23 Pages

Restoration Prussia, 1786–1848

WithThomas Stamm-Kuhlmann

Historians customarily label the period of European history following the defeat of Napoleon and his forced abdication by the French legislature as the ‘Restoration’. When historians speak of ‘restoration’, however, it is exactly this process that is first and foremost in their minds. In Austria and Prussia, however, the word ‘restoration’ means little at all in the traditional sense of the word — nobody had to be restored because nobody had been deposed. A sensible use of the term ‘restoration’, therefore, as applied to Prussia must differ from that used in general surveys of European history. Instead, we need to take a look at the major historical trends around 1800. It seems more appropriate to speak of a ‘restoration party’ than a ‘restoration period’ in Prussia. At its origins, the Restoration Party in Prussia-Germany fought its wars mostly on the intellectual front.