|Leaders|| Alphonse de Lamartine |
|Succeeded by|| Opportunist Republicans |
|Newspaper|| Le National |
|Ideology|| Liberalism |
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).
Originally, the Moderate Republicans was a group of politicians, writers and journalists close to the newspaper Le National . After the February Revolution of 1848, they became the official majority group in the Provisional Governmentled by Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, François Arago and Dupont de l'Eure that became the official head of the government. Reputed to be the winners of the 1848 Constituent Assembly election, the Moderate Republicans were strategically allied to The Mountain, the left-wing group, against the monarchists.
During this time, the Moderate Republicans were also divided in two groups, namely the Sleeping Republicans (active until the February Revolution) and the Morning-after Republicans that opportunistically endorsed the new regime. The latter were the Legitimists who hated the Orléanist July Monarchy and the Catholics who suffered until the Louis Philippe I's restrictions.After the 1848 election, the Moderate Republicans became the majority in the National Assembly, but this group was composed mainly of Morning-after Republicans with a temporary union.
The formation of the Executive Commission was de facto dominated by the Moderate Republicans, with few concessions to the socialists.However, after the June Days uprising the opportunist group led by Adolphe Thiers started a hard politics against the socialists. The problems convinced the General Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, strong republican, to take over the Moderate Republicans, who was also the favourite candidate for the incumbent presidential election.
The internal conflict in the Moderate Republicans caused a division regarding the official candidate between Cavaignac and Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, but at the end chose to support Cavaignac. Bonaparte's victory in the presidential election of 1848 signalled the end of the Moderate Republicans government.The legislative elections of 1849 brought the Moderate Republicans' isolation as they obtained only 75 seats, down from 600 the previous year, losing to the conservative Party of Order. The disown was massive.
After 1849, the main opponents of the now commonly named Republicans were the Catholic Church, for its counter-revolutionary and reactionary ideas. However, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was a strong supporter of clericalism and the Concordat of 1801. In this time, the Republicans and the Bonapartists started a bitter rivalry. After the coup d'état of 1851 and the proclamation of the Second French Empire, Napoleon III (the official title of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte) repressed the Republicans, with 239 being imprisoned to Cayenne and 6,000 of 10,000 people interned in military camps in Algeria while some were guillotined or sentenced to house arrest in France. At the end, around 1,500 Republicans like Victor Hugo were exiled from France. Despite the amnesty of 15 August 1859, some exiled Republicans never returned to France (like Hugo, former Montagnard Ledru-Rollin, Louis Blanc and Armand Barbès). Hugo coined the expression "When liberty returns, I will return".
With the weakening of the French Empire, the Republicans returned to the political scene and took advantage of the liberal laws of 1868 and some diplomatic difficulties. They became the official opposition group with the Léon Gambetta's Belleville Agenda of 1869 based on radical, progressive, laicist and reformist goals. In the final years of the French Empire, the Republicans were divided in three factions:
The Republicans officially ended with the Paris Commune of 1871 and the consolidation of the French Third Republic when its leaders started two different groups, namely the Opportunist Republicans (also called the Moderates) and the Republican Union.
|Election year||No. of|
overall seats won
600 / 880
75 / 705
|1852 [a]||810 962 (3rd)||13.4%|
3 / 263
|1857 [a]||665,000 (2nd)||10.9%|
7 / 283
17 / 283
30 / 283
Camille Hyacinthe Odilon Barrot was a French politician who was briefly head of the council of ministers under Prince Louis Napoleon in 1848–49.
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:
Louis-Eugène Cavaignac was a French general and politician who served as head of the executive power of France between June and December 1848, during the French Second Republic.
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The Moderates or Moderate Republicans, pejoratively labeled Opportunist Republicans, were a French political group active in the late 19th century during the Third French Republic. The leaders of the group included Adolphe Thiers, Jules Ferry, Jules Grévy, Henri Wallon and René Waldeck-Rousseau.
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Michel Goudchaux was a French banker and politician who was twice Minister of Finance during the French Second Republic. A firm Republican, he refused to accept the government of Napoleon III.
Ariste Jacques Trouvé-Chauvel was a French businessman, banker and politician. He was briefly Minister of Finance towards the end 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).
Démosthène Ollivier was a French businessman and politician. He was a staunch democrat and Republican, and was opposed to the Bourbon Restoration and the monarchy of Louis Philippe I. In the 1830s he was a friend of the Italian nationalist politician Giuseppe Mazzini. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly after the revolution of 1848. He protested the 1851 coup by Prince Louis Napoleon, and was forced into exile. His son Émile Ollivier became a prominent politician, and Démosthène Ollivier was allowed to return to France in 1860.
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