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Congress of Vienna and the Congress System

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on February 16, 2007 at 2:13:18 pm

Vienna Congress


  • Probably painted by Jean-Baptiste Isabey in 1819.
  • Metternich (Austria) is posing at left, speaking and gesturing with his left hand.
  • Castlereagh (Great Britain) is seated with his legs crossed and left arm langorously resting on the table.
  • Talleyrand (France) is seated at the far right, with his right arm resting on the table, looking sceptically at the man who is speaking and gesturing in front of him.
  • Nesselrode (Russia) is seated behind the table, holding papers in his hands, and is looking in Talleyrand's direction.


*Formed from major powers of Europe*

*Chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (Austrain statesman)*

*Purpose:  Redraw continent's political map after defeat Napoleonic France*

*Napoleon returned from exile, but discussions continued*

*Their final act was signed nine days before Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo (June 18, 1815)*

*Some say the congress never took place because they met in informal sessions among the Great Powers*

*Began to be criticized as having ignored national and liberal impulses*

*Later became a major part in the Conservative Order*

*Finally in the 20th century the members have come to be recognized and respected*


Congress Process


The arrest of Charles Edward-Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle*


*Also called Concert of Europe*

*Series of meetings between old great powers between 1815 and 1822*

*Founding Members:  Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia*

*The founding members were also members of the fourth coalition which was the reason Napoleon fell*

*Leaders:  Britain's foreign secretary Lord Castlereagh, Austrain chancellor Prince Metternich, and the Tsar of Russia Alexander I*

*Primary Objectives:  1.  Contain France after decades of war; 2.  Acheive balance of power between Europe's great powers; 3.  Uphold territorial arangements made at Congress of Vienna; 4.  Prevent rise of ruler similiar to Napoleon which would result in another continent wide war*

*Generally considered successful because war between great powers didn't break out until Crimean War forty years later*

*France successfully reentered into European alliance in 1818 at Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle*

*After that, congress system began to fall apart because of diagreements between the main powers*

*Despite failure, marked important step in European and World diplomacy*




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