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Excerpt from Clemens Prince von Metternich's Political Creed (1820)
page 2 of 20


Men from the upper classes of society who throw themselves into the tide of revolution are either those who disguise their ambition or perverse, lost souls in the widest meaning of these words. This being so, their revolutionary career is normally short! They are the first victims of political reform and the role of the small number of them who survive is generally that of sycophants despised by their inferiors, upstarts to the great offices of state.

France, Germany, Italy and Spain today offer a host of living examples of what we have just been putting forward.

We do not believe that there is in France today any reason to fear fresh upheavals with a directly revolutionary aim, unless it should be through palace revolutions and revolutions in the highest reaches of Government, bearing in mind the pronounced aversion of the people for anything which might upset the calm which they are enjoying after so much suffering and so many disasters.

In Germany, as in Spain and Italy, all the people want is peace and rest.

In these four countries, the classes where agitation is marked are those of the wealthy, of genuine cosmopolitans who make sure of their own profits no matter what happens, of civil servants, of men of letters and of the legal profession, and amongst individuals who are responsible for public education.

To these intermediate classes is also attached that of men whose ambition goes under false colours, whose number amongst the lower orders is inconsiderable although it is more sizeable in the upper ranks of society.

Besides, there is hardly any era which does not offer a rallying cry particular to factions.

Since the year 1815 this cry has been that of Constitution. But let no-one be mistaken, this word is open to a broad range of interpretations and would be only imperfectly understood if one supposed that factions living under different régimes attached the same meaning to it indiscriminately. Such is not the case.

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