After Napoleon's defeat, European aristocrats sought to establish a conservative order in Europe in order to prevent an upheaval of the scale of the French Revolution from happening again. As the conservatives were establishing their order, liberals, nationalists, and socialists had their own ideas for a new order to establish on a continent that was rapidly industrializing.... and while others looked forward, Romantics looked back.
The Congress of Vienna: Metternich's Conservative Order
After the fall of Napoleon, European leaders met at Vienna to establish a new conservative order in Europe moving forward from the chaos of the French Revolution. Led by Klemens von Metternich, conservative leaders at the Congress of Vienna were able to stifle liberal and nationalist movements on the European continent until the Revolutions of 1848.
19th Century -isms:
A major key to understanding the conflicts of the 19th century is to be familiar with the different "isms" that emerged during this period. Conservatives sought to maintain as many elements of the Old Regime as possible while liberals, nationalists, and socialists all tried to replace the old order with something new. Romantics looked backward to find beauty in a rapidly industrializing and secularizing world while feminists sought to redefine the place of women in the newly emerging order.