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Motto: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
Anthem: Le Chant des Girondins
"The Song of Girondists"
The French Republic in 1848
|Religion|| Roman Catholicism |
|Government|| Semi-presidential republic (1848–1851)|
Presidential republic (1851–1852)
|Prince Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte|
• 1848 (first)
• 1851 (last)
|23 February 1848|
|27 April 1848|
|4 November 1848|
|2 December 1851|
|2 December 1852|
|ISO 3166 code||FR|
|Today part of|
The French Second Republic was a short-lived republican government of France under President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. It lasted from the 1848 Revolution to the 1851 coup by which the president made himself Emperor Napoleon III and initiated the Second Empire. It officially adopted the motto of the First Republic, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité . The Second Republic witnessed the tension between the "Social and Democratic Republic" (French: la République démocratique et sociale) and a Radical form of republicanism, which exploded during the June Days uprising of 1848.
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|History of France|
The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution, was one of a wave of revolutions across Europe in that year. The events swept away the Orleans Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the nation's second republic.
The Revolution of 1830, part of a wave of similar regime changes across Europe, had put an end to the absolute monarchy of the Bourbon Restoration and installed a more liberal constitutional monarchy under the Orleans dynasty and governed predominantly by Guizot's conservative-liberal centre-right and Thiers's progressive-liberal centre-left.
But to the left of the dynastic parties, the monarchy was criticised by Republicans (a mixture of Radicals and socialists) for being insufficiently democratic: its electoral system was based on a narrow, privileged electorate of property-owners and therefore excluded workers. During the 1840s several petitions requesting electoral reform (universal manhood suffrage) had been issued by the National Guard, but had been rejected by both of the main dynastic parties. Political meetings dedicated to this issue were banned by the government, and electoral reformers therefore bypassed the ban by holding a series of 'banquets' (1847-48), events where political debate was disguised as dinner speeches. This movement began overseen by Odilon Barrot's moderate centre-left liberal critics of Guizot's conservative government, but took on a life of its own after 1846, when economic crisis encouraged ordinary workers to demand a say over government.
On 14 February 1848 Guizot's government decided to put an end to the banquets, on the grounds of constituting illegal political assembly. On 22 February, striking workers and republican students took to the streets, demanding an end to Guizot's government, and erected barricades. Odilon Barrot called a motion of no confidence in Guizot, hoping that this might satisfy the rioters, but the Chamber of Deputies sided with the premier. The government called a state of emergency, thinking it could rely on the troops of the National Guard, but instead on the morning of 23 February the Guardsmen sided with the revolutionaries, protecting them from the regular soldiers who by now had been called in.
The industrial population of the faubourgs was welcomed by the National Guard on their way towards the centre of Paris. Barricades were raised after the shooting of protestors outside the Guizot manor by soldiers.
On 23 February 1848 premier François Guizot's cabinet resigned, abandoned by the petite bourgeoisie, on whose support they thought they could depend. The heads of the more left-leaning conservative-liberal monarchist parties, Louis-Mathieu Molé and Adolphe Thiers, declined to form a government. Odilon Barrot accepted, and Thomas Robert Bugeaud, commander-in-chief of the first military division, who had begun to attack the barricades, was recalled. In the face of the insurrection that had now taken possession of the whole capital, King Louis-Philippe abdicated in favour of his grandson, Prince Philippe, Count of Paris claimed by Alphonse de Lamartine in the name of the provisional government elected by the Chamber of Deputies under the pressure of the mob.
This provisional government with Dupont de l'Eure as its president, consisted of Lamartine for foreign affairs, Crémieux for justice, Ledru-Rollin for the interior, Carnot for public instruction, Goudchaux for finance, Arago for the navy, and Burdeau for war. Garnier-Pagès was mayor of Paris.
But, as in 1830, the republican-socialist party had set up a rival government at the Hôtel de Ville (city hall), including Louis Blanc, Armand Marrast, Ferdinand Flocon, and Alexandre Martin, known as Albert L'Ouvrier ("Albert the Worker"), which bid fair to involve discord and civil war. But this time the Palais Bourbon was not victorious over the Hôtel de Ville. It had to consent to a fusion of the two bodies, in which, however, the predominating elements were the moderate republicans. It was uncertain what the policy of the new government would be.
One party seeing that in spite of the changes in the last sixty years of all political institutions the position of the people had not been improved, demanded a reform of society itself, the abolition of the privileged position of property, which they viewed as the only obstacle to equality, and as an emblem hoisted the red flag (the 1791 red flag was, however, the symbol not merely of the French Revolution, but rather of martial law and of order). The other party wished to maintain society on the basis of its traditional institutions, and rallied round the tricolore. As a concession made by Lamartine to popular aspirations, and in exchange of the maintaining of the tricolor flag, he conceded the Republican triptych of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité , written on the flag, on which a red rosette was also to be added.
The first collision took place as to the form which the 1848 Revolution was to take. Lamartine wished for them to maintain their original principles, with the whole country as supreme, whereas the revolutionaries under Ledru-Rollin wished for the republic of Paris to hold a monopoly on political power. On 5 March the government, under the pressure of the Parisian clubs, decided in favour of an immediate reference to the people, and direct universal suffrage, and adjourned it until 26 April. This added the uneducated masses to the electorate and led to the election of the Constituent Assembly of 4 May 1848. The provisional government having resigned, the republican and anti-socialist majority on 9 May entrusted the supreme power to an Executive Commission consisting of five members: Arago, Pierre Marie de Saint-Georges, Garnier-Pagès, Lamartine and Ledru-Rollin.
The result of the general election, the return of a constituent assembly, predominantly moderate, if not monarchical, dashed the hopes of those who had looked for the establishment, by a peaceful revolution, of their ideal socialist state; but they were not prepared to yield without a struggle, and in Paris itself they commanded a formidable force. In spite of the preponderance of the "tri-colour" party in the provisional government, so long as the voice of France had not spoken, the socialists, supported by the Parisian proletariat, had exercised an influence on policy disproportionate to their relative numbers. By the decree of 24 February, the provisional government had solemnly accepted the principle of the "right to work," and decided to establish "National Workshops" for the unemployed; at the same time, a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg Palace, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labor; and, lastly, by the decree of 8 March, the property qualification for enrollment in the National Guard had been abolished and the workmen were supplied with arms. The socialists thus formed a sort of state-within-a-state, complete with a government and an armed force.
On 15 May, an armed mob, headed by Raspail, Blanqui and Barbès, and assisted by the proletariat-aligned Guard, attempted to overwhelm the Assembly, but were defeated by the bourgeois-aligned battalions of the National Guard. Meanwhile, the national workshops were unable to provide remunerative work for the genuine unemployed, and of the thousands who applied, the greater number were employed in aimless digging and refilling of trenches; soon even this expedient failed, and those for whom work could not be invented were given a half wage of 1 franc a day. Even this pitiful dole, with no obligation to work, proved attractive, and all over France, workmen quit their jobs and traveled to Paris, where they swelled the ranks of the army under the red flag. The socialist economic plan was straining state finances, and as the émeute of 15 May had proven that it constituted a perpetual menace to the state, the government decided to end it.
On 21 June, Alfred de Falloux decided in the name of the parliamentary commission on labour that the workmen should be discharged within three days and those who were able-bodied should be forced to enlist.
After this, the June Days Uprising broke out, over the course of 24–26 June, when the eastern industrial quarter of Paris, led by Pujol, fought the western quarter, led by Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, who had been appointed dictator. The socialist party was defeated and afterwards its members were deported. But the republic had been discredited and had already become unpopular with both the peasants, who were exasperated by the new land tax of 45 centimes imposed in order to fill the empty treasury, and with the bourgeoisie, who were intimidated by the power of the revolutionary clubs and disadvantaged by the economic stagnation. By the "massacres" of the June Days, the working classes were also alienated from it. The Duke of Wellington wrote at this time, "France needs a Napoleon! I cannot yet see him..." The granting of universal suffrage to a society with Imperialist sympathies would benefit reactionaries, which culminated in the election of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte as president of the republic.
The new constitution, proclaiming a democratic republic, direct universal suffrage and the separation of powers, was promulgated on 4 November.Under the new constitution, there was to be a single permanent Assembly of 750 members elected for a term of three years by the scrutin de liste. The Assembly would elect members of a Council of State to serve for six years. Laws would be proposed by the Council of State, to be voted on by the Assembly. The executive power was delegated to the President, who was elected for four years by direct universal suffrage, i.e. on a broader basis than that of the Assembly, and was not eligible for re-election. He was to choose his ministers, who, like him, would be responsible to the Assembly. Finally, revision of the constitution was made practically impossible: it involved obtaining three times in succession a majority of three-quarters of the deputies in a special assembly. It was in vain that Jules Grévy, in the name of those who perceived the obvious and inevitable risk of creating, under the name of a president, a monarch and more than a king, proposed that the head of the state should be no more than a removable president of the ministerial council. Lamartine, thinking that he was sure to be the choice of the electors under universal suffrage, won over the support of the Chamber, which did not even take the precaution of rendering ineligible the members of families which had reigned over France. It made the presidency an office dependent upon popular acclamation.
The election was keenly contested; the democratic republicans adopted as their candidate Ledru-Rollin, the "pure republicans" Cavaignac, and the recently reorganized Imperialist party Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. Unknown in 1835, and forgotten or despised since 1840, Louis Napoleon had in the last eight years advanced sufficiently in the public estimation to be elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1848 by five departments. He owed this rapid increase of popularity partly to blunders of the government of July, which had unwisely aroused the memory of the country, filled as it was with recollections of the Empire, and partly to Louis Napoléon's campaign carried on from his prison at Ham by means of pamphlets of socialistic tendencies. Moreover, the monarchists, led by Thiers and the committee of the Rue de Poitiers, were no longer content even with the safe dictatorship of the upright Cavaignac, and joined forces with the Bonapartists. On 10 December the peasants gave over 5,000,000 votes to a name: Napoléon, which stood for order at all costs, against 1,400,000 for Cavaignac.
Henri Georges Boulay de la Meurthe was elected Vice President, a unique position in French history.
For three years, there was an indecisive struggle between the heterogeneous Assembly and the President, who was silently awaiting his opportunity. He chose as his ministers men with little inclination towards republicanism, with a preference for Orléanists, the chief of whom was Odilon Barrot. In order to strengthen his position, he endeavored to conciliate the reactionary parties, without committing himself to any of them. The chief instance of this was the expedition to Rome voted by the Catholics, to restore the temporal authority of the Pope Pius IX, who had fled Rome in fear of the nationalists and republicans. (Garibaldi and Mazzini had been elected to a Constitutional Assembly.) The Pope called for international intervention to restore him in his temporal power. The French President moved to establish the power and prestige of France against that of Austria, as beginning the work of European renovation and reconstruction which he already looked upon as his mission. French troops under Oudinot marched into Rome. This provoked a foolish insurrection in Paris in favor of the Roman Republic, that of the Château d'Eau, which was crushed on 13 June 1849. On the other hand, when the Pope, though only just restored, began to yield to the general movement of reaction, the President demanded that he should set up a Liberal government. The Pope's dilatory reply having been accepted by the French ministry, the President replaced it on 1 November, by the Fould-Rouher cabinet.
This looked like a declaration of war against the Catholic and monarchist majority in the Legislative Assembly, which had been elected on 28 May in a moment of panic. But the President again pretended to be playing the game of the Orléanists, as he had done in the case of the Constituent Assembly. The complementary elections of March and April 1850 resulted in an unexpected victory for the republicans which alarmed the conservative leaders, Thiers, Berryer and Montalembert. The President and the Assembly co-operated in the passage of the Loi Falloux of 15 March 1850, which again placed university instruction under the direction of the Church.
A conservative electoral law was passed on 31 May. It required each voter to prove three years' residence at his current address, by entries in the record of direct taxes. This effectively repealed universal suffrage: factory workers, who moved fairly often, were thus disenfranchised. The law of 16 July aggravated the severity of the press restrictions by re-establishing the "caution money" (cautionnement) deposited by proprietors and editors of papers with the government as a guarantee of good behavior. Finally, a skillful interpretation of the law on clubs and political societies suppressed about this time all the republican societies. It was now their turn to be crushed like the socialists.
However, the president had only joined in Montalembert's cry of "Down with the Republicans!" in the hope of effecting a revision of the constitution without having recourse to a coup d'état . His concessions only increased the boldness of the monarchists, while they had only accepted Louis-Napoléon as president in opposition to the Republic and as a step in the direction of the monarchy. A conflict was now inevitable between his personal policy and the majority of the Chamber, who were moreover divided into legitimists and Orléanists, in spite of the death of Louis-Philippe in August 1850.
Louis-Napoléon exploited their projects for a restoration of the monarchy, which he knew to be unpopular in the country, and which gave him the opportunity of furthering his own personal ambitions. From 8 August to 12 November 1850 he went about France stating the case for a revision of the constitution in speeches which he varied according to each place; he held reviews, at which cries of "Vive Napoléon!" showed that the army was with him; he superseded General Changarnier, on whose arms the parliament relied for the projected monarchical coup d'état; he replaced his Orléanist ministry by obscure men devoted to his own cause, such as Morny, Fleury and Persigny, and gathered round him officers of the African army, broken men like General Saint-Arnaud; in fact he practically declared open war.
His reply to the votes of censure passed by the Assembly, and their refusal to increase his civil list was to hint at a vast communistic plot in order to scare the bourgeoisie, and to denounce the electoral law of 31 May 1850, in order to gain the support of the mass of the people. The Assembly retaliated by throwing out the proposal for a partial reform of that article of the constitution which prohibited the re-election of the president and the re-establishment of universal suffrage (July). All hope of a peaceful issue was at an end. When the questors called upon the Chamber to have posted up in all barracks the decree of 6 May 1848 concerning the right of the Assembly to demand the support of the troops if attacked, the Mountain, dreading a restoration of the monarchy, voted with the Bonapartists against the measure, thus disarming the legislative power.
Louis-Napoléon saw his opportunity, and organised the French coup of 1851. On the night of 1/2 December 1851, the anniversary of his uncle Napoleon's coronation in 1804 and his victory at Austerlitz in 1805, he dissolved the Chamber, re-established universal suffrage, had all the party leaders arrested, and summoned a new assembly to prolong his term of office for ten years. The deputies who had met under Berryer at the Mairie of the 10th arrondissement to defend the constitution and proclaim the deposition of Louis Napoleon were scattered by the troops at Mazas and Mont Valérien. The resistance organized by the republicans within Paris under Victor Hugo was soon subdued by the intoxicated soldiers. The more serious resistance in the départements was crushed by declaring a state of siege and by the "mixed commissions." The plebiscite of 20 December, ratified by a huge majority the coup d'état in favour of the prince-president, who alone reaped the benefit of the excesses of the Republicans and the reactionary passions of the monarchists.
Camille Hyacinthe Odilon Barrot was a French politician who was briefly head of the council of ministers under Prince Louis Napoleon in 1848–49.
Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe Thiers was a French statesman and historian. He was the second elected President of France, and the first President of the French Third Republic.
Orléanist was a 19th-century French political label originally used by those who supported a constitutional monarchy, expressed by the House of Orléans. Due to the radical political changes that occurred during that century in France, three different phases of Orléanism can be identified:
Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure was a French lawyer and statesman.
The Legitimists are royalists who adhere to the rights of dynastic succession to the French crown of the descendants of the eldest branch of the Bourbon dynasty, which was overthrown in the 1830 July Revolution. They reject the claim of the July Monarchy of 1830–1848 which placed Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans head of the Orléans cadet branch of the Bourbon dynasty on the throne until he too was dethroned and driven with his family into exile.
Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin was a French politician, a champion of the working classes who was forced into exile after the failure of the French Revolution of 1848.
The July Monarchy was a liberal constitutional monarchy in France under Louis Philippe I, starting with the July Revolution of 1830 and ending with the Revolution of 1848. It marks the end of the Bourbon Restoration (1814–1830). It began with the overthrow of the conservative government of Charles X, the last king of the House of Bourbon.
The 16 May 1877 crisis was a constitutional crisis in the French Third Republic concerning the distribution of power between the President and the legislature. When the royalist President Patrice MacMahon dismissed the Opportunist Republican Prime Minister Jules Simon, the parliament on 16 May 1877 refused to support the new government and was dissolved by the President. New elections resulted in the royalists increasing their seat totals, but nonetheless resulted in a majority for the Republicans. Thus, the interpretation of the 1875 Constitution as a parliamentary system prevailed over a presidential system. The crisis ultimately sealed the defeat of the royalist movement, and was instrumental in creating the conditions of the longevity of the Third Republic.
The Executive Commission of 1848 was a short-lived government during the French Second Republic, chaired by François Arago, that exercised executive power from 9 May 1848 to 24 June 1848. It succeeded the Provisional Government of 1848 and was in turn replaced by the Cabinet of General Cavaignac. The members of the Commission acted as joint head of state.
The French presidential election of 1848 was the first ever held. It elected the first and only president of the Second Republic. The election was held on 10 December 1848 and led to the surprise victory of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte with 74% of the vote.
The Campagne des banquets were political meetings during the July Monarchy in France which destabilized the King of the French Louis-Philippe. The campaign officially took place from 9 July 1847 to 25 December 1847, but in fact continued until the February 1848 Revolution during which the Second Republic was proclaimed. During this campaign, the Republican triptych Liberté, égalité, fraternité resurfaced, for example in Lille with Ledru-Rollin.
The Falloux Laws promoted Catholic schools in France in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. They were voted in during the French Second Republic and promulgated on 15 March 1850 and in 1851, following the presidential election of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte as president in December 1848 and the May 1849 legislative elections that gave a majority to the conservative Parti de l'Ordre. Named for the Minister of Education Alfred de Falloux, they mainly aimed at promoting Catholic teaching. The Falloux Law of 15 March 1850 also extended the requirements of the Guizot Law of 1833, which had mandated a boys' school in each commune of more than 500 inhabitants, to require a girls' school in those communes. The 1851 law created a mixed system, in which some primary education establishments were public and controlled by the state and others were under the supervision of Catholic congregations.
The Mountain, with its members collectively called Democratic Socialists, was a political group of the French Second Republic.
The French demonstration of 15 May 1848 was an event played out, mostly, in the streets of Paris. It was intended to reverse the results of a Second-Republic election of deputies to the Constituent Assembly. It is difficult to say, with any precision, whether this phenomenon should be called a demonstration, a riot, an invasion, an rebellion, or an attempted coup d'état. Nonetheless, it seems to have been largely unplanned, not particularly bloody, and indisputably a failure.
The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution, was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.
The Left in France was represented at the beginning of the 20th century by two main political parties, namely the Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party and the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), created in 1905 as a merger of various Marxist parties.
The Provisional government was a short-lived government formed on 24 February 1848 at the start of the French Second Republic, after the Cabinet of François-Pierre Guizot and the July Monarchy had been thrown out of power. It was succeeded by the Executive Commission of 1848.
Ferdinand Flocon was a French journalist and politician who was one of the founding members of the Provisional Government at the start of the French Second Republic in 1848. He was Minister of Agriculture and Commerce for the Executive Commission of 1848. He opposed Louis Napoleon and was forced into exile in the Second French Empire (1852–1870).
The Moderate Republicans were a large political group active from the birth of the French Second Republic (1848) to the collapse of the Second French Empire (1870).
Jean Marie Noël Godefroy Calès was a French physician and politician. He was born on March 21, 1799 in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) and died on July 25, 1868 in Villefranche-de-Lauragais (Haute-Garonne).