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The relationship between the different types of suffrage and the creation (or construction) of democratic institutions in France from 1789 to 1870

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  1. Introduction.
  2. 1789- 1814: From the revolution to the first empire.
    1. The French Revolution.
    2. Sovereignty.
    3. Napoleon Bonaparte.
  3. 1814-1870: From the 'restoration' to the 2nd Empire.
    1. The July monarchy amends.
    2. The new power owners and a common set of basic convictions.
    3. The 5basis of the new constitution.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

From 1789 to 1870 in France, not less than eight constitutions and twelve regimes followed one after another. France also experienced all types of suffrages, from the most restricted one of the Ancient Regime, to the universal manhood suffrage. This period is undeniably crucial to one who aims to understand the slow evolution of the idea of democracy in the French people's mindset. Indeed, if the idea of democracy had an uninterrupted, quiet and progressive evolution in the mind of most French people, the democratization of the institutions happened in a rather uneven way. Although this definition is evolving during the period studied, democratic institutions are mainly characterized by the ability for the people as citizens to participate to their creation and amendment, and to the shaping of the State's policy, directly or by the election of representatives. The democratic nature of the institutions is as a result highly linked to the type of suffrage that is established. But if the universal suffrage is necessary to the construction of a democratic regime, it is not enough. From 1789 de 1870, what is the relationship between the different types of suffrage and the construction of democratic institutions in France?
In the fist part, we will see that from 1789 to 1814, the universal suffrage is starting to be considered as necessary for the creation of a legitimate regime, whereas democracy doesn't make any consensus.

[...] Indeed, in 1848 the National constituent assembly elected by universal suffrage on the 4th of April, most of which members are moderates, feared the developing of the social turmoil because of the increase of unemployment. As a result, they decided to close the National factory floor, only a month after their opening. This decision launched a workers revolt, and the bloody days of June 1848. General Cavaignac, named president of a temporary council, brutally crushed the rebellion, causing 5,000 deaths arrests, and more than 11,000 deportations. [...]


[...] II 1814-1870: from the ?restoration? to the 2nd Empire, the progressive winning back of the universal suffrage and democratization of the institutions On the 4th of June 1814, Louis 18th promulgated a Chart, which he granted the French. The monarchic regime which is instituted is moderated. On the one hand, the ?time chain? is ?tied up again?, as the sacred and sacrosanct king possesses the sovereignty, the executive power, and the initiative of the laws, and the Bourbon's dynasty is re-established, but on the other hand, the Chart maintains many gains of the Revolution and of the Empire, as the property right, freedom of expression and o the press, Religious liberty, and Napoleon's Civil Code. [...]


[...] But Robespierre and St Just obtained the deferment of its effectiveness, asserting that the government had to remain ?revolutionary until peace? France entered than in a period called the Terror. This regime soon becomes a revolutionary dictatorship. In April 1794, twelve commissions of two members each are substituted to the ministers. These commissions are controlled by the comities of the Assembly, which represent the real governing power. The Comité de Salut Public and ?Comité de sûreté générale (public salute comity and general security comity) are created to protect the Republic from its intern enemies - the royal catholic army of the ?vendéens?, and the insurrection of several ?federalist? cities- and from its extern enemies: a European coalition against France lead by the United Kingdom. [...]

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