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»Oh Britannia! of your freedom (...) just a hatful!« is what Friedrich Daniel Schubart, the Swabian poet and publicist of the Enlightenment, wished for himself and his German compatriots in 1774. He recalled the British constitutional tradition, but above all the time-honoured civil liberties of the English people, set down in the Magna Charta (1215), defended in the Glorious Revolution (1688), and guaranteed anew by the Bill of Rights (1689). The French revolutionaries, too, cried out for freedom in 1789 and demanded liberty from feudalistic tyranny. After 1791 the motto of the French Revolution became »Liberty, Equality, Fraternity«, a slogan that has remained in the collective consciousness until the present day both in and outside of France. Ever since this epoch-making event, the turning point of Europe on the way to the modern age, the cry for freedom has reverberated across the continent: the cry for individual freedom inscribed in human and civil rights as well as freedom in the sense of national independence and sovereignty. The French Revolution influenced, directly or indirectly, the history of all European states and nations. As in its motherland, the Revolution was everywhere the object of passionate and antithetical perception. For with the coming of the Revolution, and especially in consequence of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars and French hegemony over Europe, national consciousness awakened in all corners of the continent. A few nations succeeded in achieving the desired freedom without spilling blood, others flung themselves into ruinous conflicts, while still other countries that could look back upon a long tradition discovered in their own past the foundations for legitimising their national identity.



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The French Revolution of 1789

Belgium level1.gif (211 Byte)

The Revolution of 1830/31



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The Greek Struggle for Freedom, 1821-1830

level1.gif (211 Byte) The Fall of Missolonghi 1825/26
Hungary level1.gif (211 Byte) Sándor Petöfi's Death 1849
Austria level1.gif (211 Byte) The Battle of Aspern, 1809
Germany level1.gif (211 Byte) The Call-Up of Volunteers in 1813
Spain level1.gif (211 Byte) The "Dos de Mayo" in Madrid, 1808


level1.gif (211 Byte) The Polish Constitution of 1791
level1.gif (211 Byte) The Kosciuszko Insurrection of 1794
Denmark level1.gif (211 Byte) Agrarian Reforms in the Late 18th Century
Norway level1.gif (211 Byte) The Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll, 1814
Switzerland level1.gif (211 Byte) The Internment of the Bourbaki Army, 1871
Great Britain


level1.gif (211 Byte) The Magna Carta of 1215
level1.gif (211 Byte) The Landing of Wilhelm III of Orange at Torbay in 1688
The Czech Republic level1.gif (211 Byte) The Battle of White Mountain, 1620
The Netherlands


level1.gif (211 Byte) The Defence of Leyden, 1574
level1.gif (211 Byte) The Murder of Prince William of Orange, 1584
Italy level1.gif (211 Byte) The Uprising in Genoa, 1746
Sweden level1.gif (211 Byte) The Foundation of Gustavus Vasa's Protestant Sweden at the Beginning of the16th Century


Table of Content | Introduction |Freedom (II) | Faith and War | Where we come from... | Imprint

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