The whole nineteenth century can be seen as a century of experiment of political systems and institutions, a span of time where the French population looked for a political identity according to its specific heritage by trying a lot of regimes through different Constitutions. However, no system of this century was really new: they had all been tested during the Revolution, and the memory each one determined the possibility of their reappearance during the nineteenth century. As the dates of the French Revolution are discussed among historians, I choose, for this paper, to settle them from 1789 to 1815. So I shall see the evolution of the nineteenth century from 1815 to 1879 through the perspective of the revolutionary legacy. Thus the main parts of the paper shall be shaped by the four regimes which took place during the period, the Restoration, the Second Republic, the Second Empire and the Third Republic.
[...] His way of dissolving the liberal Chamber of MPs led to the July Revolution and its “Trois Glorieuses”, meaning the three days of intense fight in Paris. That kind of absolute monarchy couldn't be tolerated after the dissolution of the Ancient Regime but then, a moment hesitation took place. The thirst for freedom was his high but the memory of the First Republic and its Terror scared the grand majority. Republic is associated with bloodshed and massive executions, above all among the Parisians, the drivers of this change of regime. [...]
[...] The Commune took control of the “Hôtel de Ville” and run new elections in the capital, which gave, with 50% of abstention, the Counsel of the Commune. Moderated resigned, replaced by another elected with even less participation. It arose a question of legitimacy, even inside the town and its leaders. This insurrection get back to a lot of measures undertaken in 1792 like social statements about education, anticlericalism background, will for a direct democracy and massive executions of “traitors”. But the army ended up retaking Paris, street by street, with harsh fights. [...]
[...] On that day occurred the first non-violent change of regime, without riots or bloodshed, the difference between it and all the other changes since the Revolution is remarkable. It institutes a new political era, the shift is also accepted by Bonapartists, who realize the impossibility of continuation. It's decided by the Republicans, only organization left in power, to create a transitory government based on the representatives from Paris. But the main question of legitimacy, left unanswered since the execution of Louis XVI, remained a problem. [...]
[...] In order to increase and maintain his popularity, Louis-Napoléon saw the immediate opportunity of claiming the First Empire inheritance. The memory of the military power, of the cultural influence and secure order of this period, since idealized, back him up to the become Napoléon III by referendum with more than yes and no and 2 millions of abstention-. The Republican hadn't campaigned nor acted for the countrymen under the Second Republic while Napoléon had their backing, mostly resulting from the image of the First Empire and his insistence in establishing the universal suffrage. [...]
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