THE FRENCH POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
1800-1900

Michael Rodgers

Credits


The First Republic and Empire
1799-1814

Napoleon Bonaparte entered Paris in 1799 and was crowned First Consul at the age of thirty. He was a brilliant politician and a military genius. He took the title of emperor Napoleon I in 1804. He established a powerful central administration and a strong code of law. He engaged in numerous military campaigns and nearly won control of the entire European continent. His downfall came with his ill fated attempt to take over Russia in 1812. His final defeat at Waterloo in 1815 cost him the rule of the French Empire for ever..

NAPOLEON I

LOUIS XVIII

The Bourbon Restoration
1814-1824

Louis XVIII replaced Napoleon Republic in 1814 with a Constitutional Monarchy. He acted over a constitutional charter, that included a parliament He was the brother of Louis XVI. He fled France during Napoleons Hundred Days take over of Paris. His regime welcomed the rise of the upper classes. He passed electoral laws to increase the influence of the wealthy classes. This trend continued and was intensified during the reign of his brother Charles X.
The Bourbon Restoration
1824-1830

Louis XVIII constitutional monarchy was overthrown by Charles X, whose conservatism was reminiscent of the old Ancien regime. Charles enacted many laws in his quest to reestablish elements of the Ancien regime. He enacted a law in 1825 indemnified the émigrés for lands confiscated during the Revolution. He enacted measures that increased the power of the clergy that met with particular disapproval. His dissolution in March 1830 of the liberal chamber of deputies and his drastic July Ordinances, that established rigid control of the press, resulted in the July Revolution of 1830.

CHARLES X

LOUIS PHILIPPE

The July Monarchy
1830 1848

The following July Monarchy, led by King Louis Philippe ruled over France for 18 years. At the end of Charles X rule the French middle and lower classes were growing disobedient. In 1830 Louis Philippe was proclaimed king by the Chamber of Deputies. At first Louis Philippe was content to accommodate the Republicans who had helped bring him to power. Gradually he became more authoritarian. The last years of his reign were marked by corruption in domestic affairs and by inactivity in foreign affairs.

The Second Republic and Third Empire
1848-1870

In 1848, Louis Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon I, was elected through a national vote, the first president of the Second Republic. In 1852, he was proclaimed Emperor Napoleon III. He commissioned Baron Haussman to redesign Paris and this helped the French industrial revolution. The Franco-Prussian War led to his demise. He himself went into battle and was taken prisoner. France lost control of Alsace and East Lorraine to Germany and he lost control of France.

NAPOLEON III


Adolphe Thiers
The Third Republic
1870-1940

The Third Republic formed as a conservative government led by Adolphe Thiers based in Versailles. He reorganized the defeated country administratively, financially, and militarily. For the next two years Thiers ruled France. Quarreling ensued over the constitution that France should adopt, and Thiers was pushed from a conservative position to a Republican one. As a result, he was driven from power in 1873. Thiers experienced his finest triumph in 1877 the year of his death when Léon Gambetta proclaimed him 'liberator of land' for having rid France of the Prussians. After his loss of power, turmoil and internal strife ruled until W.W.I.

 


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