France 1830-1848
the Economy
France 1870-1890
the Economy
France 1852-1870
Domestic Policy
France 1848-1870
Intellectual Life

France 1848-1870 : the Economy

In 1848 Franve had 2,004 km of railway lines, in 1869 16,465 km. In 1849 the output of iron ore was 1,766,000 metric tons, in 1857 4,495,000, in 1869 3,131,000. The French population stood at 35.52 million in 1848, at 38.33 million in 1868. the population of Bordeaux frose from 131,000 in 1850 to 194,000 in 1870, of Marseille from 194,000 to 313,000, of Paris from 1,053,000 to 1,852,000, Lyon from 177,000 to 323,000.
The growth of the railway network drastically increased social mobility as well as market conditions; goods could be transported faster and cheaper. Industrial cities grew much faster than the nation's population did (URBANIZATION), while cities with little or no industry, such as Rouen, stagnated.
In 1855 and again in 1867 a WORLD EXHIBITION was staged in Paris. With her colonial empire growing, French banks invested overseas. Frenchmen FERDINAND DE LESSEPS organized the construction of the SUEZ CANAL (1859-1869). France's bourgeoisie was confident, believed in economic progress.
Napoleon's active foreign policy and the project to redesign Paris (HAUSSMANN) proved expensive; France's national debt increased considerably. The government was committed to progress; this was believed to depend on liberty. Strikes were permitted; a treaty with Britain in 1860 opened the French market further. France's industry found herself under increased international (i.e. mainly British) competition.

In 1865 the LATIN MONETARY UNION was founded, France being her leading member; others included Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria-Hungary (joined in 1867), Greece (joined in 1868). Exchange rates between member countries were fixed, the French, Belgian and Swiss Francs on par.

The 1855 Universal Exhibition Medal Cabinet, from CCIP
Biography of Ferdinand de Lesseps, from Suez Historique
17 novembre 1869 : Inauguration du canal de Suez, from Jours d'Histoire, in French
Latin Monetary Union, from Columbia Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS Coins issued during the Second Republic (1848-1852) and the Second Empire (1852-1870), from Numismatique-Histoire
REFERENCE Colin Heywood, The Development of the French Economy, 1750-1914, Cambridge : UP 1995, 74 pp., KMLA Lib. Call Sign 330.944 H622d
Maurice Agulhon, The Republican Experiment 1848-1852, (Fr. Or. 1973, Eng. Trsl. 1983) Cambridge UP 1999, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 944.07 A 284r
Alain Plessis, The Rise & Fall of the Second Empire 1852-1870, (Fr. Or. 1979, Eng. Trsl. 1985), Cambridge UP 1989, KLMA ib. Call Sign 944.07 P726r

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 9th 2004

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