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February Revolution of 1848

TFrench Revolution of February 1848 and Metternich’s downfall in Vienna resulted in uprisings in various states of Germany. The followers of nationalism and democracy started their struggle against despotic and reactionary rulers in various states such as Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Baden. Revolutionaries met with success in the beginning. Lawful monarchy was established in most of the German states. Constitutional rule and individual liberty were approved. In April 1848 in response to popular demands, the diet of the German confederation at Frankfurt decided to hold elections for a German National Assembly to devise a new federal government of the whole of Germany. Popular elections were held in which the liberals obtained a large majority. The new assembly met at Frankfurt in May 1848.The Assembly proclaimed a national German empire and proceeded with the work of drafting a constitution. It was assumed by the liberals that the new Germany would be a federation and that the central government would be monarchical and parliamentary. The parliament drafted the constitution of the federation in 1849 and decided to raise the ruler of Prussia to the glory of the German Emperor. But Frederick William IV declined the offer. He feared that other German states might feel jealous of him. So he refused the imperial crown. It shattered the hopes of liberalists and nationalists. Thus the work of the Frankfurt Assembly failed. The liberals protested and tried to dethrone princes and set up republics in various parts of Germany. But these were speedily suppressed by the Prussian troops. The collapse of the revolutionary movement of 1849 was a great disappointment to the liberals of Germany.