Tuesday, November 20, 2012

19th Century

French cheese and bread

This period begins with the French Revolution of 1789 and ends with the outbreak of World War I. Events in-between include the First French Empire, the Restoration, the July Monarchy, the Second Republic, the Second Empire and partly the Third Republic. During the times ofNapoleon Bonaparte and his empire, France’s territories had increased greatly. These lands were lost, however, after the Vienna Congress. In 1848, Algeria became a departement of France. By 1914, regional dialects had been almost almost wiped out, the role of the Church in public life had changed radically, and a sense of national identity was beginning to appear.
The French Republic was proclaimed after the Revolution, in 1792. In 1793, King Louis was condemned to death and executed. His wifeMarie Antoinette was executed later that year. Under the new constitution, Bicameral legislature was established and soon Napoleon Bonaparte installed the Consulate in a coup d’etat of 1799. Three years later, Napoleon became the First Consul and dictator for life. The Senate proclaimed him Emperor in 1804 and this is how the First French Empire came to be.
It existed from 1804 to 1814. During this period, France was a real power and reorganised territorial boundaries in continental Europe. The only country in Europe that didn’t bow down before the French dictator was Great Britain. Napoleon attempted to defeat the British Navy during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, but he failed. He resorted to economic warfare strategies, establishing an embargo on trade with Britain soon thereafter. The effect of this embargo turned out to be much worse for Napoleon’s allies than for Britain. Russia suffered particularly. France resumed trade with Britain in 1812, which resulted in Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. This campaign was disastrous for the French. Ultimately it led to Napoleon’s abdication in 1814. He was exiled and sent to the island of Elba. In 1815, he briefly returned to power, but after the lost the Battle of Waterloo, he was exiled permanently to St Helena island, where he died.
Afterwards, the Bourbon Dynasty returned to power. This period is known as the French Restoration. The monarchs came to rule over a greatly changed France. Charles X instigated very conservative policies, which caused civil unrest, culminating in the July Revolution in 1830. As a result, the ruler fled and was replaced by Louis-Philippe d’Orleans. His reign was known as the July Monarchy. At this time, thebourgeoisie was dominant, and France enjoyed a flourishing economy. It also experienced social turmoil, however. The monarchy fell with the Revolution of 1848, and the Second Republic was proclaimed that year. Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon I, was elected president in 1848. Three years later he staged a coup, and in 1852 was declared Emperor Napoleon III.
The Second Empire lasted until 1870. It was an epoch of great urbanisation, industrialisation and economic growth. However, Napoleon III’s foreign policymaking left a lot to be desired. Conflicts with Prussia provoked the French-Prussian War of 1870. Eventually, France capitulated and the Emperor was captured. The Third French Republic(1870 – 1940) lasted longer than all other French governments since the Revolution. The Paris Commune was suppressed violently during the tenure of the Royalists. Hundreds of rebels were killed during the so-called Bloody Week in the Pere Lachaise cemetery. Later on, the Opportunists succeeded the Royalists in 1879. The Radicals in turn succeeded them in 1899. During their tenure, France acquired overseas territories and implemented many domestic reforms, especially in the field of education. A modern nation-state was forged.

No comments:

Post a Comment