Bourbons, 1814-30, So Brief? Essay, Research Paper
Louis had, in 1814, agreed to govern by the footings of the Charter drawn up by his representatives and those of the Napoleonic constitution. Its broad visual aspect was helpful if at times misdirecting, but spiritual and personal freedom and equality before the jurisprudence, freedom of sentiment and security of belongings from arrogation were all reassuring for those who had benefitted from the last 25 old ages of alteration. The parliament that was set up had small freedom of action and was elected on a really narrow franchise based on belongings makings. The Charter nevertheless ensured the acquiescense of the in-between ranks of Gallic society who had a great want for stableness but much to lose in any full graduated table reaction to reconstruct the Ancien Regime. Louis was besides assissted by the exhaustion and the apathy brought on by the appaling cost, in lives and revenue enhancements, of Napoleon & # 8217 ; s escapades. This gave him clip to set up his government. His errors were fiddling, flags and the similar, but his dangers great. The Assembly elected in 1815 was dominated by the Ultras who now organised the & # 8216 ; White Terror & # 8217 ; of retaliation against known Bonapartists and Republicans. At this point Louis could good, with Ultra support, have carried out a putsch to reconstruct the power and furnishings of the Ancien Regime. To his great recognition he turned his dorsum on this enticement and, by back uping the moderate ministry of Decazes from 1816 to 1820, likely played the cardinal function in the successful Restoration of the Bourbons as a government which was acceptable to adequate Frenchmen to guarantee its endurance. He was assisted by good crops and general economic recovery but his ain good sense in modification, so far as he was able, the surpluss of the privileged subsisters of pre-revolutionary France, has been given l ess so merely acknowledgment in the Restoration of the Bourbon government. The blackwash of Louis & # 8217 ; nephew the Duke de Berri marked a turning point, for from 1820 Louis, older and a ill adult male, proved unable to defy reactionist force per unit area. By the clip of his decease in 1824 the government had a less broad visual aspect and the manner was already marked for the full monarchist reaction which Charles X intended to mount. The terminal of the Bourbons may merely be explained in the suggestion that, in his avidity to reconstruct the full glorification of the Ancien Regime, Charles X forgot the Revolution and failed to gain that it had created strong feelings in France that would defy any evident effort to reconstruct the yesteryear. Charles & # 8217 ; early policies were foolish and provocative: the enthronement in the ancient spiritual signifier, the dramatic addition in the powers of the Catholic Church, the generous compensation for the returning aristocracy who had lost their lands, all aroused the intuitions of the urban in-between category who were farther outraged by decreases in the involvement paid on their authorities investings. In all this Charles had
dangerously narrowed the basis of his support but had not yet endangered his throne. Indeed all might have been well, with the appointment in 1828 of the moderate Martignac as Chief Minister, for sensible moderation might still have kept him the support of the middle classes. In 1829 however Charles turned his back on any attempt to hold the loyalty of the new France when he appointed the Ultra of Ultras, Prince Polignac as his Chief Minister, a man who sought his policies in the realms of religious mysticism. Much of the blame for what followed must rest with Charles for, when even the narrowly based Assembly called for Polignac to be dismissed, Charles dissolved the Assembly. The elections which followed provided an even more recalcitrant Assembly with more opposition members and so Charles suspended the constitution and, in the Ordinances of St. Cloud created a new one under which less than one in a thousand of the population would have the vote. The basis of his support in France, as demonstrated by this episode, could hardly have been narrower. With moderate policies all those who had a vested interest in stability, notably the middle classes and perhaps the peasants, would have continued to tolerate the Bourbon regime. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Charles X had, perversely and blindly, thrown all this away. Unlike his brother he had not been prepared to compromise with the new forces in post-Revolutionary France. This is not however the total explanation of the downfall of the regime in 1830. It was not those who had once had some share in political life under Louis XVIII, and who now saw Charles snatching this and perhaps other liberties away, who now drove the last Bourbon from the throne of France. This role fell to the working classes of Paris, made desperate by worsening economic times. In the last fifteen years Paris had grown enormously through immigration from the countryside, thousands could find no work and faced starvation. They raised the barricades in the streets and shouted for revolution and in three days they had won. Neither the army nor Charles himself had any stomach for a fight and soon lost control of the capital to the mob. It might be argued that Charles lost his throne because he failed to ensure the loyalty and availability of his army before he embarked on a deliberately provocative series of policies. With equal validity it could be argued that the Regime’s failure to ease the economic plight of those outside the political system, and especially the Parisian working class amongst them, did more to bring about his downfall than any of his reactionary political proposals. What the latter did ensure was that none would be found to take up the regime’s cause when the moment of crisis came. Charles’ personal failure to offer resistance to the tide of events simply ensured the Bourbon regime ended swiftly and with the minimum of bloodshed.