The Congress of Vienna – 1814 and 2014

The Relevant History

Europe after the abdication of Napoleon in March of 1814 was a very different place than it was before the French Revolution. The Congress of Vienna was assembled in September of 1814 in order to remake the continent by balancing the power structure with the goal of preserving the peace. The Congress was clearly dominated by the great powers that had defeated France: Russia, Great Britain, Prussia, and Austria. During the next nine months of wearisome negotiations, the 5 major powers hammered out a series of agreements that were signed in Paris on June 19th, 1815 (ironically this was the day after the final defeat by Napoleon by Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo).

Over the course of three days, Ms. Ritsma’s CHY4U students recreated some of the same diplomatic bullying, sabre-rattling, back-stabbing, and small-cake-like-pastry-eating negotiations that occurred  during those fateful nine months.
Each group of students represented a country that was represented at the Congress and they began an arduous and exhausting journey to create a balance of power in Europe, just like their 1814 predecessors. This year’s Congress will always be remembered for their insatiable need for land and  their united determination to exile one particular Austrian delegate to join Napoleon in exile in Elba.

Well Done, Congress of 2014!


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