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The Revolution of 1830


July Monarchy
Louis XVIII in France

The Revolution of 1830 led to a new regime, known as the July Monarchy because of the month of its birth. It was headed by Louis Philippe of the house of Orléans, who ruled from 1830 to 1848. His supporters in the Orléanist Party were largely drawn from the notable class of wealthy landowners and businessmen. The Orléanists were prepared to endorse the political heritage of 1789 to the extent that they broke with the idea of divine-right monarchy and waved the three-color flag created in the early 1790s. But they did not endorse popular democracy.

The Orléanist regime was challenged on the left by radical republicans and on the right by former ultraroyalists, but it was devoted to maintaining political and social stability. It did so with brute force, as when it put down revolts of the Lyonnais weavers in 1831 and 1834. Although not marked by great new initiatives, the July Monarchy did pass a law in 1833 laying the foundation for a national system of primary schools. The sponsor of this measure, François Guizot, a Protestant, became chief minister in 1840, lending a slight anticlerical cast to the regime. Under the July Monarchy, the social problems arising out of the Industrial Revolution became matters of increasing debate.

The regime itself, however, tended to a laissez-faire, or hands-off, policy and did little to solve social problems. Félicité de Lamennais, a philosopher who later became a priest, led an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to interest the pope in the cause of social reform. The left developed a number of sweeping plans of reform to save humanity from the perils of modern industrial society. Among the more grandiose were the plans of Charles Fourier and those of the followers of Saint-Simon. Fourier wanted to replace modern cities with utopian communities, and the Saint-Simonians advocated directing the economy by manipulating credit.

Although few of these programs had much support, they did expand the political and social imagination of their contemporaries, including a German-born exile in Paris named Karl Marx. They also increased dissatisfaction with the bland policies of the July Monarchy, and in 1848 the regime was overthrown.

An economic recession in 1846 and 1847 had already spread discontent in the population. Then in February 1848 opponents of the regime provoked it into ordering a crackdown on dissent. The government failed to master the situation, and crowds in Paris drove out the king. Louis Philippe abdicated on February 24. A new republic was declared, a provisional government was organized, and the call went out for fresh elections. France was once again in revolution. "France" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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