Germany Before 1848
Before 1848 Germany DBQ The political, economical, and social order of the Germanic states in the nineteenth century was in a state of chaos and disarray.Politically, the states had the desire of becoming unified and had the possibility to do so if it had not been for fear and neglect to follow through.Economically, the states were in a time of hardships with poor growth development in the fields and were also going through the time of the Industrial Revolution with changes to their everyday lives.
Socially, the Germanic states were divided into a feudal system that was determined by birth status and wealth.
The middle class, made up of scholars and students, and aristocracy had shared the same fear of the commoners’ revolt due to the political failure in attempt to unify the Germanic states, and had wanted to maintain their rights as well as becoming unified without giving the lower class any more power. The economic structure was poor and resulted with unemployment and higher food prices, which enabled the peasants to be outraged in anger towards the government for lack of action to make the necessary changes causing them to revolt in hopes of more stability financially while also desiring a unification of the German states.
The middle class of the Germanic states were educated persons with an interest on their society. Politically, they were concerned about the development of unity between the states. Some questioned what was so difficult about this unification, such as the professor Ernst Moritz Anndt whom had also written poetry on the matter n the mindset that a Father land or a single body would be the best way to be (doc. 1). Others were in high hopes that the unification would take place as soon as possible with faith in the armies and nobility to do so.
One of these individuals was Goerres who was excited about this notion as clearly portrayed in his pamphlet in 1819 that a republican constitution was underway (doc. 2). Economically, the middle class was concerned with how the lower class would deal with the current hardships from the crop failure. An economist Fredrick List was one that was concerned with the health of the lower class and the availability of bread in his pamphlet in 1834 describing how the body would deal with the poor health in which they were receiving (doc. ). Others took less concern with the lower class situation and were in a state of new inventions and discovering which had created confusion. Riegel was a book seller who had written an essay discussing the economic changes that the Germanic states were going through and how they would possibly cope with these changes (doc. 6). The middle class was sufficient with their social status where they did not have to pay taxes. They also did not want the lower class to receive more power than they deserved.
The middle class believed that the actions of the lower class were not deserving of more power due to their actions such as the riots depicted in Prussia (doc. 9). The middle class was experiencing the changes along with the aristocracy. The aristocracy had many of the same views and opinions as the middle class. They lived in fear of the revolt of the lower class. They however needed the courage to fight for politically they too wanted unification with dependency on the princes and soldiers (doc. ). Economically, aristocracy had money in a time where most did not. They survived in better comfort than most but still managed to struggle when it came to providing for family members. In a women’s perspective, the labor of spinning wool was endless with little compensation due to the fact that they were still required to pay taxes and rent to the government and landowners (doc. 7). The aristocracy found this to be an issue that was to be fixed by the king, for it was his responsibility.
However, they still believed everyone should be in high spirits and have good attitudes, because if the economy is weak but the public is strong it depicts overall power of the states (doc. 10). Aristocracy was socially towards the top of the feudal system and looked down on all others below. The lower class was surviving in anger towards the governmental state before the revolutions in 1848. They were experiencing many struggles in which made it difficult for survival without necessary changes of the king.
The commoners were emotionally a wreck and the economy was so poor that they would potentially do anything for food alone. During the bread distribution in Stettin in 1847, lower class citizens were tumbling over one another, pushing and fighting just to get a piece or loaf of bread to feed their families (doc. 9) which simply goes to show lack of organization and a deeper need for change in order to provide these citizens better economic stature. Socially, the commoners were miserable at the bottom of the social classes with little possessions and higher prices.
Some people revolted and others wrote down their anger as seen through a hateful pamphlet in disgust of the work of the princes and governmental confidence to make changes (doc. 11) found in 1847. The lower class revolted in anger of the government because of their situations they were dealing with at home and the lack of acknowledgement from the government aside from taking the only money they had in their pockets, but essentially these actions did little to their overall aspirations of achieving recognition and better rights.
Despite the poor political, economic, and social order of the Germanic states before 1848, they still attained potential to change and become a unified nation. The political issue of becoming unified was spoken by the middle class, aristocracy, and commoners all in view that there should and potentially could be done. Economically, there was little to be done and socially the classes remained the same with equivalent powers as the start of the time period. The feelings and actions of the classes were in response to their individual status and power.