Picture it. The year is 1815
is about to be beaten down for the last time (Waterloo
took place a few days after the treaty was signed) and Europe
is in limbo
. Not only did Napoleon
succeed in controlling an enormous chunk of Europe
, but if it wasn't for the British being on an island and the Russian winter
s, he might still be in control of Europe
. Now the leaders of Austria
were getting together to figure out what to do with the mess of a defeated France
at what called the Congress of Vienna
On top of this, the French Revolution was finally over. Granted, some people might claim that the revolution ended the second Robespierre saw the sharp end of the guillotine and the Directory established power (or perhaps even before that), but Napoleon used the energy of the revolution to sweep into power and his downfall brought an end to new governance in France for a bit and saw the re-establishment of the original monarchy. So, after 30 years, France was back where it started.
To add to all this, France, who was technically the loser in all this, managed to get a seat at the bargaining table. Chalk this up to Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord, who was as crafty a politician as they come. Talleyrand was about the only person who managed to keep his head through each bloody phase of the revolution and, even though he was an advisor to Napoleon, was still in politics after Napoleon's defeat. He managed to keep France from being subject any punishment, save for the re-establisment of the king in France.
The main man in charge of all this was Prince Metternich, a nasty reactionary representing Austria, who saw the Congress of Vienna as a chance to put the balance of power back in the hands of the landed, upper classes. Certain things could not be brought back (the Holy Roman Empire was now a non-entity) and the German unification movement was already on its way but he did his best to assure that the ideas of the French Revolution were not represented at the Congress. Here's what happened:
Essentially, this made sure that the victors received adequate land for their troubles and France
was restored back to the way it was in 1789
as if nothing ever happened.
Remarkably, these events managed to keep some manner of peace in Europe until the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870s. The class conflicts that had arisen out of the French Revolution remained. In 1848 and 1832, there were massive revolts throughout most of Europe (Britain and Russia were spared) but the end result of those uprisings were slight. In the end, Europe was at peace, for a little while.