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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Vormärz, or the pre-March era, is the time period leading up to the failed March 1848 revolution in the German Confederation. Also known as the Age of Metternich, it was a period of Austrian and Prussian police states and vast censorship in response to calls for liberalism. The beginning of the censorship was Metternich’s Carlsbad Decrees in 1819. With the decrees the freedom of the press was restricted. The ideals of the enlightenment were reversed. The succession of the mentally handicapped Ferdinand I to the throne in 1835 made it possible for Metternich to have responsibility of the internal and external affairs of the Austrian Empire. Nationalism and the social developments in the empire created more tensions that would eventually erupt in the form of the March 1848 revolution. The emerging working class was looked at as a political, rather than a social, problem.

The rise of liberalism would eventually be the downfall for Metternich and Ferdinand. Liberal ideals were coming from the upper aristocracy and the middle classes. The dissent of the middle class was extremely evident. In Hungary the Diet was called during the time period. In the 1836-39 Diet there were little gains made, but significant to the peasant class. Along with the abolishment of serfdom in Hungary, it no longer was a question of class but of the national position and the right of the authority of Vienna. The conflicting ideas would eventually come to a head in the March 1848 revolution.

Vormärz is also the name of a movement in German literature during the same time. It is predominated by an increasing interest of authors in political and social topics.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Vormärz" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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