1

What does 'no more than' mean in this sentence?

No more than European society before 1848 felt the revolutionary atmosphere enveloping and pressing it from all sides - source here.

Is it...

  1. No other society felt as much pressure as the pre-1848 European society.
  2. No other society felt as much pressure as the post-1848 European society.
  • Source? Or did you write this? It does not make any sense. – user3169 Sep 29 '15 at 4:56
  • @user3169 It's been taken from somewhere. But I don't want people to give a biased answer. I'll share the source tomorrow. – Phoenix Sep 29 '15 at 5:00
  • 3
    When you provide a link/source, you are likely to get appropriate answers rather than biased. So, do that. – Maulik V Sep 29 '15 at 5:18
  • But then many 'meanings' depend on the context. Using the same words, without having any context, wont get you precise answers. Thanks for the source though. – Maulik V Sep 29 '15 at 6:08
  • This question is actually impossible to answer without the additional context Maulik asked for. Luckily, it's answerable now :-) – snailboat Sep 29 '15 at 7:51
3

I think it's easier to understand that part of his speech in context.

That social revolution, it is true, was no novelty invented in 1848. Steam, electricity, and the self-acting mule were revolutionists of a rather more dangerous character than even citizens Barbés, Raspail and Blanqui. But, although the atmosphere in which we live, weighs upon every one with a 20,000 lb. force, do you feel it? No more than European society before 1848 felt the revolutionary atmosphere enveloping and pressing it from all sides.

Here is how I read it:

...
But, although the atmosphere in which we live, weighs upon every one with a 20,000 lb. force, do you feel it?
(The audience: No, we don't feel that!)

No more than European society before 1848 felt the revolutionary atmosphere enveloping and pressing it from all sides.
(= We don't feel that pressure any more than "European society before 1848" felt the revolutionary atmosphere, which was enveloping and pressing it from all sides.)

In plain English:

  • We don't feel the huge pressure of the atmosphere (that we live in).
  • European society before 1848 didn't feel the revolutionary atmosphere, either.

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