Until the beginning of the century. XIX a ferment of new life can be seen in the two principalities. Everywhere schools are opened, where teaching is given in the Romanian language, magazines and newspapers are founded, literature and a national theater are created. The forerunners of this movement are in Wallachia the Transylvanian Gheorghe Lazăr and Ion Heliade-Rădulescu, in Moldavia Gheorghe Asachi: from their schools comes a new generation educated to the feeling of the Romanian homeland and to the ideas of freedom. It aspires to the union and independence of the country which from this time on began to be called “Romania”. The obstacles to overcome were enormous and the realization of the national program seemed very difficult not only for the internal conditions of the two principalities, subject as they were to the high Turkish sovereignty and ruled by foreign princes, but also and mainly due to the presence of Austria in Transylvania and Bucovina, acquired in 1775, and to the threat of Russia which, occupied Bessarabia in 1812, aimed to enslave the principalities to to reach Constantinople, the goal of his oriental policy. To the Romanian cause, more than the uprisings that broke out in 1821 in Wallachia (revolt of Tudor Vladimirescu) and in 1848, both in Wallachia and in Moldavia, to obtain the constitution – uprisings of limited importance as the participation of the people was scarce – the game benefited of the rivalries of the great powers. But it must be recognized that the Romanian patriots, among whom Ion Maiorescu, the poet Vasile Alecsandri, Mihail Kogălniceanu, the brothers Dumitru and Ion Brătianu emerged in the period from 1821 to 1858, Alexandru Cuza, they knew how to profit from those rivalries. Taking advantage of the contrast between Turkey and Russia, they obtained in 1822 from the Sublime Porta a limited autonomy in the internal affairs of the principalities, which were no longer entrusted to phanariots but to indigenous princes, and in 1831 by Russia, which for three years had occupied the country, a constitution (organic regulation), which, although it was in favor of the designs of Petersburg in that it gave prevalence in public life to the class of boyars partly loyal to the tsar, also, creating a parliament and a local militia, introducing the principle of electivity of the ospodari by the local assemblies, eliminating the Turkish occupation almost entirely, represented a step towards unification. For Romania 1997, please check aristmarketing.com.
It can be said that from 1851 to 1856 the government of the Danubian principalities had existed only in theory; first the occupation by Turkish and Russian troops, then the Russian occupation of 1853-54, during which the power of the princes was suspended, finally the Austrian occupation during the Crimean war (1854-56). The further structure of the principalities should have been fixed by the Paris congress. Already in 1855, in the Vienna conference, the first tastings had been made for the arrangement of the principalities, which were held in pledge by the military occupation; the representative of Russia had recommended a constitutional government, on the basis of organic regulation; the military forces of the principalities could have been increased only with the permission of Russia and with the consent of the Sublime Porte and other neighbors. England, on the other hand, favored union, for a prince appointed for life (and perhaps also with hereditary right); for a parliament, etc. Austria did not pronounce itself openly, but it was certainly hostile to the English plan because, as Iorga well recognizes, “it did not want to have in its vicinity a second Piedmont, a second Latin people who carried within themselves the seeds of a future national state more large “(N. Iorga, Poporului românesc history, IV, 1, Bucharest 1927, p. 118). The Paris Congress was preceded, on the question of principalities, by a conference of ambassadors held in Constantinople. Here Austria presented an elaborate plan for the establishment of the principalities which included the cessation of the Russian protectorate, the reconfirmation of the rights of the Sublime Porte, which would continue to appoint the princes on the basis of a proposal presented by the two countries. A senate would function alongside the prince. But in the Romanian lands the national party that called for the union of the principalities had made its way in recent years; the princes Barbu Ştirbei (brother of Bibescu and adopted son of the last Ştirbei) in Wallachia and Grigore Ghica in Moldavia became supporters of the idea of union and even asked, in a memoir addressed to the French cabinet and to the congress, the appointment of a foreign prince of a European dynasty. The French plenipotentiaries tried to support the Romanian demand, but after much discussion, the congress decided that the future structure of the principalities should be established on the basis of the wishes expressed by the people themselves.
It was a way of obtaining the same result by a longer and more tortuous path, but inevitable, because Turkey and Austria were openly opposed to the first project. The popular will would have been exposed by a meeting of Wallachians and Moldavians which was called, with a very barbaric Turkish-Latin neologism, divan ad – hoc. The Peace of Paris (March 30, 1856) also established the termination of the Austrian protectorate and placed the principalities under the collective guarantee of the seven powers gathered at the congress (Austria, Great Britain, France, Prussia, Russia, Sardinia and Turkey). The autonomy of the principalities had to be respected by all, but it was placed if not under “sovereignty”, under the suzeraineté of the Sublime Porta; the freedom of navigation on the Danube was placed under the supervision of a European commission. On the other hand, Austria had declared to the powers that it would not withdraw its troops if the northern border of Moldova was not definitively regulated. Thus the border question was settled and the three districts of Bessarabia: Cahul, Bolgrad and Ismail returned to Moldavia. Meanwhile, the term of government of the two princes expired, two regents were appointed, called with the Turkish name of caimacan, trusted by the Sublime Porte; in Moldavia Teodoro Balş a man of limited ability and great ambition and partisan of Austria, and in Wallachia Alessandro Demetrio Ghica, who had already been prince of Wallachia from 1834 to 1842, loyal to Turkey and eager to regain the throne, albeit as vassal of the sultan. These two caimacans were therefore decidedly opposed to the union; nor did the situation improve when, after Teodoro Balş died in 1857, the young Greek Nicola Vogorides was appointed caimacan of Moldavia. The electoral lists were made in a scandalous way (for example, of the two thousand landowners only 350 were chosen).