V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914 > 8. Eastern Europe and the Balkans, 1762–1914 > b. Poland > 1830–31
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
The NOVEMBER INSURRECTION in the Congress Kingdom, long prepared by the Polish nationalists, was provoked by the Paris revolution (See 1830) and the tsar's proposal to use the Polish army to suppress new governments in Belgium and France. A Russian garrison was expelled from Poland, a revolutionary government was proclaimed, the Romanov dynasty was declared deposed, and the union with Lithuania was celebrated. Division among moderates and radicals weakened the Poles, however, and the Russians defeated them at Ostrolenka (May 26, 1831) and finally took Warsaw (Sept. 8). The revolution collapsed, and most of the Polish leaders escaped to the West, where they formed a powerful revolutionary faction, especially in Paris.  1
Nicholas I abrogated the Polish constitution and replaced it with an organic statute: Poland lost its political rights and retained only a small measure of administrative autonomy, beginning the policy of Russification in Poland. Prussia also took the opportunity to implement Germanification.  2
Under new conditions of foreign domination and economic development, Polish liberals sought to channel social activity into the concept of Organic Work, an attempt through various associations to raise the social, economic, and cultural level of the country without fomenting revolution. It was strongest in the grand duchy of Posen, but spread throughout Poland.  3
1846, Feb
An uprising in Cracow had been prepared for years among internal and foreign-based patriotic societies. It quickly disintegrated, in part because of the failure to coordinate activity with a peasant uprising in Galicia. Austria formally incorporated the Free State of Cracow.  4
Nationalists in Posen took advantage of the revolution in Berlin (See 1848, March 6) to establish home rule. As in the rest of Europe, the revolution was quelled as the revolutionaries became divided. Austria suppressed similar events in Galicia, but Polish peasants did benefit from the reforms that swept over the entire empire.  5
The kingdom of Poland joined the Russian customs union, fueling expansion in the textile industry near Lódz and in metallurgy near Warsaw.  6
Austria granted Galicia its own provincial sejm. Despite the revolution, Galician Poles acquired more autonomy as the Austrian Empire struggled with its ethnic minorities: the school system was infused with the Polish language and culture as were the civil service and law courts.  7
THE SECOND POLISH REVOLUTION. Alexander II attempted to win the support of the Poles with a mild and liberal policy: the arrangements of 1815–30 were substantially restored in 1862. This policy met with support from the Polish moderates (Marquis Alexander Weilopolski) but was not enough to satisfy the extreme nationalists (Reds), who aimed at complete independence. After considerable disorder the government decided to draft the malcontents (especially students) into the army. This provoked the insurrection of Jan. 1863, which spread rapidly to Lithuania and White Russia. The Poles had no army; most of the fighting was done by guerrilla bands. Diplomatic intervention by Great Britain, France, and Austria (in the similar but not identical protests of April, June, and Aug.) produced a strong nationalist reaction in Russia. The Russian government was able to ignore the protests of the Western powers because of the support and cooperation of the Prussian government (Alvensleben Convention, Feb. 8, 1863). But the insurrection was not finally suppressed until May 1864, and then with great severity. Polish autonomy was again abolished and Russian administration reestablished; the Russian language was gradually made obligatory in Polish schools; the government took steps against the Roman Catholic clergy; relations with the Vatican were ruptured.  8
The Russians did recognize the need for agrarian reform, however, and reaffirmed the results of the revolt by granting Polish peasants the land they cultivated and granting the proprietors compensation from state funds (1864).  9
Industrialization. This was more dynamic in the kingdom, where the railway network was increased from 635 kilometers in 1862 to 2,084 kilometers in 1887. Yet Poland remained far behind western European standards.  10
Russia eliminated the administrative distinction between the kingdom and the empire. But the Napoleonic Code remained operative in the kingdom, and the zemstvo reforms in Russia were not instituted in the kingdom for fear that they would be used for nationalist purposes.  11
Bismarck instituted the Kulturkampf, with a special anti-Polish emphasis as Germanification intensified.  12
The Cracow Learned Society became the Academy of Science and Letters, one of the few scholarly institutions embracing all of Poland.  13
The first socialist organizations were formed in Poland, resulting in the first Polish socialist program (published in Geneva).  14
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.