Partitioned Again
Late 19th Century
Grand Duchy of Posen
Congress Poland, 1830-1863

The Polish National Movement, 1846-1863

A.) The Emigrant Community

Many thousands of patriots, noblemen as well as burghers, refused to accept the offered amnesty and stayed in exile. Western liberals and nationalists celebrated their cause. Prince ADAM CZARTORYSKI in Paris was regarded a representative of a patriotic, conservative Poland ("the whites"). Their aim was to restore Poland by using diplomatic means. Another group of exile patriots, the democrats ("the reds") lead by JOACHIM LELEWEL, hoped for a revolution. The Polish emigrant community, among them writer ADAM MICKIEWICZ, was convinced of Poland's destiny, the meaning of Poland's 'death' as a nation being compared to that of Jesus Christ (MESSIANISM), with the thought in mind that resurrection would surely follow.

B.) 1848 and the Crimean War

The Revolution of 1848 saw the establishment of a Polish National Committee in Poznan (Posen, Prussian Poland) as well as in Lvov (Galicia) and a brief revolt in Cracow and Western Galicia; with the military victory of the restoration powers, their interest in making concessions dropped and the opportunity had passed. The situation in Congress Poland was relatively calm.
The Crimean War, in the eyes of Polish patriots, provided an opportunity for the restoration of Polish independence, if only of Congress Poland. Poet Adam Mickiewicz attempted to organize a Polish division in Istanbul; he died there (1855). Napoleon III. recognized Prince Adam Czartoryski as the Poles' official representative; yet Polish volunteer forces did not see action, and the Polish issue was not negotiated when a peace treaty was drawn up.

C.) The Structure of the Polish National Movement

Many of the reformers of the 1780es and 1790es, the exile patriots fighting in Napoleon's armies, down to the rebels of 1830 identified with a world in which the nobility still played a dominating role. Polish nationalism dreamt of the reestablishment of Jagiellonian Poland, which would cover all of Lithuania, Belarus and most of Ukraine.
Yet the 19th century had seen great social changes; the peasants wanted to see their burden relieved, and in many regions historically part of the Polish kingdom, these peasants were not Poles. The Galician rebellions of 1846 and 1848 were social rather than national in nature, Polish peasants targetting Polish aristocrats rather than the Austrian administration.

In response to the artered social conditions, new political organizations emerged, among them the AGRARIAN SOCIETY (1858, dissolved 1861) by A. ZAMOYSKI in Warsaw.

Polish Committee in Paris, Great Polish Emigration and Plebeians'
, Polish Democratic Society, Polish League, Biographies from the Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions : Czartoryski, Prince Adam Jerzy,
Mieroslawski, Ludwik, Wysocki, Jozef
DOCUMENTS Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Chopin
REFERENCE Enno Meyer, Grundzüge der Geschichte Polens (Main Features of Polish History), Darmstadt : Wissenschaftliche Buchgemeinschaft 1977
Manfred Hellmann, Daten der Polnischen Geschichte (Dates in Polish History), München : dtv 1985

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 17th 2002, last revised on November 11th 2004

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