On February 22, 1848, the French people, suffering from economic decline, food shortages, and repressive new government policies, removed the Orleans Dynasty and replace monarchy with a republican form of government. The French republic was born with violent street fighting and by the summer, renewed violence over social demands destabilized the new republic. With France setting the revolutions in motion, other countries followed suit. On the Italian peninsular, representative new governments emerged, removing royal rule. While new forms of government emerged, the various strata of society had conflicting visions about their future. Worker demands collided manufacturing owner demands, masters with journeymen, and tenants with owners. As if the social and political conflicts were not enough, there was also the growing desire to create an Italian nation state. The nationalist leaders disagreed whether the new Italy would be a constitutional monarchy or a republic. A similar complex situation existed in the German states. Here an elected body of representative came together and determined that a constitutional monarchy was the right future. As the continent disintegrated into revolution, social, political, and national instability, the Irish watched with great interest.

Image: Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux, Lamartine devant l’Hôtel de Ville de Paris le 25 février 1848 refuse le drapeau rouge, 1901, in Carnavalet Museum, Paris, France.