“The conclusion to the previous section raises the question historians invariably ask about the mid-nineteenth-century revolutions. Why were they a failure? To put it more precisely, why were the initial victories of the 1848 revolution so short lived? Why were the revolutionaries so unsuccessful in creating a new regime? Why did the authorities chased from office in the spring of 1848 return to power within a year or two? To  pose these questions is, implicitly, to raise a comparison, to ask why the 1848 revolutions had a different outcome from those of 1789 or 1917, when the overthrown authorities did not return to office and long-lasting new regimes were created. The usual answer historians offer is that the 1848 revolutions were not successful because the 1848 revolutionaries were not revolutionary enough. They lacked the energy and drive, the willingness to take drastic and ruthless measures, demonstrated by their Jacobin predecessors and Bolshevik successors. Sometimes this is attributed to personal failures of the revolutionary leaders, who appear as blowhards and big mouths, able to talk a good revolution but frighten ed by the daring and bloodshed required for effective action. A more sophisticated version of this argument, ultimately going back to Karl Marx, although widely adopted by non-Marxists as well, attributes the failings of the 1848 revolutionaries to specific social and economic developments. In 1789 and the early 1790s, so the argument goes, revolutionaries from the middle class could uninhibitedly mobilize popular support for an assault on the absolutist regime and on feudal and seigneurial institutions, the common people not following any conscious political goals of their own. In 1848, the development of an organized working-class and socialist movement made this impossibile: the middle-class revolutionaries were too scared of what the masses might do to engage in this sort of popular mobilization. Instead, their revolutionary activities were half-hearted, characterized by a search for compromise with the pre-1848 authorities. But the labor movement, this argument continues, was still too weak to seize power on its own accord; that would have to wait for the twentieth century. In this sense, 1848 was the revolution that fell between two stools – the bourgeois of 1789 and the proletarian of 1917” [Jonathan Sperber, ‘The European Revolutions, 1848-1851’, Cambridge, 1984]