Russian Perspectives on European Order: ‘Review of the Year 1819’

  • Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter
Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750–1850 book series


Across the European continent the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) marked the end of a quarter century of revolutionary upheaval, vicious warfare and sophisticated diplomacy. A mélange of old and new regime ingredients, the peace settlement codified in the final acts of Paris and Vienna has occupied the attention of generations of historians. Writing in multiple European languages, scholars have produced high-quality works that incorporate a variety of perspectives — national, international, political, diplomatic, military, strategic and even cultural.1 Recent English-language scholarship stresses in particular the novelty of France’s mobilization for the Revolutionary Wars and the originality of the European peacemakers who brought these wars to an end. From ‘total war’ to diplomatic protocol to international politics, the impact of innovative ideas and practices dominates current approaches to study of the era.2


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  1. 1.
    The terminology of old regime and new regime is familiar from the historiography of modern France, particularly the French Revolution and Napoleonic era. See Isser Woloch, The New Regime: Transformations of the French Civic Order, 1789–1820s (New York, 1994);Google Scholar
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  3. 2.
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  4. Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics 1763–1848 (Oxford, 1994);Google Scholar
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  6. 3.
    Schroeder, Transformation. See also Mark Mazower, Governing the World: The History of an Idea, 1815 to the Present (New York, 2012);Google Scholar
  7. Jennifer Mitzen, Power in Concert: The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Global Governance (Chicago, 2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 4.
    Adam Zamoyski, Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna (New York, 2007).Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    RGADA, f. 3, op. 1, d. 78, ll. 325–27ob, 345ob–48. Sturdza’s role is confirmed by Alexander M. Martin, who discusses the review in Romantics, Reformers, Reactionaries: Russian Conservative Thought and Politics in the Reign of Alexander I (DeKalb, IL, 1997), 176–9. Kapodistrias’s official title was state secretary for foreign affairs. See Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, The Foreign Ministers of Alexander I: Political Attitudes and the Conduct of Russian Diplomacy (Berkeley, CA and Los Angeles, 1969), 226–68.Google Scholar
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  11. 9.
    Thirty to forty years on, baby boomers in the United States readily recall R. R. Palmer’s description of ‘the advent of the Isms’: R. R. Palmer and Joel Colton, A History of the Modern World, 6th Edition (New York, 1983), 435–45.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    The attacks on Jews likewise caused Metternich to conclude that no security existed in Germany: James J. Sheehan, German History 1770–1866 (New York, 1989), 407–8, 449–50.Google Scholar
  13. 17.
    The current order of things refers to Ottoman and Persian relationships with the neighbouring Christian powers, Russia and Austria, that had been codified in the treaties of Sistova (1791), Jassy (1792), Bucharest (1812), and Gulistan (1813). Sturdza also expresses concern about the British protectorate in the Ionian Isles, an arrangement that Russia had encouraged (and Kapodistrias supported) in order to prevent Austrian control, which would have represented a more significant barrier to Russian policy in the Balkans and to Greek national aspirations: Schroeder, Transformation, 86–7, 572–4; Thomas Sanders, Ernest Tucker and Gary Hamburg, eds., Russian-Muslim Confrontation in the Caucasus. Alternative Visions of the Conflict between Imam Shamil and the Russians, 1830–1859 (New York, 2004).Google Scholar
  14. 18.
    This is but a miniscule sampling of the high-quality scholarship that could be cited: Janet M. Hartley, Alexander I (London and New York, 1994); Rey, Alexander I; Grimsted, Foreign Ministers;Google Scholar
  15. Dominic Lieven, Russia against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814 (London, 2009);Google Scholar
  16. Anatolii V. Torkunov and Mikhail M. Narinskii, eds., Evropeiskaia diplomatiia i mezhdunarodnye protsessy epokhi napo-leonovskikh voin (Moscow, 2012);Google Scholar
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  19. 19.
    This is the subject of my most recent book: Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter, Religion and Enlightenment in Catherinian Russia: The Teachings of Metropolitan Platon (DeKalb, IL, 2013). On ‘human flourishing’,Google Scholar
  20. see Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA, 2007),Google Scholar
  21. and Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA, 1989).Google Scholar

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© Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter 2015

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  • Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter

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