The Republican Experiment, 1848-1852

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Before 1848, France had been ruled by the 'July Monarchy', a liberal regime without democratic participation. After 1852, France was to be ruled by the Second Empire, an anti-liberal regime with some democratic participation. In the intervening period, the Second Republic boldly attempted to combine liberty with democracy for the first time in French history. Despite the Republic's failure of 1851–2, its aims were of great significance and marked the beginning of the modern era of republican France: the starting-point of what we nowadays consider the normal standard of politics in civilised countries. The reasons for the Republic's temporary failure are no less instructive, and in explaining them Professor Agulhon considers the problems of social conditions and the psychological 'apprenticeship' of the masses of new citizens. Thus his book has a special purpose, beyond the narrative treatment of events: to emphasise the relationship between the political history of France 1848–52 and the history of popular culture and thought.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Agulhon provides an excellent synthesis of political, intellectual, economic and social history, with intelligent and judicious interpretations on every page.' History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521248297
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1983
  • Series: History of Modern France Series
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Chronology ix
Why the Republic? 1
A historical and political struggle 1
A society in crisis 6
Romanticism and the education of the people 9
A 'republican party' 14
The trial and failure of a kind of socialism 24 February-4 May 1848 22
The change of regime 23
The provisional government in action 32
The beginnings of conflict 45
3 The re-establishment of order May 1848-June 1849 49
The Executive Commission 5 May-24 June 1848 49
The Cavaignac government 24 June-20 December 1848 60
The beginning of the presidency of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte 20 December 1848-13 June 1849 73
4 France faced with the great alternative: order or social democracy 81
Economic conditions in 1849-50 82
The 'Mountain' 85
The 'party of order' 94
Regional variations 105
Between the conservative order and the Bonapartist order June 1849-November 1851 117
Bonaparte and the bourgeois. 1: an antithesis 117
Bonaparte and the bourgeois. 2: equivocations 118
The effects of joint repression 119
The political turning-point of the year 1850 124
The rise of Bonapartism 130
Bonaparte's coup d'Etat and the republican resistance 2-10 December 1851 138
The 'coup d'Etat' in Paris 138
Resistance in the provinces 149
Interpretations and consequences 160
From the coup d'Etat to the Empire December 1851-December 1852 166
The anti-republican repression 166
The institutions 172
The great economic initiatives 178
The return to imperial monarchy 183
Conclusion 187
The Republic of the 'forty-eighters' 188
The official Republic 191
The Bonapartist dictatorship 192
Appendix Statistics of the repression of the insurrection of December 1851 196
Notes 199
Bibliography 204
Index of names 209
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