France 1848-1852
Domestic Policy
France 1870-1890
Domestic Policy
France 1848-1870
the Economy

France 1852-1870 : Domestic Policy

In the FIRST REPUBLIC (1792-1804) and the SECOND REPUBLIC (1848-1852), France had seen a great degree of political instability - constitutions were frequently changed, the fundaments of society questioned. NAPOLEON III. wanted to reestablish political stability and regarded his deceased uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, as the role model to follow; he also regarded himself his legitimate successor.
Many liberals and conservatives, fearing radical socialist reforms that might deprive them of their property, thus supported Napoleon III. when he established the SECOND EMPIRE in 1852.
Napoleon reduced the restrictions laid on the CATHOLIC CHURCH; France resumed the policy of Louis XIV., declaring herself the protectress of Catholic christianity within the Ottoman Empire and promoting Catholic mission abroad.
In order to deprive potential revolutionaries from the means to easily paralyze traffic in Paris by erecting barricades, inner Paris was given a new shape by city planner GEORGES-EUGENE HAUSSMANN - wide boulevards leading from the center to the suburbs (which would facilitate troops marching in to crush a revolution).
Napoleon found out that foreign wars and military expeditions - if successful - raised national euphoria and thus were a tool to temporarily heal political friction at home.

Napoleon regarded himself as a social reformer. Before in power, he had declared, he intended to abolish PAUPERISM (poverty). The French economy grew, the population, too. Yet poverty in the industrial centers remained a problem, infectious diseases became more deadly than before, as malnourished workers lived closely together in unhealthy conditions. Among the bourgeoisie, Napoleon's rule was resented by devoted REPUBLICANS.

Biography of Napoleon III., from Catholic Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS La constitution francaise de 1852, from cliotexte
DISCOURS d'Adolphe Thiers sur les "libertes necessaires" (1864), from cliotexte
REFERENCE 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
Peter McPhee, A Social History of France 1789-1914, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan (1992) 2004, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 306.0944 M478s
Article : France, in : The American Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events, 1862 pp.475-479, 1863 pp.416-422, 1864 pp.381-386 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on September 1st 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz