FRANCE HISTORY, the World War 2, french history

France during WWII (World War II) : Normandy, D Day, German Nazi, Hitler, Omaha Beach, De Gaulle

France History : the World War II

France surrendered to Nazi Germany early in World War II (June 24, 1940). Nazi Germany occupied three fifths of France’s territory (Northern France and the entire French Atlantic Coast) and on July 10, 1940 established a new French government based at the town of Vichy.

This government, was commonly referred to as Vichy France and was headed by Henri Philippe Pétain, a General during World War One. Its senior leaders acquiesced in the plunder of French resources, as well as the sending of French forced labor to Nazi Germany; in doing so, they claimed they hoped to preserve at least some small amount of French sovereignty.

In the meantime, civilian anti-semites and Vichy officials aided in the concentration and persecution of Jews, in particular those of foreign citizenship. The Nazi German occupation proved costly, however, as Nazi Germany appropriated a full one-half of France’s public sector revenue.

On the other hand, those who refused defeat and collaboration with Nazi Germany, the Free French, organised resistance movements in occupied and Vichy France and the Free French Forces. The Free French Forces started in exile in and with the support of the UK.

They were led by Charles de Gaulle, under-secretary of state for war and national defence, whose role in the resistance was to pave the way for his immense impact on the future of France, as leader of its provisional government and first President of the French Fifth Republic.

After the Allied landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) the German Army occupied southern France as well, leading to the scuttling of the French Fleet at Toulon.

After four years of occupation and strife, Allied forces, including Free French Forces, liberated France in 1944.
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FRANCE HISTORY, the Valois dinasty, french history

France Valois Dinasty : Philippe, Charles, Francois 1…

France History : the Valois dinasty

The Valois Dynasty succeeded the Capetian Dynasty as rulers of France from 1328-1589 C.E. They were descendants of Charles of Valois, the second son of King Philip III of France.

Philippe VI, the Fortunate 1328-1350

Philippe VI, the Fortunate, (1293 – August 22, 1350) was King of France from 1328 to 1350. He was the son of Charles of Valois and would become the first king of the Valois Dynasty.

In 1328, King Charles IV of France died without a direct descendant. Philippe was one of the two chief claimants to the throne along with King Edward III of England whose mother, Isabella of France, was the late King Charles’ sister. Philippe ascended to the crown based on Salic law which forbade females and those descended in the female line to succeed to the throne. He was crowned on May 27, 1328 at the Cathedral in Reims.

In July, 1313, Philippe VI married Jeanne of Burgundy. In an ironic twist to his ascendancy to the throne, the intelligent, strong-willed Jeanne was said to be the brains behind the throne and the real ruler of France.

Their children were:
Jean II (April 26, 1319 – April 8, 1364)
Marie (1326 – 1333)
Louis (January 17, 1328 – January 17, 1328)
Louis (June 8, 1330 – June 23, 1330)
Jean (1333 – 1333)
Philippe (1336 – 1375)
Jeanne (1337 – 1337)
After Jeanne died in 1348, Philippe VI married Blanche d’Evreux on January 11, 1350. They had one daughter: Jeanne (1351 – 1371).

The reign of Philippe VI was punctuated with crises, many of which were the result of defeats on the battlefield, in particular at the Battle of l’Ecluse in 1340 and again at Crécy in 1346. In 1348 the bubonic plague struck, killing one-third of the entire population. The labor shortage caused inflation to soar and the king attempted to fix prices, further de-stabilizing the country. On his death, France was still very much a divided country filled with social unrest.

King Philippe VI died at Nogent-le-roi, Eure-et-Loir on August 22, 1350 and is interred with his wife, Blanche de Navarre (1330 – 1398) in Saint Denis Basilica. He was succeeded by the son of Jeanne of Burgundy, Jean II.

Jean II, the Good 1350-1364

Jean II the Good (Jean le Bon) (April 16, 1319 – April 8, 1364) was a King of France (1350 – 1364) and a member of the Valois Dynasty. He was the son of Philippe VI of France and Jeanne of Burgundy.

On July 28, 1332, at the age of 13, he was married to Bona (Bonne) of Luxemburg (May 20, 1315 – September 11, 1349), daughter of John the Blind of Luxemburg, king of Bohemia.

Their children were:

1) Charles V le Sage (January 21, 1338 – September 16, 1380)
2) Philippe II (January 17, 1342 – April 27, 1404)
3) Jeanne (June 24, 1343 – November 3, 1373)
4) Louis (July 23, 1339 – September 20, 1389)
5) Isabelle (October 1, 1348 – September 11, 1372)
6) Jean de Berry (November 30, 1340 – June 15, 1416)
7) Marie (September 12, 1344 – October, 1404)
8) Agnès (1345 – 1349)
9) Marguerite (1347 – 1352)

He was crowned King of France in 1350 in the cathedral at Reims. As king, Jean surrounded himself with poor administrators, preferring to enjoy the good life his wealth as king brought. The men he relied on to administer his kingdom were brutal thieves but eventually King Jean changed.

In the Battle of Poitiers in 1356 against Edward, the Black Prince (son of King Edward III of England), Jean suffered a humiliating defeat and was taken as captive back to England. While negotiating a peace accord, he was at first held in the Savoy Palace, then at Windsor, Hertford, Somerton Castle in Lincolnshire and finally in the Tower of London. As a prisoner of the English, the King of France was granted royal privileges, permitted to travel about, and to enjoy a regal lifestyle. A local tradition in St Albans is that he was also held in a house in that town, at the site of the 15th century Fleur de Lys inn, before he was taken to Hertford Castle. There is a sign on the inn to that effect, but apparently no evidence to confirm the tradition [1] (http://www.salbani.co.uk/Med%20Web/market_place.htm).

The treaty of Brétigny signed in 1360 set his ransom at 3,000,000 crowns. In keeping with the honor between himself and the English King Edward III, and leaving his son Louis of Anjou in English-held Calais as a replacement hostage, Jean was allowed to return to France to raise the his ransom funds.

While King Jean tried to raise the money, his son, accorded the same royal dignity, easily escaped from the English. An angry King Jean, believing his son had broken royal honor, and unable to raise his ransom, surrendered himself again to the English. He arrived in England in early 1364, looked upon by ordinary citizens and English royalty alike with great admiration. Accordingly, he was held as an honored prisoner in the Savoy Palace but died a few months later.

King Jean died in London in 1364 and his body was returned to France, where he was interred in the royal chambers at Saint Denis Basilica.

Charles V, the Wise 1364-1380

Charles V (January 31, 1338 – September 16, 1380), called the Wise, was king of France (1364 to 1380) and a member of the Valois Dynasty.

Born at Vincennes, Ile-de-France, France, son of King Jean II and Bonne of Luxembourg.

He was the first French heir to use the title dauphin after the region of Dauphine was acquired by his father. He was crowned King of France in 1364 at the cathedral at Reims, France.

His reign was marred by the Hundred Years’ War, but Charles’ army scored some victories and defeated the army of the King of Navarre. Despite the influence of his advisor, Philippe de Mézières, he declined to be drawn into a crusade. Nonetheless, dissatisfaction with his rule was such that at one point the Mayor of Paris, Etienne Marcel, led a revolt against Charles that forced the king to flee the city.

This matter was resolved but to protect Paris from the English, Charles V rebuilt the Left Bank wall and built a new wall on the Right Bank that extended to a new fortification called the Bastille. A strong supporter of the arts, Charles had the Louvre restored and improved and in 1367 created the first royal library in France.

Charles V died on September 16, 1380 at Beauté-sur-Marne, France and was interred with his wife, Jeanne de Bourbon in Saint Denis Basilica

Charles VI, the Well-Beloved 1380-1422

Charles VI (December 3, 1368 – October 21, 1422) was a King of France (1380 – 1422) and a member of the Valois Dynasty.

He was born in Paris, the son of King Charles V and Jeanne de Bourbon. At the age of eleven, he was crowned King of France in 1380 in the cathedral at Reims. Until he took complete charge as king in 1388, France was run by his uncle, Philip the Bold.

Charles VI was known both as Charles the Mad and as Charles the Well Beloved, since, beginning in his mid twenties, he experienced bouts of psychosis. These fits of madness would occur periodically for the rest of his life. Doctors today believe, based on his ups and downs, that he may in fact have suffered from bipolar disorder.

He married:

1) Isabeau de Bavière (1371-September 24, 1435) on July 17, 1385.

Children:

1) Charles (September 26, 1386 – December 28, 1386)
2) Jeanne (June 14, 1388 – 1390)
3) Isabella of Valois (November 09, 1389 – September 13, 1409), married Richard II of England
4) Jeanne (January 24, 1391 – September 27, 1433), married John VI, Duke of Brittany
5) Charles (February 06, 1392 – January 13, 1401)
6) Marie (August 24, 1393 – August 19, 1438), an abbess
7) Michèle (January 11, 1395 – July 08, 1422)
8) Louis, Duke of Guyenne (January 22, 1396 – December 18, 1415), married Marguerite of Burgundy
9) Jean, Duke of Touraine (August 31, 1398 – April 04, 1417), married Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
10) Catherine (October 27, 1401 – January 03, 1437), married Henry V of England and Owen Tudor
11) king Charles VII (February 22, 1403 – July 21, 1461)
12) Philippe (November 10, 1407 – November 10, 1407)

Charles VI’s reign was marked by the continuing war with the English (the Hundred Years’ War), culminating in 1415 when the French army was defeated at the Battle of Agincourt. In 1420, Charles signed the Treaty of Troyes which recognized Henry V of England as his successor and meant his own son could not succeed him. Many citizens, including Joan of Arc, believed that the king only agreed to such disastrous and unprecedented terms, under the mental stress of his illness and that as a result France could not be held to them.

Charles VI died in 1422 at Paris and is interred with his wife, Isabeau de Bavière in Saint Denis Basilica.

Charles VII, the Victortius 1422-1461

Charles VII (February 22, 1403 – July 22, 1461) was king of France from 1422 to 1461, a member of the Valois Dynasty.

Born in Paris, Charles was the eldest surviving son of Charles VI of France and Isabeau de Bavière. On the death of his father in 1422, the French throne did not pass to Charles but to his infant nephew, King Henry VI of England in accordance with his father’s Treaty of Troyes signed in 1420. The English right to the throne of France was part of the Treaty in an effort to put an end to the war that had been raging for decades. Under the Treaty, King Henry of England ruled Northern France through a regent in Normandy and southern France by the Dauphin Charles from his fortified castle at Chinon.

Without any organized French army, the English strengthened their grip over France until March 8, 1429 when Joan of Arc, claiming divine inspiration, urged Charles to declare himself king and raise an army to liberate France from the English.

One of the important factors that aided in the ultimate success of Charles VII wasthe support from the powerful and wealthy family of his wife Marie d’Anjou (1404-1463). Despite whatever affection he had for his wife, the great love of Charles VII’s life, was his mistress, Agnès Sorel.

After the French won the Battle of Patay, Charles was crowned king Charles VII of France on July 17, 1429, in Reims Cathedral. Following this, king Charles VII recaptured Paris from the English and eventually all of France with the exception of the northern port of Calais.

While Charles VII’s legacy is far overshadowed by the deeds and eventual martyrdom of Joan of Arc, he did something his predecessors had failed to do by creating a strong army and uniting most of the country under one French king. He established the University of Poitiers in 1432 and his policies brought some economic prosperity to the citizens. Although his leadership was sometimes marked by indecisiveness, hardly any other leader left a nation so much better improved than when he came on the scene.

King Charles VII died on July 22, 1461 at Mehun-sur-Yèvre, but his latter years were marked by an open revolt by his son who succeeded him as Louis XI.

Louis XI 1461-1483

Louis XI (July 3, 1423 – August 30, 1483) was a King of France (1461 – 1483). He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou. He was a member of the Valois Dynasty and was one of the most successful kings of France in terms of uniting the country. His 22-year reign was marked by political machinations, resulting in his being given the nickname of the « Spider King ».

Born at Bourges, Cher, Louis despised his father and attempted to depose him on several occasions. However, it was only on his father’s death in 1461 that he was able to take the throne.

His marriage on June 24, 1436 to Margaret, daughter of King James I of Scotland, gave Louis XI an interest in English affairs, and he schemed to restore King Henry VI of England and his Lancastrian heir to the throne – partly because his arch-enemy, Charles the Bold of Burgundy was allied with the Yorkists. Louis gained the upper hand in his feud with Charles, and brought about his death in 1477. A candid account of some of Louis’ activities is given by the courtier, Philippe de Commines, in his Memoires of the period.

King Louis XI married strategically a second time on February 14, 1451 to eight-year-old Charlotte of Savoy (1445- December 1, 1483). Their marriage would not be consummated until she was fourteen and their children were:

Anne (April, 1461 – November 14, 1522)
Jeanne (April 23, 1464 – February 4, 1505)
Charles VIII (June 30, 1470 – April 8, 1498)
By war, by cunning and with sheer guile, Louis XI overcame France’s feudal lords and at the time of his death in the chateau at Plessis-lez-Tours, he had united France and laid the foundations of a strong monarchy.

Louis XI was a superstitious man who surrounded himself with astrologers. Interested in science, he once pardoned a man sentenced to death on condition that he serve as a guinea pig in a gallstone operation.

Charles VIII , the Affable 1483-1498

On December 6, 1491 Charles married Anne de Bretagne, heiress to the duchy of Brittany, in an elaborate ceremony at Chateau Langeais. The fifteen-year-old Duchesse Anne, not happy with the politically arranged marriage, arrived for her wedding with her entourage carrying two beds. However, Charles’s marriage brought him independence from his relatives, and thereafter he managed affairs according to his own inclinations. Queen Anne would live at the Clos Lucé in Amboise.

Having inherited a vague claim to the kingdom of Naples through his paternal grandmother, Marie of Anjou (1404 – 1463), and encouraged by Ludovico Sforza of Milan, he imagined himself capable of seizing that realm, and he thereupon set France’s resources toward that goal – starting the Italian Wars. He contracted several unfavourable treaties with Austria, England, and Aragon, in order to free himself of distractions, and then commenced a massive buildup of forces.

He entered Italy in 1494, and marched across the peninsula, reaching Naples on February 22, 1495. Crowned king of Naples, he then found himself the subject of an opposing coalition from the League of Venice, involving that republic with Austria, the Papacy, and Ludovico Sforza of Milan. Defeated at Fornovo in July 1495, he escaped to France at the cost of the loss of most of his forces.

He attempted in the next few years to rebuild his army, but was hampered by the serious debts incurred by the previous one – he never succeeded in recouping anything substantive. He died two-and-a-half years after his retreat, of an accident – striking himself on the head while passing through a doorway, he succumbed to a sudden coma several hours later.

Charles bequeathed a meagre legacy – he left France in debt and in disarray as a result of an ambition most charitably characterized as unrealistic. On a more positive side, his expedition did broach contacts between French and Italian humanists, energizing French art and letters in the latter Renaissance.

Charles proved the last of the elder branch of the House of Valois, and upon his death at Amboise the throne passed to a cousin, the duc d’Orleans, who reigned as King Louis XII of France.

Louis XII, the Father of His People 1498-1515

Louis XII, father of the people (June 27, 1462 – January 1, 1515) was King of France from 1498-1515, the last French king from the Orleanist branch of the Valois Dynasty.Louis-XII of the Valois Dynasty

Born Louis d’Orléans in the Royal Chateau Blois on June 27, 1462, son of Charles, duc d’Orleans, Louis was required by royal command to marry Jeanne, the daughter of his second cousin King Louis XI.

Later, he was part of a rebellion against King Charles VIII of France and was imprisoned from 1487 to 1490. After regaining the King’s trust, he led some troops in Charles’ invasion of Italy. He ascended to the throne when Charles VIII died childless; Louis had the Pope annul the marriage to Jeanne so that he could marry Charles’ widow, Queen Anne de Bretagne (1477-1514). This marriage had nothing to do with love, but was a strategy designed to securely link her region of Brittany to Louis’ kingdom of France.

Louis XII proved to be a popular king, introducing reforms in the judicial system and reducing taxes. These reforms and his caring nature earned him the epithet Father of the People. However, like his predecessor, he led several invasions of Italy. He successfully secured Milan in 1500, and then partitioned the Kingdom of Naples with Ferdinand of Aragon.

Soon the two partitioning powers fell out with one another, and Spanish forces led by Hernandez Gonzalo de Cordoba drove the French from Southern Italy. The French grip on Milan remained strong, however, until 1511 when Pope Julius II formed the Holy League to oppose French ambition in Italy. The French were driven from Milan by the Swiss in 1513. In an attempt to divert English troops from the war, he encouraged the Scots to attack the English, leading the Scots to disaster at the Battle of Flodden Field.

After his wife Anne’s death in 1514, a deal was struck with King Henry VIII of England, and 52-year-old King Louis married King Henry’s 18-year-old sister, Mary Tudor (1496-1533), on October 9, 1514.

Less than three months later, Louis XII died on January 1, 1515 and was interred in Saint Denis Basilica.

François I — 1515-1547

Francis I (François I in French) (September 12, 1494 – July 31, 1547) was crowned King of France in 1515 in the cathedral at Reims and reigned until 1547.

Francis I, a member of the Valois Dynasty, was born at Cognac, Charente, the son of Charles d’Angoulême (1459 – January 1, 1496) and Louise of Savoy (September 11, 1476 – September 22, 1531).

Francis is considered to be France’s first Renaissance monarch. His reign saw France make immense cultural advances. He was a contemporary of King Henry VIII of England, his great rival.

When young Francis ascended the throne in 1515 he was a king with unprecedented humanist credentials. While his two predecessors, Charles VIII and Louis XII, had spent much of their reigns concerned with Italy they did not much embrace the new intellectual movements coming out of it.

Both monarchs continued in the same patterns of behaviour that had dominated the French monarchy for centuries. They were the last of the medieval French monarchs, but they did lay the groundwork for the entry of the Renaissance into France.Francis1 of the Valois Dynasty

Contact between the French and Italians in the long running series of wars under Charles and Louis had brought new ideas to France by the time the young Francis was receiving his education. Thus a number of his tutors, such as Desmoulins, his Latin instructor, and Christophe de Longeuil were schooled in the new ways of thinking and they attempted to imbue Francis with it.

Francis’ mother also had a great interest in Renaissance art, which she passed down to her son. One certainly cannot say that Francis received a humanist education; most of his teachers had not yet been affected by the Renaissance. One can, however, state that he clearly received an education more oriented towards humanism than any previous French king.

By the time Francis ascended the throne in 1515 the Renaissance had clearly arrived in France, and Francis was an important supporter of the change. Francis became a major patron of the arts. He lent his support to many of the greatest artists of his time and encouraged them to come to France.

Some did work for him, including such greats as Andrea del Sarto, and Leonardo da Vinci, who Francis convinced to leave Italy in the last and least productive part of his life. While Leonardo did little painting in his years in France, he brought with him many of his great works, such as the Mona Lisa, and these stayed in France upon his death.

Other major artists who Francis employed include the goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, and the painters Rosso and Primaticcio, all of whom were heavily employed in decorating Francis’ various palaces. Francis employed a number of agents in Italy who endeavoured to procure artworks by Italian masters such as Michelangelo, Titian, and Raphael and ship them to France.

These agents had some notable successes, even if plans to try to move Leonardo’s Last Supper to France proved impractical. When Francis ascended the throne the royal palaces were decorated with only a scattering of great paintings, and not a single piece of sculpture either ancient or modern. It is during Francis’ reign that the magnificent art collection of the French kings that can still be seen in the Louvre was truly begun.

Francis was also renowned as a man of letters. When Francis comes up in a conversation among characters in Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, it is as the great hope to bring culture to the war-obsessed French nation. Not only did Francis support a number of major writers of the period, he was a poet himself, if not one of immense quality. Francis worked hard at improving the royal library.

He appointed the great French humanist Guillaume Budé as chief librarian, and began to expand the collection. Francis employed agents in Italy looking for rare books and manuscripts, just as he had looking for art works. During his reign the size of the library increased greatly. Not only did Francis expand the library, there is also, according to Knecht, evidence that he read the books he bought for it, a much rarer feat in the royal annals. Francis set an important precedent by opening his library to scholars from around the world in order to facilitate the diffusion of knowledge.

Francis was an impressive builder and he poured vast amounts of money into new structures. He continued the work of his predecessors on the Château d’Amboise and also started renovations on the Royal Château de Blois. Early in his reign he also began construction of the magnificent Château de Chambord, very obviously inspired by the styles of the Italian renaissance, and perhaps even designed by Leonardo.

Francis rebuilt the Louvre, turning it from a gloomy medieval fortress into a building of renaissance splendour. Francis financed the building of a new City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) for Paris in order to have control over the building’s design. He constructed the Château de Madrid and rebuilt the Château de St-Germain-en-Laye. The largest of Francis’ building projects was the reconstruction and expansion of Royal Château of Fontainebleau, which quickly became his favourite place of residence. Each of Francis’ projects was luxuriously decorated both inside and outside. Fontainebleau, for instance, had a gushing fountain in its courtyard where quantities of wine were mixed with the water.

Militarily and politically, Francis’ reign was less successful; he tried and failed to become Holy Roman Emperor, and pursued a series of wars in Italy – see Italian Wars. His most devastating defeat occurred at the Battle of Pavia where he was captured by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Francis was held captive in Madrid and forced to make major concessions to Charles before he was freed. Upon his return to France, however, Francis argued that his agreement with Charles was made under duress and he repudiated it.

As King, in 1524, he assisted the citizens of Lyon to finance the expedition of Giovanni da Verrazano to North America; on this expedition, Verrazano claimed Newfoundland for the French crown. In 1534, he sent Jacques Cartier to explore the St. Lawrence River in Quebec to find certaines îles et pays où l’on dit qu’il se doit trouver grande quantité d’or et autres riches choses (« certain islands and lands where it is said there are great quantities of gold and other riches »).

In his castle in Villers-Cotterêts, Aisne, in 1539, Francis signed the edict which made French the administrative language instead of Latin. The same edict required priests to register births and establish a registry office.

An important change Francis brought to European history was that he came to an understanding with the Ottoman Turks. No formal treaties with the ‘infidels’ were signed, but high-level meetings between the two powers let them collude against Charles V, and in 1543 the two powers even combined for a joint naval assault on Nice.

While Francis left France strewn with magnificent palaces he caused severe harm to the nation’s economic well-being in order to do so. In his old age Louis XII worried that Francis, his successor, « would spoil everything. » Francis’ father-in-law had left France in good shape with the monarchy ascendant over the feudal lords and the economy prospering. While Francis continued to strengthen the crown he succeeded in undermining the nation’s economy. Palaces were extremely expensive, as were wars against the Hapsburgs.

To pay for these efforts Francis undermined the nation’s fiscal security. Taxes went up: the taille, the tax on peasants, more than doubled, while the gabelle, the salt tax, was tripled. Francis also used new ways to raise revenues. He sold many of the crown jewels and began alienating crown lands, disposing of important liquid assets. Francis also began the process of selling offices for quick revenue. While he did not practice the selling of offices extensively he did begin the trend that would eventually undermine the entire French government.

The amorous exploits of François inspired the 1832 play by Victor Hugo (1802-1885), Le Roi s’amuse (The King Enjoys Himself), in turn inspiring the 1851 opera of Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901), Rigoletto.

François’ older sister, Marguerite (1492 – 1549), Queen of Navarre, wrote the classic, Heptameron.

François’ legacy is a mixed one. He achieved great cultural feats, but they came at the expense of France’s economic well being.

François I died at the Chateau Rambouillet and is interred with his first wife, Claude de France, Duchess of Bretagne, in Saint Denis Basilica.

Henri II — 1547-1559

Henry II (Henri II in French) (March 31, 1519 – July 10, 1559), a member of the Valois Dynasty, was King of France from 1547 to his death.Valois Dynasty Henri II

Born in the Royal Château at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, the son of François I and Claude de France, his marriage was arranged to Catherine de Medici (April 13, 1519 – January 5, 1589) on October 28, 1533 when both were 14 years old. His long-running affair with Diane de Poitiers lasted throughout his married life.

He was crowned King on July 25, 1547 in the cathedral at Reims. His reign was marked by wars with Austria, and the persecution of the Protestant Huguenots. Henri II severely punished them, burning them alive or cutting out their tongues for speaking their Protestant beliefs. Even someone suspected of being a Huguenot was imprisoned for life.

Henry II was an avid hunter and participant in jousting tournaments. On July 1, 1559, during a match to celebrate a peace treaty with his longtime enemies, the Hapsburgs of Austria and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to King Philip II of Spain, King Henry’s eye was pierced by a sliver that penetrated the brain, from the shattered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King’s Scottish Guard. He suffered terribly, passing away on July 10, 1559 and was buried in a cadaver tomb in Saint Denis Basilica.

He was succeeded by his son, François II. Henri II’s death resulted in the next forty years in France being filled with turbulence as his sons and other claimants to the French crown fought for power.

François II — 1559-1560

Francis II (François II in French) (January 19, 1544 – December 5, 1560) was a King of France (1559 – 1560). He was born at the Royal Chateau at Fontainbleau, Seine-et-Marne, the son of Henri II (March 31, 1519 – July 10, 1559) and Catherine de Medici (April 13, 1519 – January 5, 1589).Valois Dynasty Francis II

His marriage to Mary Stuart was arranged by his father in 1548 when François was 4 years old after Mary had been crowned Queen of Scotland in Stirling Castle on September 9, 1543, at the age of nine months old. Once the marriage agreement had been formally ratified, in 1548, Mary of Guise, Regent of Scotland, sent her six-year-old daughter, Queen Mary, to France to be raised in the Royal Court until the marriage.

On April 24, 1558, the 14-year-old Dauphin was married to Mary Stuart (later Mary, Queen of Scots) in a union that would give the future King of France the throne of Scotland and a strengthened claim to the throne of England. A year after his marriage, his father Henri II died, and François, still only 15 years old, was crowned King. His mother Catherine de Medici was appointed Regent, but it is considered that Mary’s uncles François de Guise and Charles de Guise may actually have been the ones to hold the power in that period.

François II, who had always been a sickly child, died December 5, 1560 in Orléans, Loiret, at the age of 16 when an ear infection worsened and caused an abscess in his brain. King François II is buried in Saint Denis Basilica.

He was succeeded by his brother, Charles IX (June 27, 1550 – May 30, 1574).

Catherine de Medici (Regent) — 1560-1563

Caterina di Lorenzo de’ Medici (April 13, 1519 – January 5, 1589), (French: Catherine de Médicis) (English: Catherine de’ Medici) was queen of France, wife of one Valois king and mother of three. Born in Florence, Italy, she was a daughter of Lorenzo II de’ Medici and a French princess, Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne. Having lost both her parents at an early age, Catherine was sent to a convent to be educated; she was only fourteen when she was married (1533), at Marseilles, to the duke of Orléans, who would become King Henry II of France.Valois Dynasty Catherine de Medici

It was her uncle, Pope Clement VII, who arranged that marriage with Henry’s father Francis I of France. Francis, still engaged in his lifelong struggle against Charles V, was only too glad of the opportunity to strengthen his influence in the Italian peninsula, while Clement, ever needful of help against his too powerful protector, was equally ready to hold out some bait.

During the reign of Francis, Catherine exercised little influence in France. She was young, a foreigner, in a country that had little weight in the great world of politics, of unproven ability, and over-shadowed by more important persons. For ten years after her marriage, she had no children. In consequence, whispers of a divorce began at court, and it seemed possible that Francis, alarmed at the possible extinction of his royal house, would listen to such a proposal. But Catherine did produce children, and Francis lived long enough to see his grandchildren before he died.

During the reign of her husband (1547-1559), Catherine lived a quiet and passive life but observed what was going on. Henry being completely under the influence of his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine had little authority. In 1552, when the king left the kingdom for the campaign of Metz, she was nominated regent, but with very limited powers.

This continued even after the accession of her sickly son Francis II of France at age 15. His wife, Mary, Queen of Scots, little disposed to meddle with politics on her own account, was managed by her uncles, the cardinal of Lorraine and the duke of Guise. The queen-mother, however, soon grew weary of the domination of the Guises, and entered upon a course of secret opposition. On April 1, 1560 she named as chancellor Michel de l’Hôpital, who advocated a policy of conciliation.

Catherine unwittingly had vast influence on fashions for the next 350 years when she enforced a ban on thick waists at court attendance during the 1550s. For nearly 350 years, women’s primary means of support was the corset, with laces and stays made of whalebone or metal. They forcefully shrank women’s waists from their natural dimensions to as little as 17, 15, or even fewer inches.

On the death of Francis (5 December 1560), Catherine became regent during the minority of her second son, Charles IX of France, and found before her a career worthy of the most soaring ambition. She was then forty-one years old, but, although she was the mother of nine children, she was still vigorous and active. She retained her influence for more than twenty years in the troubled period of the French Wars of Religion. At first she listened to the moderate counsels of l’Hôpital to avoid siding definitely with either party, but her character and the habits of policy to which she had been accustomed tended to be at odds with this stance. She was zealous in the interests of her children, especially of her favourite third son, the duke of Anjou.

Like many of that time, she looked upon statesmanship in particular as a career in which finesse, lying, and assassination were the most admirable, because the most effective, weapons. By habit a Catholic, but above all fond of power, she was determined to prevent the Protestants from getting the upper hand and almost equally resolved not to allow them to be utterly crushed, in order to use them as a counterpoise to the Guises.

This trimming policy met with little success: Rage and suspicion so possessed men’s minds that she could not long control the opposing parties, and one civil war followed another toward the end of her life. In 1567, after the Enterprise of Meaux, she dismissed l’Hopital and joined the Catholic party. Having failed to crush the Protestant rebellion by arms, she resumed, in 1570, the policy of peace and negotiation. She conceived the project of marrying her favourite son, the duke of Anjou, to Queen Elizabeth I of England, but that did not come about.

She was successful in marrying her eldest daughter, Elizabeth (b. April 1545), to Philip II of Spain and then her third daughter, Marguerite, to Henry of Navarre. To this end she temporarily reconciled with the Protestants and allowed Coligny to return to court and to re-enter the council. Of this step she quickly repented: Charles IX conceived a great affection for the admiral and showed signs of taking up an independent attitude. Catherine, thinking her influence menaced, sought to regain it, first by the murder of Coligny, and, after that failed, by the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

After the death of Charles in 1574 and the succession of her son, Henri III, Catherine pursued her old policy of compromise and concessions, but as her influence was nothing compared to her son’s, so it is unnecessary to dwell upon it. She died on 5 January 1589, a short time before the assassination of Henry and the end of the House of Valois.

In her taste for art and her love of magnificence and luxury, Catherine was a true Medici; her banquets at the Royal Palace of Fontainebleau in 1564 were famous for their sumptuousness. In architecture, especially, she was well versed, and Philibert de l’Orme (Philibert of the Elm) relates that she discussed with him the plan and decoration of her palace of the Tuileries. Catherine’s policy provoked a crowd of pamphlets, the most celebrated being the Discours merveilleux de la vie, actions et diportemens de la reine Catherine de Medecis, in which Henri Estienne undoubtedly collaborated.

Catherine died at the Royal Royal Chateau Blois, France, where today, visitors to the castle can see her poison cabinets. She was interred with her husband in a cadaver tomb in the Saint Denis Basilica.

Charles IX — 1560-1574

Charles IX (June 27, 1550 – May 30, 1574) was born Charles-Maximilien, the son of King Henri II of France and Catherine de Medici.Valois Dynasty Charles IX

Born in the royal chateau at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, he was crowned King of France in 1561 in the cathedral at Reims, but ruled under the control of his powerful and ambitious mother.

During Charles IX reign, a new product designed to cure ulcers, heal wounds and other such benefits was introduced. Tobacco soon gained wide acceptance.

On November 26, 1570 he married Elisabeth of Austria. They had one daughter, Marie-Elisabeth (October 27, 1572 – April 9, 1578).

Charles proved a weak king in the shadow of his mother and died at Vincennes, Val-de-Marne.

Henri III — 1574-1589

Henry III (Henri III in French) (September 19, 1551 – August 2, 1589) was King of France from 1574 to 1589.Valois Dynasty Henri 3 of France

Henri was born Edouard-Alexandre at the Royal Château of Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, the son of King Henri II and Catherine de Medici. He was elected king of Poland in 1573 but shortly after, at the death of his brother Charles IX, he returned to France. He was crowned King of France in 1575 in the Cathedral at Reims.

Prior to ascending to the throne, he was a leader of the royal army in the French Wars of Religion against the Protestants. While still Duke, he aided his mother in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in which thousands of Huguenots were killed; his reign as king would see France in constant turmoil over religion.

In 1576, King Henri III signed the Edict of Beaulieu granting minor concessions to the Protestants. His action resulted in the Catholic extremist Henry I, Duke of Guise, forming the Catholic League. After much posturing and negotiations King Henri III was forced to rescind most of the concessions made to the Protestants in the Edict of Beaulieu.

In 1584 the King’s youngest brother and heir presumptive, François, Duke of Anjou, died. Under the Salic Law, the next heir to the throne was Protestant Henri of Navarre, a descendant of St. Louis IX. Under pressure from the Duke of Guise, head of the Catholic League, Henri III issued an edict suppressing Protestantism and annulling Henri of Navarre’s right to the throne.

On May 12, 1588 Henry III fled Paris after Henry of Guise entered the city.

On December 23, 1588, in the Château de Blois, the Duke of Guise arrived in the council chamber where his brother the Cardinal waited. He was told that the King wished to see him in the private room adjoining the King’s bedroom.

There, guardsmen murdered him, and then the Cardinal. In order to make sure that no contender for the French throne was free to act against him, the King had the Duke’s son imprisoned. Though deceitful and cruel, the Duke of Guise was highly popular in France and the citizenry turned against the king for the murders. The French Parliament instituted criminal charges against the King, and he fled Paris to join forces with Henry of Navarre.

On August 1, 1589, Henri III, lodged with his army in Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, prepared to attack Paris when a young fanatical monk named Jacques Clément, carrying false papers, was granted access to deliver important documents to the King. The monk gave the king a bundle of papers and stated he had a secret message to deliver.

The King signaled for his attendants to step back for privacy and Clément whispered in his ear while plunging a knife in his stomach. At first the wound did not appear fatal but the King commanded all his officers around him that in the event he did not survive, they were to be loyal to Henri of Navarre as their new King. The following morning, King Henri III of France died, the day he was to have launched the assault to retake Paris.

Although he had been married on February 13, 1575 to Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont, and expected to produce an heir, the transvestite King Henri III was not highly respected by the citizens or the nobility as he paraded around dressed in women’s clothes, accompanied by a number of youthful male attendants referred to as his mignons (darlings).

Henri III was interred in the Saint Denis Basilica. Childless, he was the last of the Valois kings.

Henri of Navarre succeeded him as Henri IV, the first of the Bourbon kings.

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FRANCE HISTORY, the third republic, french history

France History : 3rd republic

France History : the second republic

The French Second Republic (often simply Second Republic) was the republican regime of France from February 25, 1848 to December 2, 1852. It is counted as the second republic because the government during the French Revolution is counted as the first, although the revolutionary government is more often discussed as three periods: the National Convention, the Directory, and the Consulate.

The monarchy which for fifteen years had overcome its adversaries collapsed on February 24, 1848 to the astonishment of all.

The industrial population of the faubourgs on its way towards the centre of Paris was welcomed by the National Guard. Barricades were raised after the unfortunate incident of the firing of February 24.

On the 23rd Guizot’s cabinet resigned, abandoned by the petite bourgeoisie, on whose support they thought they could depend. The heads of the Left Centre and the dynastic Left, Molé and Thiers, declined the offered leadership. Odilon Barrot accepted it, and Bugeaud, commander-in-chief of the first military division, who had begun to attack the barricades, was recalled.

But it was too late. In face of the insurrection which had now taken possession of the whole capital, Louis Philippe decided to abdicate in favour of his grandson, the comte de Paris. But it was too late also to be content with the regency of the duchess of Orleans.

It was now the turn of the Republic, and it was proclaimed by Lamartine in the name of the provisional government elected by the Chamber under the pressure of the mob.

This provisional government with Dupont de l’Eure as its president, consisted of Lamartine for foreign affairs, Crémieux for justice, Ledru-Rollin for the interior, Carnot for public instruction, Gondchaux for finance, Arago for the navy, and Bedeau for war. Garnier-Pages was mayor of Paris.

But, as in 1830, the republican-socialist party had set up a rival government at the Hotel de Ville, including L Blanc, A Marrast, Flocon, and the workman Albert, which bid fair to involve discord and civil war. But this time the Palais Bourbon was not victorious over the Hotel de Ville. It had to consent to a fusion of the two bodies, in which, however, the predominating elements were the moderate republicans. It was doubtful what would eventually be the policy of the new government.

One party, seeing that in spite of the changes in the last sixty years of all political institutions, the position of the people had not been improved, demanded a reform of society itself, the abolition of the privileged position of property, the only obstacle to equality, and as an emblem hoisted the red flag. The other party wished to maintain society on the basis of its ancient institutions, and rallied round the tricolore.

The first collision took place as to the form which the revolution of 1848 was to take. Were they to remain faithful to their original principles, as Lamartine wished, and accept the decision of the country as supreme, or were they, as the revolutionaries under Ledru-Rollin claimed, to declare the republic of Paris superior to the universal suffrage of an insufficiently educated people?

On the March 5 the government, under the pressure of the Parisian clubs, decided in favour of an immediate reference to the people, and direct universal suffrage, and adjourned it till April 26. In this fateful and unexpected decision, which instead of adding to the electorate the educated classes, refused by Guizot, admitted to it the unqualified masses, originated the Constituent Assembly of May 4, 1848.

The provisional government having resigned, the republican and anti-socialist majority on the 9th of May entrusted the supreme power to an executive. The commission consisting of five members: Arago, Executive Marie, Garnier-Pages, Lamartine and Ledru-Rollin. Conimis. But the spell was already broken.

This revolution which had been peacefully effected with the most generous aspirations, in the hope of abolishing poverty by organizing industry on other bases than those of competition and capitalism, and which had at once aroused the fraternal sympathy of the nations, was doomed to be abortive.

The result of the general election, the return of a constituent assembly predominantly moderate if not monarchical, dashed the hopes of those who had looked for the establishment, by a peaceful revolution, of their ideal socialist state; but they were not prepared to yield without a struggle, and in Paris itself they commanded a formidable force. In spite of the preponderance of the « tricolour » party in the provisional government, so long as the voice of France had not spoken, the socialists, supported by the Parisian proletariat, had exercised an influence on policy out of all proportion to their relative numbers or personal weight.

By the decree of February 24, the provisional government had solemnly accepted the principle of the « right to work, » and decided to establish « national workshops » for the unemployed; at the same time a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg Palace, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labour; and, lastly, by the decree of March 8, the property qualification for enrolment in the National Guard had been abolished and the workmen were supplied with arms.

The socialists thus formed, in some sort, a state within the state, with a government, an organization and an armed force.

In the circumstances a conflict was inevitable; and on May 15, an armed mob, headed by Raspail, Blanqui and Barbès, and assisted by the proletariat Guard, attempted to overwhelm the Assembly. They were defeated by the bourgeois battalions of the National Guard; but the situation none the less remained highly critical.

The national workshops were producing the results that might have been foreseen. It was impossible to provide remunerative work even for the genuine unemployed, and of the thousands who applied the greater number were employed in perfectly useless digging and refilling; soon even this expedient failed, and those for whom work could not be invented were given a half wage of 1 franc a day.

Even this pitiful dole, with no obligation to work, proved attractive, and all over France workmen threw up their jobs and streamed to Paris, where they swelled the ranks of the army under the red flag. It was soon clear that the continuance of this experiment would mean financial ruin; it had been proved by the émeute of May 15, that it constituted a perpetual menace to the state; and the government decided to end it. The method chosen was scarcely a happy one.

On June 21, M. de Falloux decided in the name of the parliamentary commission on labour that the workmen should be discharged within three days and such as were able-bodied should be forced to enlist.

A furious insurrection at once broke out. Throughout the whole of the 24th, 25th and 26th of June, the eastern industrial quarter of Paris, led by Pujol, carried on a furious struggle against the western quarter, led by Louis Eugène Cavaignac, who had been appointed dictator. Vanquished and decimated, first by fighting and afterwards by deportation, the socialist party was crushed. But they dragged down the Republic in their ruin. This had already become unpopular with the peasants, exasperated by the newland tax of 45 centimes imposed in order to fill the empty treasury, and with the bourgeois, in terror of the power of the revolutionary clubs and hard hit by the stagnation of business.

By the « massacres » of the June Days the working classes were also alienated from it; and abiding fear of the « Reds » did the rest. « France, » wrote the duke of Wellington at this time, « needs a Napoleon! I cannot yet see him . . . Where is he? » France indeed needed, or thought she needed, a Napoleon; and the demand was soon to be supplied.

The granting of universal suffrage to a society with Imperialist sympathies, and unfitted to reconcile the principles of order with the consequences of liberty, was indeed bound, now that the political balance in France was so radically changed, to prove a formidable instrument of reaction; and this was proved by the election of the president of the Republic.

On the November 4, 1848 was promulgated the new constitution, obviously the work of inexperienced hands, proclaiming a democratic republic, direct universal suffrage and the separation of powers; there was to be a single permanent assembly of 750 members elected for a term of three years by the scrutin de liste, which was to vote on the laws prepared by a council of state elected by the Assembly for six years; the executive power was delegated to a president elected for four years by direct universal suffrage, i.e. on a broader basis than that of the chamber, and not eligible for re-election; he was to choose his ministers, who, like him, would be responsible.

Finally, all revision was made impossible since it involved obtaining three times in succession a majority of three-quarters of the deputies in a special assembly. It was in vain that M. Grévy, in the name of those who perceived the obvious and inevitable risk of creating, under the name of a president, a monarch and more than a king, proposed that the head of the state should be no more than a removable president of the ministerial council.

Lamartine, thinking that he was sure to be the choice of the electors under universal suffrage, won over the support of the Chamber, which did not even take the precaution of rendering ineligible the members of families which had reigned over France. It made the presidency an office dependent upon popular acclamation.

The election was keenly contested; the socialists adopted as their candidate Ledru-Rollin, the republicans Cavaignac, and the recently reorganized Imperialist party Prince Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, unknown in 1835, and forgotten or despised since 1840, had in the last eight years advanced sufficiently in the public estimation to be elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1848 by five departments.

He owed this rapid increase of popularity partly to blunders of the government of July, which had unwisely aroused the memory of the country, filled as it was with recollections of the Empire, and partly to Louis Napoleon’s campaign carried on from his prison at Ham by means of pamphlets of socialistic tendencies.

Moreover, the monarchists, led by Thiers and the committee of the Rue de Poitiers, were no longer content even with the safe dictatorship of the upright Cavaignac, and joined forces with the Bonapartists. On December 10, the peasants gave over 5,000,000 votes to a name: Napoleon, which stood for order at all costs, against 1,400,000 for Cavaignac.

For three years there went on an indecisive struggle between the heterogeneous Assembly and the prince who was silently awaiting his opportunity. He chose as his ministers men but little inclined towards republicanism, for preference Orleanists, the chief of whom was Odilon Barrot. In order to strengthen his position, he endeavoured to conciliate the reactionary parties, without committing himself to any of them.

The chief instance of this was the expedition to Rome, voted by the Catholics with the object of restoring the papacy, which had been driven out by Garibaldi and Mazzini. The prince-president was also in favour of it, as beginning the work of European renovation and reconstruction which he already looked upon as his mission.

General Oudinot’s entry into Rome provoked in Paris a foolish insurrection in favour of the Roman republic, that of the Château d’Eau, which was crushed on June 13, 1849. On the other hand, when Pius IX, though only just restored, began to yield to the general movement of reaction, the president demanded that he should set up a Liberal government. The pope’s dilatory reply having been accepted by his ministry, the president replaced it on November 1, by the Fould-Rouher cabinet.

This looked like a declaration of war against the Catholic and monarchist majority in the Legislative Assembly which had been elected on May 28, in a moment of panic. But the prince-president again pretended to be playing the game of the Orleanists, as he had done in the case of the Constituent-Assembly.

The complementary elections of March and April 1850 having resulted in an unexpected victory for the republicans, which struck terror into the reactionary leaders, Thiers, Berryer and Montalembert, the president gave his countenance to a clerical campaign against the republicans at home.

The Church, which had failed in its attempts to gain control of the university under Louis XVIII and Charles X, aimed at setting up a rival establishment of its own. The Loi Falloux of March 1x, 1850, under the pretext of establishing the liberty of instruction promised by the charter, again placed the teaching of the university under the direction of the Catholic Church, as a measure of social safety, and, by the facilities which it granted to the Church for propagating teaching in harmony with its own dogmas, succeeded in obstructing for half a century the work of intellectual enfranchisement effected by the men of the 18th century and of the French Revolution.

The electoral law of May 31, was another class law directed against subversive ideas. It required as a proof of Electors) three years’ domicile the entries in the record of direct taxes, thus cutting down universal suffrage by taking away the vote from the industrial population, which was not as a rule stationary.

The law of July 16, aggravated the severity of the press restrictions by re-establishing the « caution money » (cautionnement) deposited by proprietors and editors of papers with the government as a guarantee of good behaviour. Finally, a skilful interpretation of the law on clubs and political societies suppressed about this time all the Republican societies. It was now their turn to be crushed like the socialists.

But the president had only joined in Montalembert’s cry of « Down with the Republicans! » in the hope of effecting a revision of the constitution without having recourse to a coup d’état. His concessions only increased the boldness of the monarchists; while they had only accepted Louis Napoleon as president in opposition to the Republic and as a step in the direction of the monarchy.

A conflict was now inevitable between his personal policy and the majority of the Chamber, who were moreover, divided into legitimists and Orleanists, in spite of the death of Louis Philippe in August 1856.

Louis Napoleon skilfully exploited their projects for a restoration of the monarchy, which he knew to be unpopular in the country, and which gave him the opportunity of, furthering his own personal ambitions.

From August 8, to November 12, 1850 he went about France stating the case for a revision of the constitution in speeches which he varied according to each place; he held reviews, at which cries of « Vive Napoleon » showed that the army was with him; he superseded General Changarnier, on whose arms the parliament relied for the projected monarchical coup d’etat; he replaced his Orleanist ministry by obscure men devoted to his own cause, such as Morny, Fleury and Persigny, and gathered round him officers of the African army, broken men like General Saint-Arnaud; in fact he practically declared open war.

His reply to the votes of censure passed by the Assembly, and their refusal to increase his civil list was to hint at a vast communistic plot in order to scare the bourgeoisie, and to denounce the electoral law of May 31, in order to gain the support of the mass of the people.

The Assembly retaliated by throwing out the proposal for a partial reform of that article of the constitution which prohibited the re-election of the president and the re-establishment of universal suffrage (July). All hope of a peaceful issue was at an end. When the questors called upon the Chamber to have posted up in all barracks the decree of May 6, 1848 concerning the right of the Assembly to demand the support of the troops if attacked, the Mountain, dreading a restoration of the monarchy, voted with the Bonapartists against the measure, thus disarming the legislative power.

Louis Napoleon saw his opportunity. On the night between December 1 and 2, 1851, the anniversary of Austerlitz, he dissolved the Chamber, re-established universal suffrage, had all the party leaders arrested, and summoned a new assembly to prolong his term of office for ten years. The deputies who had met under Berryer at the Maine of the 10th arrondissement to defend the constitution and proclaim the deposition of Louis Napoleon were scattered by the troops at Mazas and Mont Valérian.

The resistance organized by the republicans within Paris under Victor Hugo was soon subdued by the intoxicated soldiers. The more serious resistance in the départements was crushed by declaring a state of siege and by the « mixed commissions. »

The plebiscite of the December 20, ratified by a huge majority the coup d’état in favour of the prince-president, who alone reaped the benefit of the excesses of the Republicans and the reactionary passions of the monarchists.

The second attempt to revive the principle of 1789 only served as a preface to the restoration of the Empire.
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FRANCE HISTORY, the second republic, french history

France history : the 2nd empire

France History : the second republic

The French Second Republic (often simply Second Republic) was the republican regime of France from February 25, 1848 to December 2, 1852. It is counted as the second republic because the government during the French Revolution is counted as the first, although the revolutionary government is more often discussed as three periods: the National Convention, the Directory, and the Consulate.

The monarchy which for fifteen years had overcome its adversaries collapsed on February 24, 1848 to the astonishment of all.

The industrial population of the faubourgs on its way towards the centre of Paris was welcomed by the National Guard. Barricades were raised after the unfortunate incident of the firing of February 24.

On the 23rd Guizot’s cabinet resigned, abandoned by the petite bourgeoisie, on whose support they thought they could depend. The heads of the Left Centre and the dynastic Left, Molé and Thiers, declined the offered leadership. Odilon Barrot accepted it, and Bugeaud, commander-in-chief of the first military division, who had begun to attack the barricades, was recalled.

But it was too late. In face of the insurrection which had now taken possession of the whole capital, Louis Philippe decided to abdicate in favour of his grandson, the comte de Paris. But it was too late also to be content with the regency of the duchess of Orleans.

It was now the turn of the Republic, and it was proclaimed by Lamartine in the name of the provisional government elected by the Chamber under the pressure of the mob.

This provisional government with Dupont de l’Eure as its president, consisted of Lamartine for foreign affairs, Crémieux for justice, Ledru-Rollin for the interior, Carnot for public instruction, Gondchaux for finance, Arago for the navy, and Bedeau for war. Garnier-Pages was mayor of Paris.

But, as in 1830, the republican-socialist party had set up a rival government at the Hotel de Ville, including L Blanc, A Marrast, Flocon, and the workman Albert, which bid fair to involve discord and civil war. But this time the Palais Bourbon was not victorious over the Hotel de Ville. It had to consent to a fusion of the two bodies, in which, however, the predominating elements were the moderate republicans. It was doubtful what would eventually be the policy of the new government.

One party, seeing that in spite of the changes in the last sixty years of all political institutions, the position of the people had not been improved, demanded a reform of society itself, the abolition of the privileged position of property, the only obstacle to equality, and as an emblem hoisted the red flag. The other party wished to maintain society on the basis of its ancient institutions, and rallied round the tricolore.

The first collision took place as to the form which the revolution of 1848 was to take. Were they to remain faithful to their original principles, as Lamartine wished, and accept the decision of the country as supreme, or were they, as the revolutionaries under Ledru-Rollin claimed, to declare the republic of Paris superior to the universal suffrage of an insufficiently educated people?

On the March 5 the government, under the pressure of the Parisian clubs, decided in favour of an immediate reference to the people, and direct universal suffrage, and adjourned it till April 26. In this fateful and unexpected decision, which instead of adding to the electorate the educated classes, refused by Guizot, admitted to it the unqualified masses, originated the Constituent Assembly of May 4, 1848.

The provisional government having resigned, the republican and anti-socialist majority on the 9th of May entrusted the supreme power to an executive. The commission consisting of five members: Arago, Executive Marie, Garnier-Pages, Lamartine and Ledru-Rollin. Conimis. But the spell was already broken.

This revolution which had been peacefully effected with the most generous aspirations, in the hope of abolishing poverty by organizing industry on other bases than those of competition and capitalism, and which had at once aroused the fraternal sympathy of the nations, was doomed to be abortive.

The result of the general election, the return of a constituent assembly predominantly moderate if not monarchical, dashed the hopes of those who had looked for the establishment, by a peaceful revolution, of their ideal socialist state; but they were not prepared to yield without a struggle, and in Paris itself they commanded a formidable force. In spite of the preponderance of the « tricolour » party in the provisional government, so long as the voice of France had not spoken, the socialists, supported by the Parisian proletariat, had exercised an influence on policy out of all proportion to their relative numbers or personal weight.

By the decree of February 24, the provisional government had solemnly accepted the principle of the « right to work, » and decided to establish « national workshops » for the unemployed; at the same time a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg Palace, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labour; and, lastly, by the decree of March 8, the property qualification for enrolment in the National Guard had been abolished and the workmen were supplied with arms.

The socialists thus formed, in some sort, a state within the state, with a government, an organization and an armed force.

In the circumstances a conflict was inevitable; and on May 15, an armed mob, headed by Raspail, Blanqui and Barbès, and assisted by the proletariat Guard, attempted to overwhelm the Assembly. They were defeated by the bourgeois battalions of the National Guard; but the situation none the less remained highly critical.

The national workshops were producing the results that might have been foreseen. It was impossible to provide remunerative work even for the genuine unemployed, and of the thousands who applied the greater number were employed in perfectly useless digging and refilling; soon even this expedient failed, and those for whom work could not be invented were given a half wage of 1 franc a day.

Even this pitiful dole, with no obligation to work, proved attractive, and all over France workmen threw up their jobs and streamed to Paris, where they swelled the ranks of the army under the red flag. It was soon clear that the continuance of this experiment would mean financial ruin; it had been proved by the émeute of May 15, that it constituted a perpetual menace to the state; and the government decided to end it. The method chosen was scarcely a happy one.

On June 21, M. de Falloux decided in the name of the parliamentary commission on labour that the workmen should be discharged within three days and such as were able-bodied should be forced to enlist.

A furious insurrection at once broke out. Throughout the whole of the 24th, 25th and 26th of June, the eastern industrial quarter of Paris, led by Pujol, carried on a furious struggle against the western quarter, led by Louis Eugène Cavaignac, who had been appointed dictator. Vanquished and decimated, first by fighting and afterwards by deportation, the socialist party was crushed. But they dragged down the Republic in their ruin. This had already become unpopular with the peasants, exasperated by the newland tax of 45 centimes imposed in order to fill the empty treasury, and with the bourgeois, in terror of the power of the revolutionary clubs and hard hit by the stagnation of business.

By the « massacres » of the June Days the working classes were also alienated from it; and abiding fear of the « Reds » did the rest. « France, » wrote the duke of Wellington at this time, « needs a Napoleon! I cannot yet see him . . . Where is he? » France indeed needed, or thought she needed, a Napoleon; and the demand was soon to be supplied.

The granting of universal suffrage to a society with Imperialist sympathies, and unfitted to reconcile the principles of order with the consequences of liberty, was indeed bound, now that the political balance in France was so radically changed, to prove a formidable instrument of reaction; and this was proved by the election of the president of the Republic.

On the November 4, 1848 was promulgated the new constitution, obviously the work of inexperienced hands, proclaiming a democratic republic, direct universal suffrage and the separation of powers; there was to be a single permanent assembly of 750 members elected for a term of three years by the scrutin de liste, which was to vote on the laws prepared by a council of state elected by the Assembly for six years; the executive power was delegated to a president elected for four years by direct universal suffrage, i.e. on a broader basis than that of the chamber, and not eligible for re-election; he was to choose his ministers, who, like him, would be responsible.

Finally, all revision was made impossible since it involved obtaining three times in succession a majority of three-quarters of the deputies in a special assembly. It was in vain that M. Grévy, in the name of those who perceived the obvious and inevitable risk of creating, under the name of a president, a monarch and more than a king, proposed that the head of the state should be no more than a removable president of the ministerial council.

Lamartine, thinking that he was sure to be the choice of the electors under universal suffrage, won over the support of the Chamber, which did not even take the precaution of rendering ineligible the members of families which had reigned over France. It made the presidency an office dependent upon popular acclamation.

The election was keenly contested; the socialists adopted as their candidate Ledru-Rollin, the republicans Cavaignac, and the recently reorganized Imperialist party Prince Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon, unknown in 1835, and forgotten or despised since 1840, had in the last eight years advanced sufficiently in the public estimation to be elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1848 by five departments.

He owed this rapid increase of popularity partly to blunders of the government of July, which had unwisely aroused the memory of the country, filled as it was with recollections of the Empire, and partly to Louis Napoleon’s campaign carried on from his prison at Ham by means of pamphlets of socialistic tendencies.

Moreover, the monarchists, led by Thiers and the committee of the Rue de Poitiers, were no longer content even with the safe dictatorship of the upright Cavaignac, and joined forces with the Bonapartists. On December 10, the peasants gave over 5,000,000 votes to a name: Napoleon, which stood for order at all costs, against 1,400,000 for Cavaignac.

For three years there went on an indecisive struggle between the heterogeneous Assembly and the prince who was silently awaiting his opportunity. He chose as his ministers men but little inclined towards republicanism, for preference Orleanists, the chief of whom was Odilon Barrot. In order to strengthen his position, he endeavoured to conciliate the reactionary parties, without committing himself to any of them.

The chief instance of this was the expedition to Rome, voted by the Catholics with the object of restoring the papacy, which had been driven out by Garibaldi and Mazzini. The prince-president was also in favour of it, as beginning the work of European renovation and reconstruction which he already looked upon as his mission.

General Oudinot’s entry into Rome provoked in Paris a foolish insurrection in favour of the Roman republic, that of the Château d’Eau, which was crushed on June 13, 1849. On the other hand, when Pius IX, though only just restored, began to yield to the general movement of reaction, the president demanded that he should set up a Liberal government. The pope’s dilatory reply having been accepted by his ministry, the president replaced it on November 1, by the Fould-Rouher cabinet.

This looked like a declaration of war against the Catholic and monarchist majority in the Legislative Assembly which had been elected on May 28, in a moment of panic. But the prince-president again pretended to be playing the game of the Orleanists, as he had done in the case of the Constituent-Assembly.

The complementary elections of March and April 1850 having resulted in an unexpected victory for the republicans, which struck terror into the reactionary leaders, Thiers, Berryer and Montalembert, the president gave his countenance to a clerical campaign against the republicans at home.

The Church, which had failed in its attempts to gain control of the university under Louis XVIII and Charles X, aimed at setting up a rival establishment of its own. The Loi Falloux of March 1x, 1850, under the pretext of establishing the liberty of instruction promised by the charter, again placed the teaching of the university under the direction of the Catholic Church, as a measure of social safety, and, by the facilities which it granted to the Church for propagating teaching in harmony with its own dogmas, succeeded in obstructing for half a century the work of intellectual enfranchisement effected by the men of the 18th century and of the French Revolution.

The electoral law of May 31, was another class law directed against subversive ideas. It required as a proof of Electors) three years’ domicile the entries in the record of direct taxes, thus cutting down universal suffrage by taking away the vote from the industrial population, which was not as a rule stationary.

The law of July 16, aggravated the severity of the press restrictions by re-establishing the « caution money » (cautionnement) deposited by proprietors and editors of papers with the government as a guarantee of good behaviour. Finally, a skilful interpretation of the law on clubs and political societies suppressed about this time all the Republican societies. It was now their turn to be crushed like the socialists.

But the president had only joined in Montalembert’s cry of « Down with the Republicans! » in the hope of effecting a revision of the constitution without having recourse to a coup d’état. His concessions only increased the boldness of the monarchists; while they had only accepted Louis Napoleon as president in opposition to the Republic and as a step in the direction of the monarchy.

A conflict was now inevitable between his personal policy and the majority of the Chamber, who were moreover, divided into legitimists and Orleanists, in spite of the death of Louis Philippe in August 1856.

Louis Napoleon skilfully exploited their projects for a restoration of the monarchy, which he knew to be unpopular in the country, and which gave him the opportunity of, furthering his own personal ambitions.

From August 8, to November 12, 1850 he went about France stating the case for a revision of the constitution in speeches which he varied according to each place; he held reviews, at which cries of « Vive Napoleon » showed that the army was with him; he superseded General Changarnier, on whose arms the parliament relied for the projected monarchical coup d’etat; he replaced his Orleanist ministry by obscure men devoted to his own cause, such as Morny, Fleury and Persigny, and gathered round him officers of the African army, broken men like General Saint-Arnaud; in fact he practically declared open war.

His reply to the votes of censure passed by the Assembly, and their refusal to increase his civil list was to hint at a vast communistic plot in order to scare the bourgeoisie, and to denounce the electoral law of May 31, in order to gain the support of the mass of the people.

The Assembly retaliated by throwing out the proposal for a partial reform of that article of the constitution which prohibited the re-election of the president and the re-establishment of universal suffrage (July). All hope of a peaceful issue was at an end. When the questors called upon the Chamber to have posted up in all barracks the decree of May 6, 1848 concerning the right of the Assembly to demand the support of the troops if attacked, the Mountain, dreading a restoration of the monarchy, voted with the Bonapartists against the measure, thus disarming the legislative power.

Louis Napoleon saw his opportunity. On the night between December 1 and 2, 1851, the anniversary of Austerlitz, he dissolved the Chamber, re-established universal suffrage, had all the party leaders arrested, and summoned a new assembly to prolong his term of office for ten years. The deputies who had met under Berryer at the Maine of the 10th arrondissement to defend the constitution and proclaim the deposition of Louis Napoleon were scattered by the troops at Mazas and Mont Valérian.

The resistance organized by the republicans within Paris under Victor Hugo was soon subdued by the intoxicated soldiers. The more serious resistance in the départements was crushed by declaring a state of siege and by the « mixed commissions. »

The plebiscite of the December 20, ratified by a huge majority the coup d’état in favour of the prince-president, who alone reaped the benefit of the excesses of the Republicans and the reactionary passions of the monarchists.

The second attempt to revive the principle of 1789 only served as a preface to the restoration of the Empire.
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FRANCE HISTORY, the second empire, french history

France History : 2nd empire, Napoleon the 3rd (III)

France History : the second empire

The Second French Empire or Second Empire was the imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second republic and the Third Republic, in France.

Steps towards Empire

The anti-parliamentary constitution instituted by Napoleon III on January 14, 1852 was largely a repetition of that of the year VIII. All executive power was entrusted to the head of state, who was solely responsible to the people, now powerless to exercise any of their rights. He was to nominate the members of the council of state, whose duty it was to prepare the laws, and of the senate, a body permanently established as a constituent part of the empire.

One innovation was made, namely, that the Legislative Body was elected by universal suffrage, but it had no right of initiative, all laws being proposed by the executive power. This new political change was rapidly followed by the same consequence as had attended that of Brumaire. On December 2, 1852, France, still under the effect of the « Napoleonic virus », and the fear of anarchy, conferred almost unanimously by a plebiscite the supreme power, with the title of emperor, upon Napoleon III.

Ideals of Napoleon III

Although the machinery of government was almost the same under the Second Empire as it had been under the First, its founding principles were different. The function of the Empire, as he loved to repeat, was to guide the people internally towards justice and externally towards perpetual peace.

Holding his power by universal suffrage, and having frequently, from his prison or in exile, reproached former oligarchical governments with neglecting social questions, he set out to solve them by organising a system of government based on the principles of the « Napoleonic Idea », i.e. of the emperor, the elect of the people as the representative of the democracy, and as such supreme; and of himself, the representative of the great Napoleon I of France, « who had sprung armed from the French Revolution like Minerva from the head of Jove, » as the guardian of the social gains of the revolutionary period.

Napoleon III soon proved that social justice did not mean liberty. He acted in such a way that the principles of 1848 which he had preserved became a mere sham. He paralysed all those active national forces which create public spirit, such as parliament, universal suffrage, the press, education and associations. The Legislative Body was not allowed to elect its own president or to regulate its own procedure, or to propose a law or an amendment, or to vote on the budget in detail, or to make its deliberations public. Napoleon III during the Second French Empire

Similarly, universal suffrage was supervised and controlled by means of official candidature, by forbidding free speech and action in electoral matters to the Opposition, and by a skilful adjustment of the electoral districts in such a way as to overwhelm the Liberal vote in the mass of the rural population. The press was subjected to a system of cautionnements, i.e. « caution money », deposited as a guarantee of good behaviour, and avertissements, i.e. requests by the authorities to cease publication of certain articles, under pain of suspension or suppression; while books were subject to a censorship.

In order to counteract the opposition of individuals, a surveillance of suspects was instituted. Felice Orsini’s attack on the emperor in 1858, though purely Italian in its motive, served as a pretext for increasing the severity of this régime by the law of general security (sûreté générale) which authorised the internment, exile or deportation of any suspect without trial. In the same way public instruction was strictly supervised, the teaching of philosophy was suppressed in the lycées, and the disciplinary powers of the administration were increased.

For seven years France had no political life. The Empire was carried on by a series of plebiscites. Up to 1857 the Opposition did not exist; from then till 1860 it was reduced to five members: Darimon, Emile Ollivier, Hénon, Jules Favre and Ernest Picard. The royalists waited inactive after the new and unsuccessful attempt made at Frohsdorf in 1853, by a combination of the legitimists and Orleanists, to re-create a living monarchy out of the ruin of two royal families.

Prosperity and Culture

But it was not enough to abolish liberty by conjuring up the spectre of demagogy. It had to be forgotten, the great silence had to be covered by the noise of festivities and material enjoyment, the imagination of the French people had prosperity to be distracted from public affairs by the taste for work, the love of gain, the passion for good living.

The success of the imperial despotism, as of any other, despotism, was bound up with that material prosperity which would make all interests dread the thought of revolution. Napoleon III, therefore, looked for support to the clergy, the great financiers, industrial magnates and landed proprietors.

He revived on his own account the « Let us grow rich » of 1840. Under the influence of the Saint-Simonians and men of business great credit establishments were instituted and vast public works entered upon: the Credit foncier de France, the Credit mobilier, the conversion of the railways into six great companies between 1852 and 1857.

The rage for speculation was increased by the inflow of Californian and Australian gold, and consumption was facilitated by a general fall in prices between 1856 and 1860, due to an economic revolution which was soon to overthrow the tariff wall, as it had done already in England. Thus French activity flourished exceedingly between 1852 and 1857, and was merely temporarily checked by the crisis of 1857.

The Exposition Universelle (1855) was its culminating point. The great enthusiasms of the romantic period were over; philosophy became sceptical and literature merely entertainment. The festivities of the court at Compiègne set the fashion for the bourgeoisie, satisfied with this energetic government which kept such good guard over their bank balances.

If the Empire was strong, the Emperor was weak. At once headstrong and a dreamer, he was full of rash plans, but irresolute in carrying them out. An absolute despot, he remained what his life had made him. In his opinion the artificial work of the Congress of Vienna, involving the downfall of his own family and of France, invited destruction, and Europe should be organised as a collection of great industrial states, united by communities of interests and bound together by commercial treaties, and expressing this unity by periodical congresses presided over by himself, and by universal exhibitions.

In this way he would reconcile the revolutionary principle of the supremacy of the people with historical tradition, a thing which neither the Restoration nor the July monarchy nor the Republic of 1848 had been able to achieve. Universal suffrage, the organisation of Romanian, Italian and German nationality, and commercial liberty; this was to be the work of the Revolution.

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FRANCE HISTORY, the french restoration, french history

France history : restoration, Louis Philippe

France History : the french restoration

Following the ouster of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, the Bourbon Dynasty was restored to the French throne. The period of their reigns is called in French the Restauration.

Louis XVIII

Louis XVIII (November 17, 1755- September 16, 1824) was King of France from 1814 until his death in 1824.Louis XVIII, King of France

Louis-Stanislas-Xavier was born on November 17, 1755 in the Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France, the fourth son of the dauphin Louis, the son of King Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska. At birth, he received the title of Count of Provence but throughout most of his life he was known as « Monsieur. »

After the death of his two elder brothers and the accession of his remaining elder brother as Louis XVI of France in 1774, he became heir presumptive.

The birth of two sons to King Louis XVI, left him third in line to the throne of France. He was living in exile in Westphalia when the King was guillotined in 1793. On the king’s death, Louis-Stanislas-Xavier declared himself Regent for his nephew, the new King Louis XVII. On the 10-year-old king’s death in prison on June 8, 1795, Louis-Stanislas-Xavier proclaimed himself as King Louis XVIII.

In 1814, he gained the French throne with the assistance of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand after Napoleon’s downfall. Eventually, he fled Paris on the news of the return of Napoleon to Ghent, but returned after the Battle of Waterloo had ended Napoleon’s rule of the Hundred Days.

King Louis’ chief ministers were at first moderate, including Armand Emmanuel, Duc de Richelieu, and Élie Decazes. The ultraroyalists, led by Louis’s brother, the Comte d’Artois (later King Charles X), triumphed after the assassination of the count’s son, Charles Ferdinand, Duc du Berry. The new ministry headed by the Comte de Villèle was thoroughly reactionary.

Louis XVIII died on September 16, 1824, and was interred in the Saint Denis Basilica. His brother, the Comte d’Artois, succeeded him as Charles X.

Charles X

Charles X (October 9, 1757- November 6, 1836) was born at the Palace of Versailles son of Louis (the uncrowned dauphin, son of Marie Leszczynska) and Marie-Josèphe de Saxe. He was crowned King of France in 1824 in the cathedral at Reims and reigned until the French Revolution of 1830 when he abdicated rather than become a constitutional monarch.Charles X, Bourbon Dynasty, King of France

He was the brother of both King Louis XVI and King Louis XVIII, as well as uncle to Louis XVII

He married Marie-Thérèse de Savoie, the daughter of Victor Amadeus III of Savoy, on November 16, 1773.

As Comte d’Artois he headed the reactionary faction at the court of Louis XVI. He left France at the outbreak of the French Revolution, and stayed in England until the Bourbon restoration in 1814.

During the reign of Louis XVIII he headed the ultraroyalist opposition, which took power after the assassination of Charles’s son the Duc du Berry. The event caused the fall of the ministry of Élie Decazes and the rise of the Comte de Villèle, who continued as chief minister after Charles became king.

The Villèle cabinet resigned in 1827 under pressure from the liberal press. His successor, the Vicomte de Martignac, tried to steer a middle course, but in 1829 Charles appointed Jules Armand de Polignac, an ultrareactionary, as chief minister. Polignac initiated French colonization in Algeria. His dissolution of the chamber of deputies, his July Ordinances, which set up rigid control of the press, and his restriction of suffrage resulted in the July Revolution.

Charles abdicated in favor of his grandson, the Comte de Chambord, and left for England. However, the Duc d’Orléans, whom Charles had appointed Lieutenant-General of France, was chosen as « King of the French. » He reigned as Louis Philippe.

Fleeing initially to England, he later settled in Prague and then in present-day Slovenia. He died on November 6, 1836 in the palace of Count Michael Coronini Comberg zu Graffenberg at Goritz, Illyria and is buried in the Church of Saint Mary of the Annunciation, Castagnavizza, Slovenia.

Louis-Philippe of France

Louis-Philippe of France (October 6, 1773 – August 26, 1850), served as the « Orleanist » King of the French from 1830 to 1848.King Louis Philippe

Born in Paris, Louis-Philippe, as the son of Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc d’Orléans (known as « Philippe Égalité »), descended directly from King Louis XIII.

During the French Revolution and the ensuing regime of Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis-Philippe remained mostly outside France, traveling extensively, including in the United States where he stayed for four years in Philadelphia. His only sister, Princess Louise Marie Adelaide Eugènie d’Orléans, married in the US.

In 1809 Louis-Philippe married Princess Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies (1782-1866), daughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.

After the abdication of Napoleon, Louis-Philippe returned to live in France, claiming sympathy with the liberated citizens of the country. With the restoration of the monarchy under his cousin King Louis XVIII and then under the reign of Louis’ brother, King Charles X, the popularity of Louis-Philippe grew.

King of the French
In 1830, the July Revolution overthrew the repressive regime of Charles X. Charles abdicated in favour of his grandson, whom monarchists regarded as the legitimate Bourbon king. (Supporters of the Bourbon pretender, called ‘Henry V’, came to be called Legitimists. His grandson was offered the throne again in the 1870s but declined over a dispute over the French tricolour.)

Due to Louis-Philippe’s Republican policies and his popularity with the masses, the Chamber of Deputies ignored the wishes of the legitimists that Charles’s grandson be accepted as king and instead proclaimed Louis-Philippe as the new French king. The new monarch took the style of « King of the French », a constitutional innovation known as Popular monarchy which linked the monarch’s title to a people, not to a state, as the previous King of France’s designation did.

In 1832, his daughter, Princess Louise-Marie Thérèse Charlotte Isabelle (1812-1850), became Belgium’s first queen when she married King Leopold I.

For a few years, Louis-Philippe ruled in a unpretentious fashion, avoiding the arrogance, pomp and lavish spending of his predecessors. Despite this outward appearance of simplicity, Louis-Philippe’s support came from the wealthy middle classes.

At first, he was much loved and called the ‘Citizen King’, but his popularity suffered as his government was perceived as increasingly conservative and monarchical. Under his management the conditions of the working classes deteriorated, and the income gap widened considerably. An economic crisis in 1847 led to the citizens of France revolting against their king once again.

Abdication
On February 24, 1848, to general surprise, King Louis-Philippe abdicated in favour of his young grandson (his son and heir, Prince Ferdinand, having been killed in an accident some years earlier). Fearful of what had happened to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, he quickly disguised himself and fled Paris. Riding in an ordinary cab under the name of ‘Mr Smith’, he escaped to England.

The National Assembly initially planned to accept his grandson as king. However, pulled along by the tide of public opinion, they accepted the Second Republic proclaimed in controversial circumstances at Paris City Hall. In a popular election, Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected as President. In 1851 he declared himself president for life. Within a year, he named himself Emperor Napoleon III and resurrected the concept of a « Napoleonic Empire ».

Louis-Philippe and his family lived in England until his death on August 26, 1850), in Claremont, Surrey. He is buried with his wife Amelia (April 26, 1782 – March 24, 1866) at the Chapelle Royale, the family necropolis he had built in 1816, in Dreux, France.

The Clash of the Pretenders
The clashes of 1830 and 1848 between the Legitimists and the Orleanists over who was the valid monarch had its epilogue in the 1870s when, after the fall of the Empire, the National Assembly with the support of public opinion offered a reconstituted throne to the Legitimist pretender, ‘Henry V’, the Comte de Chambord.

As he was childless, it was expected (and agreed by all but the most extreme Legitimists) that the throne would then pass to the Comte de Paris, Louis-Phillippe’s grandson, so healing the ancient rift between France’s two royal families. However Chambord, with infamous stubbornness, refused to accept unless France abandoned the flag of the revolution, the Tricolore, and replaced it with what he regarded as the flag of pre-revolutionary France.

This the National Assembly was unwilling to do. A temporary Third Republic was established, to be disestablished and replaced by a constitutional monarchy when Chambord died and the more moderate Comte de Paris became the agreed pretender. However Chambord lived far longer than expected. By the time of his death in 1883 support for the monarchy had declined, with most people accepting the Third Republic as the form of government that ‘divides us least’, in Adolphe Thiers’s words.

Thus France’s monarchical tradition came to an end, though some, notably Dwight D. Eisenhower, did suggest a monarchical restoration under a later Comte de Paris after the fall of the Vichy regime. Instead however, the Third Republic was briefly resurrected before being replaced by the Fourth Republic in 1946.

Most French monarchists regard the descendants of Louis Philippe’s grandson, who hold the title Comte de Paris, as the rightful pretender to the French throne. A small minority of Legitimists however insist on a nobleman of Spanish birth, Don Luis-Alfonso de Borbon, Duke of Anjou (to his supporters, ‘Louis XX’) as being the true legitimist pretender.

Both sides even challenged each other in the French Republic’s law courts, in 1897 and again almost a century later, in the latter case, with Henri, Comte de Paris (d. 1999) challenging the right of the Spanish-born ‘pretender’ to use the French royal title Duc d’Anjou. The French courts disagreed with the Comte de Paris and threw out his claim.

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FRANCE HISTORY, the french revolution, french history

France History : French revolution, la Bastille

France History : the french revolution

The French Revolution, as a period in the history of France, covers the years 1789 to 1799, in which republicans overthrew the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church perforce underwent radical restructuring. While France would oscillate among republic, empire, and monarchy for 75 years after the First Republic fell to a coup by Napoleon Bonaparte, the revolution nonetheless spelled a definitive end to the ancien régime, and eclipses all subsequent revolutions in France in the popular imagination.

Many factors led to the revolution; to some extent the old order succumbed to its own rigidity in the face of a changing world; to some extent, it fell to the ambitions of a rising bourgeoisie, allied with aggrieved peasants and wage-earners and with individuals of all classes who had come under the influence of the ideas of the Enlightenment.

As the revolution proceeded and as power devolved from the monarchy to legislative bodies, the conflicting interests of these initially allied groups would become the source of conflict and bloodshed.

Certainly, causes of the revolution must include all of the following:

* Resentment of royal absolutism.
* Resentment of the seigneurial system by peasants, wage-earners, and a rising bourgeoisie.
* The rise of enlightenment ideals.
* An unmanageable national debt, both caused by and exacerbating the burden of a grossly inequitable system of taxation.
* Food scarcity in the years immediately before the revolution.

Prelude 1770s

Proto-revolutionary activity started when the French king Louis XVI (reigned 1774 – 1792) faced a crisis in the royal finances. The French crown, which fiscally exactly equated to the French state, owed considerable debt. During the régimes of Louis XV (ruled 1715 – 1774) and Louis XVI several different ministers, including Turgot and Jacques Necker, unsuccessfully proposed to revise the French tax system to tax the nobles. Such measures encountered consistent resistance from the parlements (law courts), which the nobility dominated.

The subsequent struggle with the parlements in an unsuccessful attempt to enact these measures displayed the first overt signs of the disintegration of the ancien régime. In the ensuing struggle:

Protestants regained their rights.
Louis XVI promised an annual publication of the state of finances.
Louis XVI promised to convoke the Estates-General within five years.
After Etienne Charles de Loménie de Brienne’s resignation on August 25, 1788, and with Necker back in charge of the nation’s finances, the king, on August 8, 1788, agreed to convene the Estates-General in May 1789, for the first time since 1614.

The prospect of an Estates-General highlighted the conflict of interest between, on the one hand, the First and Second Estates (the clergy and nobility respectively) and, on the other, the Third Estate (in theory, all of the commoners; in practice the middle class or bourgeoisie). According to the model of 1614, the Estates-General would consist of equal numbers of representatives of each Estate. The Third Estate demanded (and ultimately received) double representation (which they already had in the provincial assemblies). However, this double representation would prove something of a sham.

From the meeting of the Estates-General to the storming of the Bastille May 5, 1789 – July 27, 1789

When the Estates-General convened in Versailles on May 5, 1789, it became clear that the double representation had not, as it had appeared to some, already peacefully accomplished a revolution. Instead, it was at best a symbol. Voting would occur « by orders »: the collective vote of the 578 representatives of the Third Estate would count exactly as heavily as that of each of the other Estates.

Royal efforts to focus solely on taxes failed totally. The Estates-General reached an immediate impasse, debating (with each of the three estates meeting separately) its own structure rather than the nation’s finances. On May 28, 1789, the Abbé Sieyès moved that the Third Estate, now meeting as the Communes (English: « Commons »), proceed with verification of its own powers and invite the other two estates to take part, but not to wait for them.

They proceeded to do so, completing the process on June 17. Then they voted a measure far more radical, declaring themselves the National Assembly, an assembly not of the Estates but of « the People ». They invited the other orders to join them, but made it clear that they intended to conduct the nation’s affairs with or without them.

Louis XVI shut the Salle des États where the Assembly met; the Assembly moved their deliberations to the king’s tennis court, where they proceeded to swear the Tennis Court Oath (June 20, 1789), under which they agreed not to separate until they had given France a constitution. A majority of the representatives of the clergy soon joined them, as did forty-seven members of the nobility.

By June 27 the royal party had overtly given in, although the military began to arrive in large numbers around Paris and Versailles. Messages of support for the Assembly poured in from Paris and other French cities. On July 9, the Assembly reconstituted itself as the National Constituent Assembly.

In Paris, the Palais Royal and its grounds became the site of a continuous meeting. Some of the military leaned toward the popular cause.

On July 11, 1789, the king, acting under the influence of the conservative nobles of his privy council, banished the reformist minister Necker and completely reconstructed the ministry. Much of Paris, presuming this to be the start of a royal coup, moved into open rebellion. Some of the military joined the mob; others remained neutral.

On July 14, 1789, after four hours of combat, the insurgents seized the Bastille prison, killing Marquis Bernard de Launay and several of his guard. Although the Parisians released only seven prisoners — four forgers, two lunatics, and a dangerous sexual offender — the Bastille served as a potent symbol of everything hated under the ancien régime. Returning to the Hôtel de Ville (town hall), the mob accused the prévôt des marchands (roughly, mayor) Jacques de Flesselles of treachery; en route to an ostensible trial at the Palais Royal, he was assassinated.

The king and his military supporters backed down, at least for the time being. Lafeyette took up command of the National Guard at Paris; Jean-Sylvain Bailly — leader of the Third Estate and instigator of the Tennis Court Oath — became the city’s mayor under a new governmental structure known as the commune. The king announced his return from Versailles to Paris, where, on July 27, he accepted a tricolore cockade, as cries of « Long live the Nation » changed to « Long live the King ».

Nonetheless, after this violence, nobles — little assured by the apparent and, as it was to prove, temporary reconciliation of king and people — started to flee the country as émigrés, some of whom began plotting civil war within the kingdom and agitating for a European coalition against France.

Necker, recalled to power, experienced but a short-lived triumph. An astute financier but a less astute politician, he overplayed his hand by demanding and obtaining a general amnesty, losing much of the people’s favor in his moment of apparent triumph.

Insurrection and the spirit of popular sovereignty spread throughout France. In rural areas, many went beyond this: some burned title-deeds and no small number of châteaux.

From the abolition of feudalism to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy August 4, 1789 – July 12, 1790

On August 4, 1789, the National Assembly abolished feudalism, sweeping away both the seigneurial rights of the Second Estate and the tithes gathered by the First Estate. In the course of a few hours, nobles, clergy, towns, provinces, companies, and cities lost their special privileges.

While there would follow retreats, regrets, and much argument over the racbat au denier 30 (« redemption at a thirty-years’ purchase ») specified in the legislation of August 4, the course now remained set, although the full process would take another four years.

Factions within the Assembly began to become clearer. What would become known as the right wing, the opposition to revolution, was led at this time by the aristocrat Jacques Antoine Marie Cazalès and the abbé Jean-Sifrein Maury. The « Royalist democrats » allied with Necker, inclined toward arranging France along lines similar to the British constitutional model, included Jean Joseph Mounier, the Comte de Lally-Tollendal, the Comte de Clermont-Tonnerre, and Pierre Victor Malouet, Comte de Virieu.

The « National Party », representing mainly the interests of the middle classes, included Honoré Mirabeau, Lafayette, and Bailly; somewhat more extreme were Adrien Duport, Antoine Pierre Joseph Marie Barnave, and Alexander Lameth.

The abbé Sieyès led in proposing legislation in this period and successfully forged consensus for some time between the political center and the left.

In Paris, various committees, the mayor, the assembly of representatives, and the individual districts each claimed authority independent of the others. The increasingly middle-class National Guard under Lafayette also slowly emerged as a power in its own right, as did other self-generated assemblies.

Looking to the United States Declaration of Independence for a model, on August 26, 1789 the Assembly published the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Like the U.S. Declaration, it comprised a statement of principles rather than a constitution with legal effect.

Towards a Constitution

The National Constituent Assembly functioned not only as a legislature, but also as a body to draft a new constitution.

Necker, Mounier, Lally-Tollendal and others argued unsuccessfully for a senate, with members appointed by the king on the nomination of the people. The bulk of the nobles argued for an aristocratic upper house elected by the nobles. The popular party carried the day: France would have a single, unicameral assembly. Only a « suspensive veto » was left to the king (he could delay the implementation of a law, but not block it absolutely).

The people of Paris thwarted Royalist efforts to block this new order: they marched on Versailles on October 5, 1789. After various scuffles and incidents, the king and the Royal Family allowed themselves to be brought back from Versailles to Paris.

The Assembly replaced the historic provinces with eighty-three départements, uniformly administered and nearly equal to one another in extent and population.

Originally summoned to deal with a financial crisis, to date the Assembly had focused on other matters and only worsened the deficit. Mirabeau now led the move to address this matter, with the Assembly giving Necker complete financial dictatorship.

Toward the Civil Constitution of the Clergy

To no small extent, the Assembly addressed the financial crisis by having the nation take over the property of the Church (while taking on the Church’s expenses), through the law of December 2, 1789. In order to rapidly monetize such an enormous amount of property, the government introduced a new paper currency, assignats, backed by the confiscated church lands.

Further legislation on February 13, 1790 abolished monastic vows. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy, passed on July 12, 1790 (although not signed by the king until December 26, 1790), turned the remaining clergy into employees of the State and required that they take an oath of loyalty to the constitution.

In response to this legislation, the archbishop of Aix and the bishop of Clermont led a walkout of clergy from the National Constituent Assembly. The pope never accepted the new arrangement, and it led to a schism between those clergy who swore the required oath and accepted the new arrangement (« jurors » or « constitutional clergy ») and the « non-jurors » or « refractory priests » who refused to do so.

From the summer of 1790 to the establishment of the Legislative Assembly July 1790 – 1791
The anniversary of the Bastille

The Assembly declared a celebration for July 14, 1790 on the Champ de Mars. By way of prelude to this patriotic fête, on June 20, the Assembly, at the urging of the popular members of the nobility, abolished all titles, armorial bearings, liveries, and orders of knighthood, destroying the symbolic paraphernalia of the ancien régime. This further alienated the more conservative nobles, and added to the ranks of the émigrés.

On the 14th, Talleyrand performed a mass; participants swore an oath of « fidelity to the nation, the law, and the king »; the king and the royal family actively participated in the celebrations, which went on for several days.

The Constituent Assembly continues

The members of the States-General had originally been elected to serve for a single year. By the Tennis Court Oath, the communes had bound themselves to meet continuously until France had a constitution, a goal which had not yet been achieved in the course of a year. Right-wing elements, such as the abbé Maury, argued for a new election — by each of the three estates, separately — hoping that the events of the last year would encourage far more conservative representatives of at least the first two estates.

Isaac le Chapelier described this as « the hope of those who wish to see liberty and the constitution perish. » Maury responded by characterizing the effort to avoid an election as « calculated to limit the rights of the people over their representatives. »

However, Mirabeau carried the day, asserting that the status of the assembly had fundamentally changed, and that no new election would take place before completing the constitution: « It is asked how long the deputies of the people have been a national convention? I answer, from the day when, finding the door of their session-house surrounded by soldiers, they went and assembled where they could, and swore to perish rather than betray or abandon the rights of the nation… Whatever powers we may have exercised, our efforts and labours have rendered them legitimate… » [1] (http://www.outfo.org/literature/pg/etext06/8hfrr10.txt)

Around this time, several small counter-revolutionary uprisings broke out and efforts took place to turn all or part of the army against the revolution. These uniformly failed. The court, in Mignet’s words « encouraged every anti-revolutionary enterprise and avowed none, » [2] (http://www.outfo.org/literature/pg/etext06/8hfrr10.txt) while negotiating with Mirabeau for more favorable treatment under a constitution, if one could not be prevented.

Work on a constitution continues

Amidst these intrigues, the assembly continued to work on developing a constitution. A new judicial organization made all magistracies temporary and independent of the throne. The legislators abolished hereditary offices, except for the monarchy itself. Jury trials started for criminal cases. The king would have the unique power to propose war, with the legislature then deciding whether to declare war.

Turmoil in the military

The army faced considerable internal turmoil: in Nancy, in August 1790, three regiments, those of Châteauvieux, Maître-de-camp, and the King’s own regiment, rebelled against their chiefs. General Bouillé successfully put down the rebellion, which added to his (probably correct) reputation for counter-revolutionary sympathies.

Under the new military code promotion depended on seniority and proven competence, rather than on nobility. In one detrimental consequence of this generally sound policy large portions of the existing officer corps, seeing that they would no longer stand to gain promotion, left the army, and even the country, and attempted to stir up international diplomatic and even military opposition to the new, more democratic order.

Others (such as Bouillé) stayed inside the military, but remained insincere in their oaths to the new regime, and became a counter-revolutionary threat from within.

The Legislative Assembly and the Fall of the Monarchy 1791-1792

The King tried to flee in June 1791 to join the nobles in exile, but his flight to Varennes did not succeed. He reluctantly accepted the new constitution in September 1791, which made France a constitutional monarchy. The king had to share power with the elected Legislative Assembly (successor to the National Assembly), but he still retained his royal veto and the ability to select ministers.

New factions emerged, such as the Feuillants (constitutional monarchists), Girondins (liberal republicans) and Jacobins (radical revolutionaries). The King, the Feuillants and the Girondins wanted to wage war. The King wanted war: he expected to increase his personal popularity or to exploit a defeat: either would make him stronger.

The Girondins wanted to export the Revolution through Europe. France declared war on Austria (April 20, 1792) and Prussia joined on the Austrian side a few weeks later. The French Revolutionary Wars had begun.

The first significant military engagement of the French Revolutionary Wars occurred with the Franco-Prussian Battle of Valmy (September 20, 1792). Although heavy rain prevented a conclusive resolution, the French artillery proved its superiority.

The Paris Commune 1792

Nonetheless, fighting soon went badly and prices rose sky-high. In August 1792 a mob assaulted the Royal Palace in Paris and arrested the King. On September 21, 1792 the Assembly abolished the monarchy and declared a republic. The French Revolutionary Calendar commenced.

The Convention 1792-September 26, 1795

The legislative power in the new republic fell to a National Convention, while the executive power came to rest in the Committee of Public Safety. The Girondins became the most influential party in the Convention and on the Committee.

January 21, 1793 saw King Louis condemned to death for « conspiracy against the public liberty and the general safety » by a 1-vote Convention majority of 361 to 360. The execution caused more wars with other European countries.

When war went badly, prices rose and the sans-culottes (poor laborers and radical Jacobins) rioted; counter-revolutionary activities began in some regions. This caused the Jacobins to seize power through a parliamentary coup. The Committee of Public Safety came under the control of Maximilien Robespierre. The Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror (1793 – 1794).

At least 1200 people met their deaths under the guillotine – or otherwise – after accusations of counter-revolutionary activities. The slightest hint of counter-revolutionary thoughts or activities (or, as in the case of Jacques Hébert, revolutionary zeal exceeding that of those in power) could place one under suspicion, and the trials did not proceed over-scrupulously. This series of events can reasonably compare with the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

In 1794 Robespierre had ultraradicals and moderate Jacobins executed, so eliminating his own popular support. On July 27, 1794, the French people revolted against the excesses of the Reign of Terror in what became known as the Thermidorian Reaction. It resulted in moderate Convention members deposing and executing Robespierre and several other leading members of the Committee of Public Safety. The Convention approved the new « Constitution of the Year III » on 17 August 1795; a plebiscite ratified it in September; and it took effect on September 26, 1795.

The Directoire September 26, 1795 – November 9, 1799

The new constitution installed the Directoire (English: Directory) and created the first bicameral legislature in French history. The parliament consisted of 500 representatives (the Conseil des Cinq-Cent (Council of the Five Hundred)) and 250 senators (the Conseil des Anciens (Council of Seniors)). Executive power went to five « directors, » named annually by the Conseil des Anciens from a list submitted by the Conseil des Cinq-Cent.

The new régime met with opposition from remaining Jacobins and royalists. The army suppressed riots and counter-revolutionary activities. In this way the army and its successful general, Napoleon Bonaparte gained much power.

On November 9, 1799 (18 Brumaire of the Year VIII) Napoleon staged the coup which installed the Consulate; this effectively led to his dictatorship and eventually (in 1804) to his proclamation as emperor, which brought to a close the specifically republican phase of the French Revolution.

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FRANCE HISTORY, the middle ages, french history

France History, Middle Ages

France History : the middle ages

During the latter years of the elderly Charlemagne’s rule, the Vikings made advances along the northern and western perimeters of his kingdom. After Charlemagne’s death in 814 his heirs were incapable of maintaining any kind of political unity and the once great Empire began to crumble. Viking advances were allowed to escalate, their dreaded longboats were sailing up the Loire and Seine Rivers and other inland waterways, wreaking havoc and spreading terror.

In 843 the Viking invaders murdered the Bishop of Nantes and a few years after that, they burned the Church of Saint-Martin at Tours. Emboldened by their successes, in 845 the Vikings ransacked Paris.

During the reign of Charles the Simple (898-922) whose territory comprised much of the France of today, he was forced to concede to the Vikings a large area on either side of the Seine River, downstream from Paris, that was to become Normandy.

The Carolingians were subsequently to share the fate of their predecessors: after an intermittent power struggle between the two families, the accession (987) of Hugh Capet, duke of France and count of Paris, established on the throne the Capetian dynasty which with its Valois and Bourbon offshoots was to rule France for more than 800 years.

The Carolingian era had seen the gradual emergence of institutions which were to condition France’s development for centuries to come: the acknowledgement by the crown of the administrative authority of the realm’s nobles within their territories in return for their (sometimes tenuous) loyalty and military support, a phenomenon readily visible in the rise of the Capetians and foreshadowed to some extent by the Carolingians’ own rise to power.

The new order left the new dynasty in immediate control of little beyond the middle Seine and adjacent territories, while powerful territorial lords such as the 10th and 11th-century counts of Blois accumulated large domains of their own through marriage and through private arrangements with lesser nobles for protection and support.

The area around the lower Seine, ceded to Scandinavian invaders as the duchy of Normandy in 911, became a source of particular concern when duke William took possession of the kingdom of England in 1066, making himself and his heirs the king’s equal outside France (where he was still nominally subject to the crown).

Worse was to follow, with the succession (1154) to the disputed English throne of Henry II, already count of Anjou and duke of Normandy before his marriage (1152) to France’s newly-divorced ex-queen Eleanor of Aquitaine brought him control also of much of south-west France. A century of intermittent warfare brought Normandy once more under French control (1204) and French victory at Bouvines (1214).

The 13th century was to bring the crown important gains also in the south, where a papal-royal crusade against the region’s Albigensian or Cathar heretics (1209) led to the incorporation into the royal domain of Lower (1229) and Upper (1271) Languedoc. Philippe IV’s seizure of Flanders (1300) was less successful, ending two years later in the rout of her knights by the forces of the Flemish cities at the « battle of the spurs » near Courtrai (Kortrijk).
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FRANCE HISTORY, the Franks, french history

France History : the franks, Clovis, Charlemagne

France History : the Franks
The Franks formed one of several west Germanic tribes who entered the late Roman Empire from Frisia as foederati and established a lasting realm in an area that covers part of today’s France, and Germany (Franconia), forming the historic kernel of both these two modern countries.

The Frankish realm underwent many partitions and repartitions, since the Franks divided their property among surviving sons, and lacking a broad sense of a res publica, they conceived of the realm as a large extent of private property. This practice explains in part the difficulty of describing precisely the dates and physical boundaries of any of the Frankish kingdoms and who ruled the various sections.

The contraction of literacy while the Franks ruled compounds the problem: they produced few contemporary written records. In essence however, two dynasties of leaders succeeded each other, first the Merovingians and then the Carolingians.

The word frank meant « free » in the Frankish language. Freedom did not extend to women or to the population of slaves that moved with the free Franks. Initially two main subdivisions existed within the Franks: the Salian (« salty ») and the Ripuarian (« river ») Franks. By the 9th century, if not earlier, this division had in practice become virtually non-existent, but continued for some time to have implications for the legal system under which a person could go on trial.

The earliest Franks

The earliest Frankish history remains relatively unclear. Our main source, the Gallo-Roman chronicler Gregory of Tours, whose Historia Francorum (History of the Franks) covers the period up to 594, quotes from otherwise lost sources like Sulpicius Alexander and Frigeridus and profits from personal contact with many Frankish notables known to Gregory personally. Apart from Gregory’s History there exist some earlier Roman sources, such as Ammianus and Sidonius Apollinaris

Modern scholars of the period of the migrations have suggested that the Frankish people emerged from the unification of various earlier, smaller Germanic groups inhabiting the Rhine valley and lands immediately to the east, a social development perhaps related to the increasing disorder and upheaval experienced in the area as a result of the war between Rome and the Marcomanni, which began in 166 C.E., and subsequent conflicts of the late 2nd century and the 3rd century C.E. For his part, Gregory states that the Franks originally lived in Pannonia, but later settled on the banks of the Rhine. A region in the northeast of the modern-day Netherlands — north of the erstwhile Roman border — bears the name Salland, and may have received that name from the Salians.

Around 250 CE a group of Franks, taking advantage of a weakened Roman Empire, penetrated as far as Tarragona in present-day Spain, plaguing this region for about a decade before Roman forces subdued them and expelled them from Roman territory. About forty years later, the Franks had the Scheldt region under control and interfered with the waterways to Britain; Roman forces pacified the region, but did not expel the Franks.
Foundation of the Frankish kingdom

In 355 – 358 the later Emperor Julian once again found the shipping lanes on the Rhine under control of the Franks and again pacified them. Rome granted a considerable part of Belgica to the Franks. From this time on they become foederati of the Roman Empire. A region roughly corresponding to present-day Flanders and the Netherlands south of the rivers remains a Germanic-speaking region to this day. (The West Germanic language known as Dutch predominates there now.) The Franks thus became the first Germanic people who permanently settled within Roman territory.

From their heartland the Franks gradually conquered most of Roman Gaul north of the Loire valley and east of Visigothic Aquitaine. At first they helped defend the border as allies; for example, when a major invasion of mostly East Germanic tribes crossed the Rhine 406, the Franks fought against these invaders. The major thrust of the invasion passed south of the Loire river. (In the region of Paris, Roman control persisted until 486, i.e. a decade after the fall of the emperors of Ravenna, in part due to alliances with the Franks.)
The Merovingians

The reigns of earlier Frankish chieftains — Pharamond (about 419 until about 427) and Chlodio (about 427 until about 447) — seem to owe more to myth than fact, and their relationship to the Merovingian line remains uncertain.

Gregory mentions Chlodio as the first king who started the conquest of Gaul by taking Camaracum (today’s Cambrai) and expanding the border down to the Somme. This probably took some time; Sidonius relates that Aetius surprised the Franks and drove them back (probably around 431). This period marks the beginning of a situation that would endure for many centuries: the Germanic Franks became rulers over an increasing number of Gallo-Roman subjects.

In 451 Aetius called upon his Germanic allies on Roman soil to help fight off an invasion by the Huns. The Salian Franks answered the call, the Ripuarians fought on both sides as some of them lived outside the Empire. At this time Merovech reigned as king of the Franks. Gregory’s (oral) sources tentatively identify Merovech as a possible son of Chlodio.

Clovis the Merovingian Clovis engaged in a campaign of consolidating the various Frankish kingdoms in Gaul and the Rhineland, which included defeating Syagrius in 486. This victory ended Roman control in the Paris region.

In the Battle of Vouillé (507), Clovis, with the help of Burgundy, defeated the Visigoths, expanding his realm eastwards up to the Pyrenees mountains.

The conversion of Clovis to Roman Christianity, after his marriage to the Catholic Burgundian princess Clothilde in 493, may have helped to increase his standing in the eyes of the Pope and the other orthodox Christian rulers. Clovis’ conversion signalled the conversion of the rest of the Franks. Because they were able to worship with their Catholic neighbors, the newly-Christianized Franks found much easier acceptance from the local Gallo-Roman population than did the Arian Visigoths, Vandals or Burgundians. The Merovingians thus built what eventually proved the most stable of the successor-kingdoms in the west.

Stability, however, did not feature day-to-day in the Merovingian era. While casual violence existed to a degree in late Roman times, the introduction of the Germanic practice of the blood-feud to obtain personal justice led to a perception of increased lawlessness. Disruptions to trade occurred, and civic life became increasingly difficult, which led to an increasingly localized and fragmented society based on self-sufficient villas. Literacy practically disappeared outside of churches and monasteries.

The Merovingian chieftains adhered to the Germanic practice of dividing their lands among their sons, and the frequent division, reunification and redivision of territories often resulted in murder and warfare within the leading families. So on Clovis’s death in 511, his four sons divided his realm between themselves, and over the next two centuries his descendants shared the kingship.

The Frankish area expanded further under Clovis’ sons, eventually covering most of present-day France, but including areas east of the Rhine river as well, such as Alamannia (today’s southwestern Germany) and Thuringia (from 531). Saxony, however, remained outside the Frankish realm until conquered by Charlemagne centuries later.

After a temporary reunification of the separate kingdoms under Clotaire I, the Frankish lands split once again in 561 into Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy.

In each Frankish kingdom the Mayor of the Palace served as the chief officer of state. From about the turn of the eighth century, the Austrasian Mayors tended to wield the real power in the kingdom, laying the foundation for a new dynasty: their descendants the Carolingians.
The Carolingians

The Carolingian kingship traditionally begins with the deposition of the last Merovingian king and the accession in 751 of Pippin the Short, father of Charlemagne. Pippin had succeeded his own father, Charles Martel, as Mayor of the Palace of a reunited and re-erected Frankish kingdom comprised of the formerly independent parts.

Pippin reigned as an elected king. Although such elections happened infrequently, a general rule in Germanic law stated that the king relied on the support of his leading men. These men reserved the right to choose a new leader if they felt that the old one could not lead them in profitable battle. While in later France the kingdom became hereditary, the kings of the later Holy Roman Empire proved unable to abolish the elective tradition and continued as elected rulers until the Empire’s formal end in 1806.

Pippin solidified his position in 754 by entering into an alliance with Pope Stephen III against the Lombards; this papal support proved crucial to silencing any objections to his new position. Pippin donated the re-conquered areas around Rome to the Pope, laying the foundation for the Papal States, of which only the Vatican City remains today, and in turn received the title patricius Romanorum (protector of the Romans).

Charlemagne the Carolingian EmperorUpon Pippin’s death in 768, his sons, Charles and Carloman, once again divided the kingdom between themselves. However, Carloman withdrew to a monastery and died shortly thereafter, leaving sole rule to his brother, who would later become known as Charlemagne and become an almost mythical figure for the later history of both France and Germany.

From 772 onwards, Charles conquered and eventually defeated the Saxons to incorporate their realm into the Frankish kingdom. This campaign expanded the practice of non-Roman Christian rulers undertaking the conversion of their neighbors by armed force; Frankish Catholic missionaries, along with others from Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England, had entered Saxon lands since the mid-8th century, resulting in increasing conflict with the Saxons, who resisted the missionary efforts and parallel military incursions.

Charles’ main Saxon opponent, Widukind, accepted baptism in 785 as part of a peace agreement, but other Saxon leaders continued to fight. Upon his victory in 787 at Verden, Charles ordered the wholesale killing of thousands of pagan Saxon prisoners. After several more uprisings, the Saxons suffered definitive defeat in 804.

This expanded the Frankish kingdom eastwards as far as the Elbe river, something the Roman empire had only attempted once, and at which it failed in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 AD). In order to more effectively christianize the Saxons, Charles founded several bishoprics, among them Bremen, Münster, Paderborn, and Osnabrück.

At the same time (773-774), Charles conquered the Lombards and thus could include northern Italy in his sphere of influence. He renewed the Vatican donation and the promise to the papacy of continued Frankish protection.

In 788, Tassilo, dux (duke) of Bavaria rebelled against Charles. After the quashing of the rebellion Bavaria became incorporated into Charles’ kingdom. This not only added to the royal fisc, but also drastically reduced the power and influence of the Agilolfings (Tassilo’s family), another leading family among the Franks and potential rivals. Until 796, Charles continued to expand the kingdom even farther southeast, into today’s Austria and parts of Croatia.

Charles thus created a realm that spanned from the Pyrenees in the southwest (actually, including an area in Northern Spain after 795) over almost all of today’s France (except Brittany, which the Franks never conquered) eastwards to most of today’s Germany, including northern Italy and today’s Austria.

On December 23 and 24, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charles as Emperor in Rome in a ceremony that formally acknowledged the Frankish Empire as the successor of the (Western) Roman one. The coronation gave the Empire the backing of the church, and gave permanent legitimacy to Carolingian primacy among the Franks. The Ottonians later resurrected this connection in A.D. 962. In 812 the Byzantine Emperor Michael I Rhangabes acknowledged Charlemagne’s position as Emperor.

Upon Charlemagne’s death on January 28, 814 in Aachen, he was buried in his own Palace Chapel at Aachen.

Charlemagne had several sons, but only one survived him. This son, Louis the Pious, followed his father as the ruler of a united Empire. But sole inheritance remained a matter of chance, rather than intent. When Louis died in 840, the Carolingians adhered to the custom of partible inheritance, and the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the Empire in three:

Louis’ eldest surviving son Lothair became Emperor and ruler of the Central Franks. His three sons in turn divided this kingdom between them into Lotharingia, Burgundy and (Northern) Italy. These areas would later vanish as separate kingdoms.
Louis’ second son, Louis the German, became King of the East Franks. This area formed the kernel of the later Holy Roman Empire, which eventually evolved into modern Germany. For a list of successors, see the List of German Kings and Emperors.

His third son Charles the Bald became King of the West Franks; this area became the foundation for the later France. For his successors, see the List of French monarchs.
On the map to the right, Louis II controlled the area outlined in green, Louis the German controlled the area in yellow, and Charles the Bald controlled the portion in purple.

Although an historical accident, the unification of most of what is now western and central Europe under one chief ruler provided a fertile ground for the continuation of what is known as the Carolingian Renaissance. Despite the almost constant internecine warfare the Carolingian Empire endured, the extension of Frankish rule and Roman Christianity over such a large area ensured a fundamental unity throughout the Empire.

Each part of the Carolingian Empire developed differently; Frankish government and culture depended very much upon individual rulers and their aims. Those aims shifted as easily as the changing political alliances within the Frankish leading families. However, those families, the Carolingians included, all shared the same basic beliefs and ideas of government.

These ideas and beliefs had their roots in a background that drew from both Roman and Germanic tradition, a tradition that began before the Carolingian ascent and continued to some extent even after the deaths of Louis the Pious and his sons.

When modern historians (from the late 18th century on) hearken back to an example of a unified Europe, they turn to the Carolingian Empire, not to the Roman Empire. Whether the Carolingian Empire lasted (or, one could argue, ever really existed as an Empire per se) in a geographical or political sense has no material bearing on this view. The model of several individual kingdoms (or regna, to give them their proper names) under one rule clearly resonates today.

One might argue that the divisions of Verdun still provide the general borders of Germany, France, and Italy, but one can scarcely suppose that they provide any clear cultural divide. They cannot divide the Germanic-Roman Christian legacy begun by the Carolingians.
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