Among all the European countries involved in the difficult process of Restoration and social-political crises preceding 1848, only Britain seemed to have decisively and irreversibly consolidated its parliamentary system, even if has not yet introduced universal suffrage. So that in the period 1848-66, thanks to the leadership of the liberal government, it enjoyed a long period of political stability and economic prosperity disturbed only by the now recurrent ruptures in the economic cycle and the negative effects on cotton because of the American Civil War. France, in turn, had institutions that departed from the principle of legality (buried in 1830), but the illiberal nature of the Second Empire approached, despite the populist openings, the heavily conservative monarchies of Central and Eastern Europe. Napoleon III, however, to legitimize the historical role of the dynasty that had restored, promoted an activist foreign policy that sought to undermine the balance instituted with the Congress of Vienna.
The occasion was provided once again, as in the 20s for Greece, by the Eastern Europe. Russia, believing that was the time to resume the march towards warm seas, use as a pretext a dispute on the protection of holy places, and in 1853 begun a war with the Ottoman Empire. The following year French and English intervened in support of the Turks while the Austrians kept waiting in prudent position. The Crimean War, in which also participated the Sardinian army, ended in 1856 with the Peace of Paris and with a moderate defeat of Russia. The latter, grim guarantor of the European order and at the same time destructive of the same order on the southeast flank of the continent was, however, blocked in its aspirations and initiatives. Instead, it was France to be encouraged in its ambitions. The war between France and Savoy against Austria, view from Paris, was the second place (after the Crimea) of this story that once overtaken the pressure of the democratic and popular opposition, sought to undermine, for the very action of governments, the increasingly precarious balance of 1815. If in 1856 Russia was therefore provisionally arrested, in 1860 Savoy and Italian states backwards Austria. But it was France, despite the intentions of the new Bonaparte, to take advantage.