Wars: 3,500,000–7,000,000 (see Napoleonic Wars casualties)

Over 3,687,324–7,187,324 casualties (other wars excluded)

Influenced by the new ideas of the Enlightenment, the American Revolution (1765–1783) is usually considered the starting point of the Age of Revolution. It in turn inspired the French Revolution of 1789, which rapidly spread to the rest of Europe through its wars. In 1799, Napoleon took power in France and continued the French Revolutionary Wars by conquering most of continental Europe. Although Napoleon imposed on his conquests several modern concepts such as equality before the law, or a civil code, his rigorous military occupation triggered national rebellions, notably in Spain and Germany. After Napoleon's defeat, European great powers forged the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna in 1814–15, in an attempt to prevent future revolutions, and also restored the previous monarchies. Nevertheless, Spain was considerably weakened by the Napoleonic Wars and could not control its American colonies, almost all of which proclaimed their independence between 1810 and 1820. Revolution then spread back to southern Europe in 1820, with uprisings in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Continental Europe was shaken by two similar revolutionary waves in 1830 and 1848, also called the Spring of Nations. The democratic demands of the revolutionaries often merged with independence or national unification movements, such as in Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, etc. The violent repression of the Spring of Nations marked the end of the era.

The expression was popularised by the British historian Eric Hobsbawm in his book The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848, published in 1962.[3]