Why did they move?

Origins of Political Unrest

In Hilgard`s days, the Palatinate, then under Bavarian rule, faced a very tense political situation. Just like the rest of Europe, the Palatinate was in a state of unrest in the years between the Congress of Vienna (for more information about the Congress of Vienna, click here) and 1848. Patriotic groups were formed to discuss possibilities to make Germany a united and democratic country.

Under the Metternich system (for more information about Metternich, click here) these tendencies were regarded as dangerous by the authorities.

With the Carlsbad Decrees from 1819 (for more information about the Carlsbad Decrees, click here), a time of censorship and strict supervision began. Demagogue hunts followed as the police spied on liberal students and professors. The liberal movement was unable to express its demands in public anymore. That is why many Germans began to consider leaving their country to find greater freedom.

One of the great symbols of these political developments was the procession to Hambach Castle in 1832. Between then and 1848, the atmosphere became more and more pressured until finally it spilled into revolution. As a consequence, almost one million Germans emigrated in the decade that followed.