France 1814-70

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The Restoration of the Bourbons 1814

Why did the allies choose Louis XVIII as the next ruler of France?

  • Compromise- The allies did not want to return to the 1789 revolution with a republic, British policy outruled any Bonaparte from coming to power and the rule of Louis-Philippe could not be justified over that of those who had a legitimate claim.
  • Propagandists- The most effective were the royalists, who favoured the return of the elder branch of the bourbons.
  • Talleyrand- He was engaged in six years of diplomacy to secure the restoration of the Bourbons.
  • Foreign Support- Britain and Russia favoured the return of the Bourbons.
  • Coincidence- When Wellington led troops into Bordeaux, they were met by crowds of people shouting "vive le Roi" and showing the colours of the Royal family.
  • Public opinion in 1814- There had been an estimated one and a half million deaths sine 1789, there was economic devastation all across France, most people now wanted Peace even if that meant the restoration of the bourbons. The French people wanted to keep the benefits gained during the revolution.
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The Charter of 1814

  • All Frenchmen are equal before the law
  • They are eligable to military and civil positions
  • Freedom of the press
  • Freedom of religion
  • Induvidual liberty is Guaranteed
  • Roman Catholicism is the state religion.
  • Only Christion clergy recieve Stipends from the treasury. 

Louis XVIII Made several blunders in the Preamble to the charter:

  • He named himself Louis XVIII not Louis XVII
  • He dated his reign from 1795
  • the national flag was changed from the tricolore to the Boubaon Fleur-de-lis
  • The household guard was re-introduced
  • He called himself "king of France" not "King of the French"

Significance: It seemed as if Louis was not acknowledging the revolution and the rise of Napoleon, he was associating himself with the ancién regime. It also seemed as if under Louis, the emigrés would regain their former power.

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Napoleon's return and the One Hundred days

Napoleon escaped from house arrest in Elba and landed in the South of France. As he travelled through France he gained thousands of supporters.

Louis XVIII escaped to Belgium, Napoleon gained control of Paris. Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and a strict peace was imposed on the French people:

  • France was restricted to her pre-evolutionary territories
  • Louis XVIII was restored to the throne
  • 700 million francs was to be paid to the allies

Louis was percieved by tthe French people as having returned to France in the "baggage trains of the enemy". This was damaging because:

  • he was heavily associated with countries who had just been slaughtering French troops.
  • Suggesting that he was not chosen to be king by the French people.
  • It showed that Louis was not strong enough to maintain his hold on the throne.
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Politics under Louis XVIII

The Political system

  • There were two houses: the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Peers.
  • The king could veto any legislation passed by pariament .
  • Voting- 100,000 out of 3.2 million could vote. (paying more than 1,000 francs in tax)
  • The king could appoint ministers to parliament.

The Pays légal:

  • A minority of Frenchmen who expected to play a part in public life, they were relatively wealthy and were mostly landowners.
  • They provided leadership that the people were content to follow. They could cause another revolution, so the Bourbons needed to win them over.

The Ultras: (lead by Villéle and Charles X)

  • They believed in the divine right of kings and hoped to do away with the charter of 1814.
  • They wanted the restoration of the nobles' lands.
  • They wanted the destruction of parliamentry institutions which limited the king's power.
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Positive Aspects of Louis XVIII's reign


  • La Chambre introuvable 1815- Louis altered the voting system so that a more liberal government could be created and so that the influence of the ultras would be limited.
  • This lead to the government of Elie Décazes, who purged the admiistration, removing many Ultra- sympathisers and replacing them with Liberals.
  • Louis convinced the pays légal that he would make the charter a working reality.


  • Décazes ensured that government finances were frim and stable
  • Louis developped an effective method for controling government spending which lasted for more than 100 years.
  • In 1818 all foreign war debt was paid off, so all foreign troops withdrew from France. This brought in a period of peace and prosperity for the French people.
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Negative aspects of Louis XVIII's reign

The assasination of the Duc de Berry

  • This removed the only male heir in the royal famly capable of producing an heir.
  • The ultras used this event to create panic and persuade Louis that his political system only encouraged those who hoped for a return to revolutionary activity.
  • The king was too weak to resist and the electoral system was restricted further, increasing ultra influence.

Villéle as chief minister, 1822

  • Worried the pays légal that the monarchy would return to the ancién regime, the people were going to lose their influence and the Catholic church/emigrés would regain their former wealth and influence.

Intervention in Spain, 1823

  • The French army restored king Ferdinad VII to the throne of Spain.
  • Lttle entusiasm was shown becausethe aim was to restore an absolutist ruler
  • Liberals that Louis would do the same in France
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Charles X

Political Views:

  • closely associated with the Ultras
  • Deeply involved in politics
  • favoured émigres
  • believed in the divine right of kings.

Coronation at Rheims Cathederal

  • the place where all the kings of the old regime had been crowned
  • He was crowned just like an absolutist monarch, stressing the divine right of kings.

Law to compensate the émigres:

  • attempted to restore the emigres' wealth and position.
  • Villéle planned to convert government debt from 5% to 3% bonds (saving 30 million)
  • This seemed as if loyal Frenchmen were being penalized to profit those who had deserted.
  • their wealth was not returened but their position was restored.
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Charles X continued


  • Charles was responsable for giving control of the education sstem to the catholic church.
  • the peple believed that the Jesuits were regaining power
  • This was seen as not upholding the charter of 1814.

Charles X tried to pass many other laws to try and return things to the way they were before the revolution. this included the inheritance law, which tried to bring back Primageniture and the Sacrilage law, which punished the deliberate descration of the Eucharist by death. This was never applied however. 

The Press:

  • The press were very important especially for the pays légal.
  • Press censorship was abandoned uder Martingnac
  • Out of 65,000 newspaper subscriptions in 1825, only 20,000 were pro-government newspapers
  • A relationship could be made between the increase of oppostition newspapers in the lead up to 1789 and in the 1820s.
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Politics under Charles X

Treatment of Parliament and the charter:

  • Parliament was majorly dominated by the ultras
  • At the very best, the chamber of deputies could put pressure on the king to appoint new ministers
  • Charles ruled irrespective of the charter. He did not aknowledge parliament but he restricted the press and the electorate.

Political Groups in the late 1820s;

  • The Ultras- wanted a return of the ancien régime and saw the cahrter was temporary.
  • Constitutionalists/Doctrinaies- wanted to make a success of the charter. virtually disappeared after the assasination of the Duc de Berry in 1820.
  • Independants/Liberals- hoped to move slowly to the British system of Parliamentary monarchy. They wanted ministers to be responsible to parliament not to the king.


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Causes of the Revolution of 1830

1) The Polarisation of French politics:

  • When the Duc de Berry was assasinated, the murderer was declared as a liberal by the ultras.
  • They were then able to push the control of politics to the right
  • The liberals were then alienated by Charles as he appointed old families to public services
  • Now all that was left of Parliament was the extreme left and right.

2) The appointment of Polignac, 1829

  • Charles believed that it was the willingness of Louis XVI that allowed the revolution of 1789 to happen. He was sure that if he remained resolute, right minded people would rally to his cause
  • Polignas was an old friend of Charles, he was an extreme ultra.
  • What remained of moderate support for Charles X now Joined the oppostion.

3)Economic Depression 1827/8:   Multiple harvest failures led to high food prices. People fled into the cities where there was no work=poverty and starvation=discontent with the regime.

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Causes of thee 1830 revolution continued

4)The elections, June 1830:

  • The Polignac ministry did not have support in Parliament. Elections were needed so it wouldn't seem like Charles was ruling as an absolute monarch.
  • Charles issued the "proclamation of the voters" which angered the pays légal as they thought he sould be detached from politics and he should answer to the people, not God.
  • Two oppostion deputies for every one prepared to support the government.

5) The four Ordinances of st Cloud

  • The withdrawal of all surviving aspects of press freedom
  • The chamber off deputied was dissolved.
  • Called for new elections in September 1830.
  • Disenfranchised 75% of the electorate, leaving only the "double vote" electors.
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The fall of Charles X

  • After the failed coup d'état (four ordinances), the barricades went up all around Paris, the army was not called in.
  • The national guard joined the revolutionaries.
  • On the 29th of July royal troops abandoned Tuleries palace.
  • Members of the chamber  of deputies formed a "provisional municipal commitee" at the hotel-de-ville.
  • At st cloud, Charles agreed to sack Polignac, Louis-Philippe was convinced to take the throne.
  • on the 2nd of August, Charles abdicated and fled to England.
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  • Son of the revolutionary Duc de Orleans.
  • Spent the years between 1793 and 1815 in exile
  • Supported the execution of Louis XVI

Polictical changes made in 1830:

  • The natioinal flag was changed back to the tricolore
  • He was named "king of the french" not "king of France"
  • Press Censorship laws were relaxed
  • The Catholic church lost its position.
  • The Jesuits were expelled.
  • The Franchise was double.

However the voting laws were still restricted. The changes seemed to be modest attempts to move away from the restored bourbons, which were very unpopular.

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Louis-Philippe continued

The Honeymoon Period:

  • The economic state began to improve in France so the standard of living improved.
  • However Politicians were more interested in political infighting than forming a united front.
  • There were uprisings in 1831 in Paris and Lyon.

The Fundamental weakness of the regime:

Louis-Philippe had no legitimate claim to the throne; he owed his throne to a handful of rich landowners, bankers and merchants who saw him as a compomise to prevent a republic. Therefore the legitimacy of his rule could be questioned and his policies had to be in favour of the small group of people that placed him on the throne.

Boring Personal Lifestyle:

  • Louis-Philippe led a plain life, he was happily married with nine children.
  • The press had no scandal to write aboutm instead they attacked his boring lifestyle and failing policies.
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Alternatives to Louis-Philippe


  • Mant thought that republicanism would lead to the end of poverty. They were likely to be active at times of hardship and little hope.
  • There was a growth in republicanism amongst the higher orders because of the romanticised view of the First republic.


  • These were the remainder of Charles X's suppoters. It became increasingl popoular to adopt a romantic view towards the divine right of kings.
  • They were important people who could do damage to the regime.


  • Although Napoleon was dead, the Napoleonic legend was much alive in the people's minds.
  • The last Bonapartist claim was the nephew, Louis Napoleon
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Louis Philippe's foreign policy

The creation of Belgium, 1830

  • In 1815, Belgium was joined with the Netherlands, but the Belgians ewsented the way they were treated. In August 1830, they rebelled and attempted to establish an independant country.
  • Louis-Philippe worked closely with Britain and Belgium became independant.
  • He refused the throne of Belgium as he didn't want to damage relations with Britain.
  • It looked as if LP was playing "second fidlle" to Britain.

Italy 1832

  • In 1830 LP refused to intervene to help Italian Patriots against Austria.
  • When a second rising occured in 1832, the Vatican called on Austrian troops, the French occupied Ancona until 1838, showing that they would not allow domination of the Peninsula.

Conquest of Algeria

Accomplished more by accident than design, it was the beginning of the French colonization of Algeria.























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Louis Philippe's foreign policy continued

Mehemet Ali and Egypt

  • Thiers was prepared to take the side of Mehemet Ali in his dispute with the Sultan of Turkey because France wanted to increase her influence in Egypt.
  • Palmerston denounced this as a French attempt to obtain exclusive control in the East. He persuaded Great powers to impose a settlemet hosile to Ali. Louis-Philippe was not prepared to risk war.
  • This created a rift with Britain. Thiers was dismissed and Louis-Philippe was once again critized for playing "second fiddle" to Britain.


  • In Spain there was a long drawn out civil war, there were many opportunities for intervention.
  • Louis-Philippe did not intervene because Palmerston was unprepared to see French action in Spain.
  • The negotiations to marry the infanta of Spain to LP's son drove Frace into isolation from Britain.


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Louis-Philippe's domestic policy

Guizot as chief minister 1840-48:

  • Guizot believed that nothing needed to be changed in the political/economic system (Laissez-faire).This showed weakness and complacency.
  • Guizot held a series of debated on the matter of the Franchise and it became known that the king had no intentiont to narrow the franchise. The fact that the government won these debated showed that the franchise could be manipulated.

The effects of the industria revolution:

  • Paris was growing at an enormous rate, by 1846 there were tens of thousands of poor people left to exist in misery.
  • The government claimed that it could do nothing to address the issue. The poor could be used by opposition leaders and the press to start a revolution.

The Lingering effects of the 1789 revolution:

It created the idea that a political system could be overthrown by the people. LP did not unite political parties, he let himself appear weak.

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The fall of the July Monarchy

The economic crisis 1846/7:

  • French industrialisation had not kept pace with the growing population= unemployment.
  • There were multiple failed harvests, food priced more than doubled.
  • Expenditure on consumer good declined causing a slump-increasing unemployment.
  • There were food riots, attacks on grain convoys, rural arson, strikes and demonstations.

The reform banquets:

  • These were a series of banquets held to champion the cause of electoral reform. These were often taken over by radical republicans, trying to gather support for their cause.
  • On the 22nd of Feb they were declared illegal. A march was held to peacefullt protest.

The events of 1848:

  • Guizot was dismissed.
  • The next day troops fired on a good nature crowd, tthe barricades went up. LP could do nothing.
  • On the 24th of Feb Louis-Philippe abdicated, fleeing to England.
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The Second republic 1848-52

An armed mob burst into the chamber od deputies, the only option was to declare a republic. Soon after the new provisional government declared Universl male suffrage.

The National Workshops:

  • Created by Louis Blanc, they were the red republicans' answer to solve poverty. They believed that everyone had "le droit au travail"
  • They were to provide jobs to the unemployed. The jobs would also improve living conditions in the cities.
  • However to pay the workers, taxes would have to be increased. This meant that the middle class/peasants would have to pay for the wworkshops, making them unpopular.

The constituent Assembly:

  • Their task was to draw up a new constitution for the republic.
  • There was a vote scheduled for Easter sunday 1848, in many villages priests preached against red republicanism and then led the congregation to vote.
  • This resulted in a conservative majority (1/3 republican) due to the great fear of the peasant farmers that their lad would be taken away.
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The June Days 1848


  • The conservative constituent assembly decided that the masses should be put back in their place, so they shut down the national workshops.
  • The government brought the army into Paris to force into compliance to the new regulations.


  • There was widespread reaction from the poor, the barricades went up and rioters took to the streets.
  • General Cavaignac brought his troops into Paris to remove the barricades. They killed anyone who had been involved.


  • It showed how violent a red republic could be.
  • The mood in Paris swang in favour of Law and Order.
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Louis Napoleon as President


  • Bonapartism meant security and effective government to many people.
  • It meant an end to anti-clericalism
  • Opened the doors to the socially aspiring
  • Meant an ambitious foreign policy
  • Louis Napoleon won the elections with 5.5 million voter, Cavaignac had 1.5 million and Lamartine 19,000.
  • Published 2 pamphlets, expressing his intent to be a storng ruler and to do away with poverty.

The Uprising of 1849:

  • An attempt was made by red republicans to demonstrate support for those who had deposed the pope.
  • LN sent an expedition under General Oudinot to restore the pope, showing that he was a conservative leader.

The LOUI FALLOUX 1850:Encouraged the provision of church schools to be staffd as the church wanted. Religious education was madecompulsory.

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The Coup d'état 1851

The main limiting factor on Louis-Napoleon's power was that the constitution prevented him from being re-elected.

On the night of the 2nd of December (anniverary of N1's coronation), leading opposition members were arrested, key buildings and opposition newspapers were taken over. Large numbers of troops were placed in Paris. Attempts to raise barricades were supressed.

A plebiscite was held to extend the presidency for 10 years, 7.5 million voted Yes.


Another Plebiscite was held to vote on the formation of the 2nd empire. There was an overwhelming yes vote. On the 1st of December 1852, the second empire was declared.

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The Second Empire

The Imperial Consitution:

  • Nearly all power was given to the emporer.
  • There were two house of Parliament: the Senate and the Crops législatif; this could initiate nothing of importance, they could only decide to give advice.
  • The senate members were appointed b Napoleon and the CL was elected
  • The Conseil d'etat was made up of 40 members appointed by Napoleon III, its role was to draw up laws.

The use of Plebiscites:

The use of plebiscites made NIII look as if he was readily open to change in the direction of the view of the people. It enabled the French people to have their say in politics.

The Authoritorian empire:

  • Thousands were arrested and exiled
  • There was a strict system of press censorship.
  • political parties were banned.
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Liberalisation in the 1860s

1859- Socialist leaders allowed to return to France

1860/1-Changes were opposed by all but one of Napoleon's ministers.

1867/8- Senate/Cl were able to question a minister. After 1868 Newspapers could be created without permission

1869/70- the senate could delay legislation, and the CL was able to initiate legislation. Ministers would be responsible to the assembly.

The Constitution of 1870:

  • Napoleon still had the right to appoint and dismiss ministers
  • It was expected that ministers would be outting forward ideas
  • The Emperor was able to rule over government with a Plebiscite.
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Economic and Social development in the Second Empi


  • They thought the key to creating wealth was through the availability of cheap credit.
  • With a supply of credit, entrepeneurs would be encouraged, increasing employment.

The Crédit Mobilier: (collapsed in the late 1860s)

  • A bank run by the Pérerie brothers, founded in 1852.
  • It welcomed the savings of thousands of ordinary people.
  • Caused resentment from other banks, it was seen as a gambling house.

Railway Building:

The government guaranteed a minimum rate of interest to be paid on railwa shares. By 1870, 17700 km of railway had been laid, making it stronger,

Agriculture/Industry: Landowners saw little need to invest in land, it was thought that money should be used to increase size and not quality of land. NIII was not interested in industry but it did benefit from new technology.

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Economic and Social development continued

The rebuilding of Paris


  • Secutity getting rid of barricade areas
  • Self-Glorificaton
  • Short term employment
  • Hygeine- "improving" standard of living

A symbol of the second empire

It created a great facade in which Napoleon showed off Paris of a great city. It symbolized law and order as eveything was the same height. Behind the great buildings were slums, showing that the empire appeared magnificent but it was only an illusion.

Free trade:

  • This was when trade is free as there are no import duties on good. Every country would produce the product that best suited it, esuring goods were redily available.
  • 1860-65 9 free trade treaties were made.





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Napoleon III's foreign policy

Aims and Motives:


  • This was a symbol of France's defeat, NIII was tempted to support any move that was against it.
  • He also wanted weaken the united front of the three Eastern powers- he thought they would prevent growth.


  • This was a part of the Bonapartist tradition
  • It might mean that France would gain a client state

3) RESTORE FRENCH PRIDE AND PRESTIGE (achieving glory and avoiding war)


  • The catholic church was gaining much more influence amongst peasants and the élite
  • However Napoleon still needed the support of the liberals.
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The Crimean war 1854-6


  • Napoleon believed that by forcing Turkey to except France as protector of Catholics within the Turkish empire, he was increasing French prestige.
  • Both France and Russia publically stated their detemination to be the major influence.
  • The Sultan was able to provoke Russia into military action, manipulating Napoleon.
  • Napoleon would be able to destroy the vienna settlemen, satisfy liberals and catholics and increase relations with Britain.

The war:

  • The allies were very mismanaged- the seige of Sevastapol took longer than expected.
  • Once Sevastapol had fallen, the new Tsar of Russia (Alexander II) was convinced that peace should be made.


  • The Peace of Paris (1856) esablished France as leading power.
  • However no territory was gained and it was very unpopular as many died.
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The intervention in Italy 1859-60

The Orsini Plot 1859-60:

  • In January 1858, Felice Orsini, an Italian nationalist, threw a bomb at Napoleon and the empress, they were unhurt. Orsini thought that his death would lead to a French repubic which would help the Italian cause.
  • Napoleon met the Prime minister of Piedmont, Cavout at plombiéres and they decided to provoke a war againgst Austria.

The war against Austria:

  • In April 1859, France had no choice but to help Piedmont.
  • There were victories at Magenta and soleferino.
  • As the allies were about to enter Venetia, NIII signed an armistice at Villafranca because it was feared that the Prissians would help the Austrians and it was very unpopular.
  • The Austrians were to give up Lombardy and an Italian confederation was to be set up under the Pope.
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Loss of control in Italy

  • Garibaldi started a revolution in Scicily, which was beginning to spread.
  • He was anti-Napoleon as he would threaten the pope. He was supported by Britain.
  • When Garibaldi was attempting to cross to the mainland, Napoleon wanted to stop him but Britain sent in gunboats to allow Garibaldi to cross.

Napoleon III was humiliated. Italy was soon unified under Victor-Emmanuel. It was very damaging to Napoleon because it angered liberals as he tried to stop a liberal movement and Napoleon originally wanted to create an italian confederation under the pope. It angered catholics because the Pope lost power due to Napoleon starting off the unification movement.

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The Mexican adventure 1861-67

French Involvement:

  • Involvement in Mexico would be an extension of French prestige.
  • It would create a client state in the Americas.
  • It would gain support amongst liberals as Benito Juarez was anti-Catholic.

The adventure:

  • In Oct 1861, Britain, Spain and France decided to intervene in Mexico because of suspended trade debts. Once they persuaded Juarez to pay the ebts, they withdrew.
  • Napoloen stayed because he thought that he could put Maximillian on the throne.
  • Juarez and his supporters resulted in Guerilla warfare that was almost impossible to fight. They were able to pik off small units of French troops.
  • In 1864 Maximillian was installed as Emporer, for three years a struggle ws maintaines until Napoleon withdrew his troops.
  • In June Juarez captures Maximillian and he was executed by firing squad.
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Relations with Russia and the Austro-Prussian war

Relations with Russia:

  • in 1863, a major uprising took place in Russian Poland.
  • NIII was urge on to strognly protest to the Russians about the severity of the uprising. He said he would not stand by whilst the Poles were being supressed.
  • The Russians now regarded the peace settlement with France of 1856 to be at an end.
  • Bismark was now sure that there would be little protest from an action taken against France.

The Austro Prussian war 1866:

  • Bismark challenged Austria and defeated her, controlling northern Germany.
  • French inactivity was assured by the promises of a territorial gain on the left bank of the Rhine and the aquisition of Luxembourg.
  • These promises were abandoned by Prussia when peace was made.
  • Napoleon was cheated and humiliated.
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The Franco-Prussian war

In 1868, the Spanish throne became vacant. Napoleon supported the idea of a united Spain and Portugal under the king of Portugal. Bismark pressed the claim of Leopol of Hohenzollern (a member of the Prussian royal family). In June 1870 Leopold was offered the throne.

French reactions:

  • Public opinion was that of outrage.
  • The king of Prussia saw that Bismark had gone too far. He withdrew Leopold's acceptance. The empress supported the idea that the canditature of Leopold would never be put forward again.
  • This request was refused on the basis that is was an insult.

The Ems telegram:

  • A telegram was sent from Bismark ammending the King of Prussia's refusal. 
  • It looked as if once again, the Prussians were insulting the French again.
  • The demand for war was now revived with people crying "Á Berlin" in the streets of Paris.
  • War was declared on the 19th of July 1870/
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Franco-Prussian war continued

THe war:

  • The French army mobilized much more slowly that the Prussian arm, so they found themselves on the defensive. Defeat was followed by defeat.
  • Only 6 weeks into the was, Napoleon was captured near Sedan.
  • The war went on but NIII ws now a prisone and the empress and her son fled to England.
  • On the 3rd of March, the national assembly accepted peace. Napoleon was released and went into exile in England
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