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N. POPESCU-DOREANU. Nicolae Balcescu st revolutia dela 1848. Bucuresti. 1948. 163 p.

N. POPESCU-DOREANU. "The Revolution of 1848 in Romania and Nicolae Balcescu". Foreword by Yu. Zvyagin. Moscow. 1950. 163. p.

The reviewed book was published in 1948 in Bucharest on the occasion of the centenary of the Wallachian Revolution of 1848. In 1950. it was translated into Russian and published by a foreign literature publishing house under the title "The Revolution of 1848 in Romania and Nicolae Balcescu".

The author of the book, Minister of Education of the Romanian People's Republic N. Popescu-Doreanu, is the head of the Department of History at Bucharest Parhon University.

N. Popescu-Doreanu's book "The Revolution of 1848 and Nicolae Balcescu" examines the role of the prominent Romanian thinker and revolutionary Nicolae Balcescu in the 1848 revolution in Wallachia and in the struggle of Transylvanian Romanians in 1848-1849.

The Romanian bourgeois historians Iorga, Xenopol and others falsify the history of the revolution of 1848. and the leading figures of the National Liberal Party, Dinu Bratianu, Angelescu, G. Bratianu, etc. they obscured the role of the revolutionary democrat Nicolae Balcescu and, contrary to historical reality, tried to extol the activities of traitors to the interests of the masses-Ion Eliade Radulescu, I. Bratianu and others,

page 144

Popescu-Doreanu's peer-reviewed work exposes bourgeois falsifiers and shows the leading role of Nicolae Balcescu in developing the advanced program for which the Romanian revolutionaries fought, as well as his active struggle for the implementation of this program.

Nicolae Balcescu (1819-1852) was one of the most prominent Romanian thinkers and revolutionaries of the 19th century, an ideologist of the advanced part of Romanian society at that time, a supporter of the cooperation of Transylvanian Romanians with the Hungarian revolutionaries who fought in 1848 against the Habsburg Empire.

The author covers in detail the socio-economic situation of Wallachia in the 1950s and convincingly shows that the revolution of 1848 was prepared by the entire course of historical events in the country. Pointing out that centuries-old national oppression caused the economic and political backwardness of the principalities, the author notes the great importance of the abolition of the Turkish monopoly on foreign trade of the principalities by the Treaty of Adrianople (1829) for their economic development.

The author shows how the development of national culture proceeded in the principalities, which gradually began to displace the Greek culture. In Wallachia, there were schools that taught in their native language. Newspapers began to play a big role. On April 8, 1829, the first newspaper in the Romanian language, Curierul Romanesc ("Romanian Courier"), was published in Bucharest. In 1845, Balcescu and August Treboniu Laurian published the magazine Magazin istoric pentru Dacia, which published Balcescu's work " Starea sociala a muncitorieor plugari din Principatele Romane in deosebite timpuri "("The social situation of farmers in the Romanian principalities at different times"), in which he boldly opposes the boyars.

Balchescu was born in 1819 in a small-scale boyar family. He was educated at the famous St. John's School. Savva, where the most advanced people of that time taught, supporters of changing the existing system - Eftimie Murgu, Telegescu, etc. As an officer, Balcescu joined the secret society headed by Dumitru Filipescu in 1840. It is significant that this society already in 1840 put forward a demand for allotment of land to the peasants. The program of this organization also contained other points: the abolition of feudal privileges, the introduction of democratic freedoms, and the organization of the national army, which then formed the basis of the program of other revolutionary societies. Based on the program of the society, the well-known Islam appeal was later compiled.

After being released from prison for participating in the secret Filipescu Society, Balcescu in 1843 organized, together with Gica and Tell, the Justice and Brotherhood Society, which had the same program as the Filipescu organization. Soon, however, Balchescu was forced to emigrate. The French Revolution of 1848 found Balcheska in Paris. He participated in street fights. In March 1848, Balcescu returned to Bucharest. The country was in a difficult economic situation, which was a consequence of the economic crisis of 1847, and the revolutionary crisis was also growing. In January 1848, it was with great difficulty that the government managed to calm the excitement of the masses who were ready to rise up against Prince Bibescu. In March, the situation became even more acute. The only thing missing was an organization that could lead the fight.

Representatives of the owners of workshops and factories, who suffered from feudal orders and strongly opposed Organic Regulations, began to group around Balcescu.

The demands of this section of the emerging bourgeoisie, as the most advanced for that time, were supported by the peasantry, artisans, workers and small merchants - all those who suffered from the fetters of the feudal system.

Soon Balcescu re-established the leadership of the old organization "Justice and Brotherhood", which included Gica, Alexandru Golescu and others.

On the other hand, a group of large merchants, officers and boyars was created, whose interests were connected with trade.

Former teacher at St. John's High School. Sava, the writer Ion Eliade, was the ideologue of this group, whose members wanted reform but feared revolution. They formed a moderate bourgeois opposition. Eliade himself wrote: "I hate tyranny, but I fear anarchy."

In order to undermine and slow down the group's activities, Balcescu Eliade, on behalf of his group, made an offer of cooperation, which was accepted. The so-called "National Party" was formed, and a joint "Islaz appeal" was developed, which took its name from the village of Islaz, Romanak county.

Analyzing the contents of the "Islaz Proclamation", the author of the reviewed book convincingly shows that all the revolutionary measures provided for in this document were included in the proclamation at the insistence of Balchesku, while all the magnificent, but at the same time half-hearted and vague formulations belonged to Eliade, whose true face was not yet unraveled by Balchesku.

The Islaz Proclamation proclaimed the principle of non-interference of foreign powers in the internal affairs of Wallachia, equality of political rights for all citizens, freedom of the press, election of a prince responsible to the assembly, etc.

The main article of the appeal, included at the request of Balcescu, was article 13, which read:: "Emancipation of serfs, allotment of land alienated under conditions of compensation" 1 .

Already in the Prose, where he first read out the developed appeal, it began to manifest itself

1 "Scaunta" of June 10, 1948

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Eliade's instability, his unwillingness to oppose the feudal system. In Islamza, for example, he formed a provisional government from among the supporters who accompanied him and sent a letter to the reigning Prince Bibescu in Bucharest, saying: "Fearing that the movement might develop into anarchy... we have decided to lead the renaissance movement, which aims to preserve order and fulfill the will of the people. " 2

Thus, even at the first stages of the revolution, the reluctance of the Eliade-led group to fight against the feudal system and its readiness to collude with the boyars became apparent.

Meanwhile, the revolutionary movement was growing. The whole of Wallachia Minor rose up for the revolutionary struggle.

Under the pressure of the popular masses, on June 11(23), Prince Bibescu was forced to sign a new constitution, which reproduced the demands of the "Islaza Appeal", and appoint a new government. On the night of June 14(26), Bibescu abdicated and fled to Transylvania.

The new provisional government was formed under the leadership of the leader of the Boyar-church reaction, Metropolitan Neofit. The government included Eliade and many of his supporters. It is characteristic that Balchescu received only a secondary appointment.

The new government decreed the abolition of boyar titles, abolished censorship, introduced freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc." However, "the author writes," the peasants 'demand for land was not met" (p. 86). The government of Metropolitan Neophytos, of which Eliade was the central figure, limited itself to promising to give land three months after the Assembly was called, and encouraged the peasants to continue working for the boyars as before.

Balcescu was aware that such behavior by the Government would only lead to the withdrawal of the peasantry from the revolution and thus to its defeat. On June 22, 1848, he wrote to his friend Alec Golescu: "Our measures on property issues, leaving the old state of affairs in operation, are harmful, because the peasants do not believe the promises and ask why they are not given land now. We made a mistake, because we should have taken advantage of the victory to cancel at least "iobagia" 3 . We won, and the result of the victory was taken by our enemies... I believe that we should publish as soon as possible our first appeal, which was given to the press and in which this duty was abolished, in order to show what circumstances forced us to act, or a clearer appeal from which it would become clear to the peasants that we were forced to make this concession to the owners of the land." On the other hand, let the peasants rise up so that the Social Assembly will cease to be reactionary, if it is such, and so that they will not agree to work, demanding that they do what they are supposed to do. Otherwise, the significance of our revolution, which is both political and social, is lost by half, if not completely."4

Eliade and his associates began to reassure the landlords, saying that no one would touch anything in their land until the National Assembly was called and until it discussed and decided on property issues (p. 90).

To reassure the peasants, the government on August 10, 1848, created a commission on property affairs, which included representatives of peasants and boyars on an equal basis.

Being poorly organized, the representatives of the peasants put forward very moderate demands. They were mainly limited to allotment of land to peasants at the rate of 8-14 epaulettes of land (epaulettes = 5012 square meters), depending on the location of the land. The peasants pledged to buy this land at the rate of 2 gold pieces per shoulder strap.

But there were also more decisive voices in the commission. So, at one of the meetings of the commission, a representative of the peasants of Wallachia made a whole diatribe against the boyars. He stated: "If the boyars could lay their hands on the sun, they would appropriate it and sell light and heat to the peasants for money; if they could take possession of the water of the seas and rivers, they would also speculate on it - that is, they would torment the peasants with darkness, cold and thirst, as they torment them by force starvation by depriving the land" (p. 54).

Eliade and his supporters rushed to stop the commission's work. By this time (August 31, 1848), the entry of Turkish troops into the country to suppress the revolution had already begun.

Balcescu considered that armed resistance should be offered to the Turkish forces, but his proposal was rejected by the government, and the small army formed by Mageru in Wallachia Minor was disbanded.

The English Consul Colquhoun, who had promised to help against the Turks, played a major role in the disbanding of the army. When the Turks moved out, he not only forgot his promises, but also advised Mager not to resist the Turks. At the same time, the British government, through its ambassador in Constantinople, Radcliffe, incited the Turks to crack down on the revolution.

Eliade's group readily colluded with the Turks. The Provisional government was dissolved, and all the conquests were revoked.-

2 J. Radulesco. Memoires sur I'histoire de la regenerationi roumaine, p. 80 Paris. 1851.

3 The so-called "Jobagie", i.e. assistance provided to the landowner in emergency cases, put forward by the needs of production... This additional corvee labor is determined in 14 days for each Wallachian peasant (see K. Marx. Capital, vol. I, p. 243. Gospolitizdat. 1949).

4 Studii anul 2, N IV, 1949, p. 176 - 178.

page 146

operations are canceled. Balcescu was forced to emigrate to Transylvania.

The heroic population of Bucharest resisted the Turkish troops. The entire Bucharest fire department was killed to the last man in the fighting, but the Turks also suffered heavy losses. The Turks committed a savage massacre in Bucharest, which was stopped only after the entry of Russian troops into Wallachia.

The absence of a strong working class that, in alliance with the peasantry, could lead the struggle for the rights of the people, led to the defeat of the revolution, which was headed by representatives of the bourgeoisie.

Noting the reasons for the defeat of the 1848 revolution in Wallachia, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers ' Party Gheorghiu-Dej pointed out:

"More than 100 years have passed since Balcescu and other leaders of the 1848 revolution formulated a program of democratic transformation. This program did not mention at all the changes of a socialist character. The reforms they demanded were of a bourgeois-democratic nature. But most of these demands, despite their limited nature, could not be implemented, because the bourgeoisie was the hegemon of the revolution of 1848.

The left wing of the bourgeoisie, led by Balcescu, was forced to emigrate after the revolution.

The completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Romania became possible only under the hegemony of the proletariat, when the working class of Romania, becoming at the head of the remaining masses of the people, won a decisive role in state life."5

It should be noted that during the revolution of 1848, no less reactionary than Eliade was I. K. Bratianu, the head of the famous Bratianu family, which ruled bourgeois-landowner Romania for more than 50 years. As is known, even in 1864, Bratianu opposed the agrarian reform in the principalities, and in 1888, he approved the pacification of the peasant uprising.

As for I. Eliade, in all his works published after 1848, he opposed the allocation of land to peasants. In 1864, Eliade proved to be the most ardent opponent of Kogalniceanu, who carried out the first agrarian reform in the principalities.

The defeat of the 1848 revolution in Wallachia affected the subsequent development of the country and was one of the reasons for the creation of the bourgeois-landlord system in Romania, which oppressed the people until August 23, 1944.

But the defeat of the Wallachian revolution did not stop Balcescu's revolutionary activities.

Balcescu made great efforts to eliminate the enmity between the Romanians of Transylvania and the Hungarians. As you know, the Hungarian bourgeois revolutionaries led by Kossuth were opposed to granting autonomy to Transylvania, which is mostly inhabited by Romanians, and proclaimed the annexation of Transylvania to Hungary.

For their part, the leaders of the national liberation movement of Transylvanian Romanians-Barnuciu, Baric and others. - they sought the independence of the Transylvanian Principality so that the Austrian emperor would be the prince of Transylvania. It was only under the pressure of the peasant masses that Barnuciu, Baritz, and others were forced to include in their program the demand for the gratuitous abolition of corvee, equality of all nationalities in the empire, and so on.

When war broke out between the Republic of Hungary and Austria, the Romanians, instead of helping the Hungarian revolutionaries, sided with the Emperor of Austria, thereby helping to stifle the Hungarian revolution.

At this time, Balchescu wrote::

"...I feel that all those who love freedom should support the Hungarians, who are the only armed people fighting against despots. " 6

Balcescu held lengthy talks with Kossuth and the Romanian leaders to bring their points of view closer.

At the last stage of the negotiations, in July 1849, Kossuth agreed to some of the Romanians ' demands and was even ready to sign a declaration guaranteeing freedom to Romanians living in Hungary. Barnuciu and Avram Iancu, the leader of the Romanian volunteer detachments, were also willing to be content with this declaration. But even this half-hearted concession was made too late. The forces of the Hungarian Republic were defeated. Balchescu understood the significance of this debacle. He wrote: "If Hungary falls, we will be utterly defeated, and for a long time to come" (p.141).

The author notes that Balcescu's views on the equality of nationalities living in Hungary were shared by such prominent figures of the Hungarian Revolution as Petefi, Boehm and others.

After the defeat of the Hungarian revolution, Balcescu, not wanting to reconcile himself to the triumphant reaction in the country, emigrated to Sicily, where he died in 1852.

Only after the establishment of the people's democratic system in the country was tribute paid to Balcesu and other leaders of the Romanian workers ' liberation struggle.

Speaking in October 1945 with a report on the charter of the Romanian Communist Party, Central Committee Secretary Anna Pauker said::

"If Doge, Horia, Clos, Crisan, Tudor Vladimirescu and Nicolae Balcescu were among us today, who raised the peasants and townspeople to fight against the oppressors, they would all recognize the Communists as their comrades in the struggle." 7

5 Raportul politic general facut de tovarasul Gh. Gheorghiu-Dej la congresul partidului muncitoresc roman din 21 - 23. Februarie 1948, p. 44.

6 Istoria Romaniei sub redactia lui M. Roller, ed IV. 1948, p. 366. Bucuresti.

7 Raportul tovarasei Ana Pauker asupra statutului partidului comunist roman, p. 5. Bucuresti. 1946.

page 147

N. Popescu-Doreanu points out some weaknesses of Balcescu's worldview. He did not understand the class character of the 1821 uprising in Wallachia. "Balcescu thought that the bourgeoisie was formed, struggled, and exhausted in the struggle during the eighteenth century alone" (p.51). This led Balcescu to misunderstand the bourgeois nature of Tudor Vladimirescu's revolt.

Popescu-Doreanu's book is not without its drawbacks.

First of all, the author has not sufficiently highlighted the limitations and weaknesses of Balcescu's views on class struggle issues. The very name of the society headed by Balcescu, Justice and Brotherhood, shows that Balcescu was strongly influenced by petty - bourgeois ideas about the brotherhood of all people, all classes and classes. The weakness of Balchesku's worldview was that he stated: "If I could unite all the people of the world, and if I could see them as the masters of their own destiny, I would say to them:' Work and manage yourself in such a way as to bring happiness to each other ' (p.146). The author does not explain why the Wallachian bourgeoisie was so willing to collude with the Boyars. The weakness of the Wallachian bourgeoisie led to its great cowardice and desire to stifle the revolution as quickly as possible.

It is also unclear why the author always refers to Tudor Vladimirescu's uprising as a revolution.

Despite these shortcomings, Popescu-Doreanu's book is a valuable contribution to the development and popularization of the truth about the 1848 revolution and Balcescu's activities.

The book mercilessly exposes the legends of Romanian bourgeois historians about the revolution of 1848 and shows the true face of the leaders of the ruling classes of yesterday's Romania.


The preface to the Russian translation of the book, giving a generally correct description of Balchesk, suffers from a number of significant shortcomings.

For example, the preface misinterpreted Popescu-Doreanu's statement about the bourgeois revolution. The latter points out that in the bourgeois revolution, the bourgeoisie "not only did not call on the masses to participate in the creation of a new social system, but, on the contrary, brutally dealt with them at the slightest attempt to do so" (p.124). It is not clear why, after this statement, the author of the preface came to the conclusion that Popescu-Doreanu allegedly forgot Lenin's instruction that the liberal bourgeoisie is not necessarily the "inevitable "master of" a bourgeois revolution."8

Nor is it true that the author of the preface claims that in the revolution of 1848 there were only two distinct forces in Wallachia: the big and middle bourgeoisie on the one hand, and the broad exploited masses of the city and countryside on the other. First, one cannot discount the feudal lords, whose counter-revolutionary power was quite significant and whose positions were actually taken over by the moderate bourgeoisie headed by Eliade. Secondly, the exploited masses of the city and countryside, who, as correctly stated in the preface, constitute the shock force of the revolution, did not act as an independent force due to their disorganization and political backwardness, but marched under the leadership of the advanced, radical section of the bourgeoisie. In this connection, the reproach thrown at the author of the book in the preface that, according to the latter, allegedly "Balchescu expressed the aspirations of the large industrial bourgeoisie" is perplexing (p.15). It's not in the book. Moreover, as is well known, in 1848 industry was very poorly developed in Wallachia, and there is no reason to speak of a large industrial bourgeoisie.

In the revolution of 1848, Balcescu was at the head of those who resolutely fought against the feudal system and for the allocation of land to the peasants. Since the progressive bourgeoisie also fought against feudalism, Balcescu also expressed its aspirations. The author of the preface clearly forgets Lenin's reference to the role of the bourgeoisie in the pre-1871 era:

"The main class that then, during these wars and participating in these wars, followed a rising line, and which alone could come out with overwhelming force against feudal-absolutist institutions, was the bourgeoisie. In different countries, represented by different strata of propertied commodity producers, this bourgeoisie was progressive to varying degrees, and sometimes (for example, part of the Italian in 1859) even revolutionary, but the general feature of the epoch was precisely the progressiveness of the bourgeoisie, that is, the indecision, incompleteness of its struggle against feudalism. " 9

The author of the preface also does not support with any facts his statement in the preface that "in the person of Balcescu, the Romanian people have... a preacher of the ideas of utopian socialism in Romania in the XIX century "(sto. 16).

It should be noted that the translation of the book was made in good Russian. It is not clear why almost the entire 57th page of the Romanian text was omitted and not translated.

It is also puzzling why a translation of the book was published under the title "The Revolution of 1848 in Romania and Nicolai Balcescu", when it is known that Balcescu's revolutionary activities took place in Wallachia and that in 1848 the Romanian state did not yet exist.

8 V. I. Lenin. Soch. Vol. 11, pp. 37-38. 4th ed.

9 V. I. Lenin, Soch. Vol. 21, p. 127.


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