1848: Britain and German Commercial Unification
For a long time, investigations into the revolutions of 1848 in the German states remained limited to discussions about their political significance. The themes of national unity and the fate of German liberalism dominated the field, at the expense of apparently less attractive lines of inquiry such as the revolutions’ economic background. More recently, however, research has revealed the rather special economic situation contributing to social unrest in the late 1840s.1 The German states, hovering on the brink of modernity, were subjected to a complicated mixture of old-fashioned agricultural failure and new-fangled industrial crisis which impacted on crucial sectors of the population to produce a situation of potential unrest. Though political factors remain important in our understanding of 1848, ‘the revolutionary development in Germany cannot be seen or understood without reference to hunger and economic crisis’.2
KeywordsFree Trade German State Commercial Policy German Industry Danish Government
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