• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable." Discuss this verdict on the Congress System.

Extracts from this document...


"The conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable." Discuss this verdict on the Congress System. There were several reasons for why the Congress System failed to succeed, among these the conflicting interests of the Great Powers. In order for us to judge whether or not the conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable, it is necessary to identify what were the other reasons and assess their importance, thus drawing a fair conclusion. Most historians use the term 'Congress System' or 'Concert of Europe' to describe the period after 1815 when the Great Powers attempted to co-operate in order to maintain peace after the collapse of Napoleonic France. This 'Congress' can be resumed to four periodic meetings: at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818; Troppau in 1820; Laibach in 1821; and Verona in 1822; and from these conferences, the birth of the term 'Congress system', perhaps a bit too ambitious. Along with the conflicting aims of the Great Powers; the extinction of common purpose, no organizational system, influence of individuals, and internal disagreements were essential for the Congress' failure. The Congress System was established with the initial purpose of making reforms to the Vienna Settlement, as a great period of peace had resulted from this settlement, and improving the life of the people. Thus two alliances, the Holly Alliance and Quadruple Alliance, were created. ...read more.


There was no such thing as a Congress System. Not only because of the conflicting interests of the Great Powers, but also because of the lack of a permanent organization. Without a permanent organization, no material was collected for examination, no agenda was created and no rules were agreed upon; thus making it impossible to achieve and carry out tasks and objectives. For this simple reason one can say that if anything, the Congress System was a mere utopia. The meetings randomly occurred and there was no agreement between the Great Powers as to what the Congresses were for. This proves that with no organizational system and no clear objectives of the Great Powers since the beginning only led to its inevitable failure. Furthermore, the influence of individuals played a very active role on the fall of the Congress System. In 1825, Tsar Alexander of Russia dies and is succeeded by Nicholas I. The new emperor was indifferent to the Quadruple Alliance, for he did not participate in its creation or its activities. Nicholas I also disliked Metternich, leading him to support Greek revolutionaries, thus going against the Troppau Protocol, since he was actually encouraging revolts instead of oppressing them. Simultaneously, Canning was doing anything he could possibly do to make the Congress System fall apart; for he believed the original purpose of this congress was betrayed by the Great Powers in order to fulfill their own interests. ...read more.


France also agrees to the treaty, only Austria and Prussia do not take part, changing the whole nature of the Great Power relations. In Spain, the revolt developed into a civil war. Both France and Russian were willing to intervene and oppress the revolution, but neither Metternich nor Castlereagh were interested. After Castlereagh committed suicide, Canning replaced him, again changing the course of events, since Canning had no interest on the Congress System for he believed in the rule that 'every nation for itself.' Canning did not co-operate on Spain and finally withdrawn from the Congress. Without Britain and without any respect towards their values and interests, the Congress System was reaching its final stage. The term 'Congress System' is vague, and like so many of the 'systems' in history, the congress System is probably an invention of historians. Certainly because it was anything but systematic; there was no agreement between the powers on what the congresses were for; and no common purpose was present whatsoever. None of the alliances or treaties were respected, instead were ignored when the Powers wanted to achieved their personal goals. If nothing, the Congress System only brought more chaos and confusion to Europe, with the exception of Greece; almost revived militant Jacobinism; and proved the selfish character of the Great Powers. Since the beginning the conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable; since the beginning the Congress System was destined to fail. Carolina Andreoli History HL 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. Power and Significance Of Congress

    there were 135 Congressional investigations, showing how little oversight there was during Bush's first term. However, when there is divided government then oversight is undoubtedly far more effective. By February 2007 there had been more people forced out of the executive than in the first six years of Bush's time in office, including Alberto Gonzalez (Attorney General)

  2. Presidential Powers

    An example of an EO was the introduction of the Patriot Act. Though, here again Congress's role comes into play; In 2005 Congress took the opportunity to exercise their checks against the President by rejecting George Bush's proposal to extend the Patriot act.

  1. US pressures groups are undemocratic, discuss

    Furthermore their boards are self appointed not elected and they are not normal working class people so they could be out of touch with public opinion and will be representing the more affluent American society. Those groupings that do have an open, democratic structure are dominated by the wealthiest sections

  2. Assess the power and significance of congress.

    Although these events of an extremely weak congress and a powerful president and vice versa are possible, they are not regular, and the power of both the executive and the legislature depend on a two way relationship. Often neither party will be in presidency and have both houses, and they

  1. "The conflicting interests of the Great Powers made its failure inevitable." Discuss this veredict ...

    The lack of British incentive for crucial decisions that surely influenced on the System's collapse is one good example of how conflicting interests hindered the Congress System's actions. The second congress, known as the Congress of Troppau, was held in Dec.

  2. Using Suetonius and Res Gestae, assess how effective Octavian was in enlisting Senatorial Support ...

    Augustus also easily changed the responsibilities and conditions of the Magistrates. For example, in order to increase the chance of people becoming (and therefore the number of noble families) the length of service of a consul was shortened from 1 year to 6 months after 5BC.

  1. "Compare the successes and failures of Castlereagh and Canning's Foreign Policies"

    To make amends, he signed a Treaty with the French, where it was stated that they would not intervene in any other Spanish colonies, for example, countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Cuba and etc. He diplomatically recognised independence of these states and was hailed as a major influence in the liberation process.

  2. Doctrine of the separation of powers.

    On the other hand the most glaring breach of the doctrine of separation of powers is provided by the functions performed by the Lord Chancellor. He is a member of the executive as head of the Lord Chancellor's department and therefore a member of the Cabinet.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work