France 1830-1848
Domestic Policy
France 1852-1870
Domestic Policy

France 1848-1852 : Domestic Policy

The government of LOUIS PHILIPPE, nicknamed the CITIZEN KING, lost much popularity in the later 1840es. Early in 1848 the King replaced unpopular prime minister FRANCOIS GUIZOT by the liberal Count Mole. This might have sufficed to appease the protesters and have the BARRICADES removed, if nervous troops would not have opened fire. Immediately radical agitators found a public willing to listen; barricades went up throughout Paris. Soon men of the National Guard joined the revolutionaries; on Feb. 24th a PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT was proclaimed. The SECOND REPUBLIC was proclaimed.
Major reforms were implemented, such as the introduction of UNIVERSAL ADULT MANHOOD SUFFRAGE and the LIBERATION OF THE SLAVES, the latter credited to VICTOR SCHOELCHER. Political clubs were opened. The opinions of radicals, liberals, conservatives collided; as political parties were not yet organized, the situation was inpredicatable (millions of first-time voters, many of whom analphabets), kind of chaotic and changed frequently.
To deal with unemployment, the government introduced NATIONAL WORKSHOPS in the major cities; republican policy was financed by additional taxation on the wealthy. Radicals demanded the nationalization of key industries such as railways, canals, mines. The conservatives, which held the majority of the seats, were alarmed, intent on reducing the influence of the radicals and averting any risk of them ever taking power by democratic election. On Dec. 2nd, LOUIS-NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (Napoleon III.) staged a coup d'etat. The electoral law was reformed, a third of the voters dropped from the electoral rolls. In a plebiscite in November Napoleon III. had the republic transferred into a hereditary empire.

DOCUMENTS Documents of the Revolution of 1848 in France, from Hanover Historixal Texts Project
Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) : History of the Revolution of 1848 in France, from Modern History Sourcebook
Percy B. St. John : The French Revolution in 1848, from Modern History Sourcebook
1848 decret abolishing slavery, from Victor Schoelcher, l'abolition de l'esclavage, in French
Medailles of 1848, of 1849-1852, from Numismatique - Monnaie
La deuxieme Republique (1848), from cliotexte
REFERENCE Maurice Agulhon, The Republican Experiment 1848-1852, (Fr. Or. 1973, Eng. Trsl. 1983) Cambridge UP 1999, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 944.07 A 284r
Peter McPhee, A Social History of France 1789-1914, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan (1992) 2004, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 306.0944 M478s

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on March 30th 2007

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