1814 March – Fall of Paris, Napoleon exiled to Elba April

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Framework of Events:


  • March – Fall of Paris, Napoleon exiled to Elba

  • April – Louis XVIII accepts the Charter

  • May-June – First Peace of Paris returns France to frontiers of 1792


  • March – Napoleon lands in southern France. Louis flees, as Napoleon begins his “100 days” as Emperor

  • June – Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo and exiled to St. Helena; Louis XVIII returns as King.

  • November – Second Peace of Paris


  • The White Terror of Revenge on Napoleonic supporters


  • Indemnity is paid off, army of occupation leaves and France is readmitted to the Concert of Europe


  • Murder of the duc de Berri


  • French intervention in Spain restores Ferdinand VII to his throne



  • Law provides compensation to former émigrés


  • The National Guard is disbanded


  • July 9 – French army under Bourmont captures Algiers

  • July 25 – Ordinances of St. Cloud (July Ordinances); Fighting in the streets of Paris; Charles X abdicates; Louis-Philippe becomes “King of the French”


  • The National Guard is reconstituted; Revolt of Lyons silk weavers


  • Further rioting in Lyons crushed by the army; revolt in Paris crushed by the army

  • Quadruple Alliance – France, Britain, Spain, and Portugal – in favour of liberal governments in the Iberian Peninsula


  • Louis Napoleon attempts a coup d’état


  • Louis Napoleon’s second attempt at a coup d’état

  • Thiers brings country to brink of war over second Mehetmet Ali Affair (1839-40), but is dismissed


  • Louis-Philippe forces through his own candidates for the Spanish marriages, despite Britain’s hostility


  • Reform banquets held throughout France


  • Revolution in Paris; Louis-Philippe abdicates


  • Before 1798: France was a leading power of Europe under a powerful, unrestricted monarchy. It had the largest population in the western world (2nd to Russia), a rapid rate of economic growth, stable and prosperous.

  • 1789: The Revolution transformed France, as well as the rest of Europe.

  • By 1814: The revolutionary ideas of Liberty and Equality1 had changed the French political and social system. King Louis XVI was executed and the nobility fled, was guillotined or lost their land. The Catholic Church was undermined. Its property was taken away, new law code were produced and new systems of government-such as Republicanism2- were tried out.

  • Between 1792-1814: was a period of war

  • 1804: Emperor Napoleon took over rule of France. He achieved glory, only to be followed by defeat.

Such changes in France (like the ones listed above) created uncertainty and instability in France. The French government could no longer ignore the bourgeoisie and peasantry, who both benefited from the revolutionary changes. The government had a problem in meeting the demands of the bourgeoisie and peasantry, while not angering the propertied interests3 on which the rulers relied on.

  • Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy did not suit everyone. Their reigns were troubled (by assassinations, riots etc). However, they did provide relative peace for 15 years:

  • Émigrés and the clergy, who were forced to flee during the Revolution, were natural supported of the return to a traditional style of government

  • The peasants were fairly supportive

  • The bourgeoisie, who had recently gained status, was willing to accept any form of government which upheld law and order

  • The Bourbon Monarchy was a constitutional monarchy. However throughout Louis XVIII and Charles X rule, it became clear that the King’s priority was to the ‘propertied’ classes.

  • In a 1830 revolution: The dynasty was changed. Louis-Philippe of the House of Orléans was brought to the throne in an attempt to create a ‘bourgeois’ monarchy.

  • The franchise4 was widened

  • The king’s powers were slightly restricted

  • Louis-Philippe tried to rule in a moderate way, but it was never enough. People were driven to the old methods of revolutionaries – secret plots and societies etc.

  • Louis-Philippe reign ended in revolution

7.1 What was France like in 1814- 1815?

Why was Louis XVIII made King?

  • The Republican government was deemed responsible for provoking the war (which started with Napoleon).

  • The question was not whether France should have a king, but who that king should be.

  • Louis XVIII, brother to the guillotined Louis XVI, was the only legitimate heir – but he was NOT popular:

  • Charles Talleyrand-Périgord took up Louis’ claim because he would divide France the least

  • Used the principle of legitimacy

  • March 22, 1814: The British freed the city of Paris and the citizens declared themselves in favour of a Bourbon restoration.

  • Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia returned France to its pre-revolutionary state

What were the conditions of Louis XVIII’s return in 1814?

  • Louis XVIII was asked to sign a charter, which was drawn up by a committee consisting of his own advisiors, Talleyrand-Périgord and others. This charter contained 74 articles and was designed to ensure that the new King would obey some of the fundamental changes of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period:

  1. Equality before law

  2. Fair taxation

  3. Careers open to all

  4. Freedom of the individual

  5. Religious toleration, Catholicism was the State Religion

  6. Freedom of the press ‘as long as they conform to the laws which must check the abuse of this liberty’

  7. Protection for property owners

  8. A pardon to former revolutionaries

  9. The abolition of conscription

  • The charter enforced Louis XVIII’s position as a constitutional monarchy

  • France would have a parliamentary system (based on the British)

  • There would be 2 Houses or Chambers

Chamber of Deputies: elected

(lower house)

Chamber of Peers: nominated by the King

(upper house)


The King could choose his own ministers, introduce legislation into Chambers, veto any amendments the deputies might make into bills, dissolve Parliaments, control all military and civil appointments.

Franchise: Had to be property owners who were over the age of 30, and who paid over 300 francs a year in direct taxation

Two-Tier System of Voting: Voters choose representative for electoral colleges. The Colleges would then vote for the deputies (These were to be over 40 years of ages and pay over 1 000 francs in direct taxation)

What was the effect of the Charter?

  • The charter made Louis XVIII more popular.

  • It prevented the return of an absolute monarchy and guaranteed the basic liberties and property rights.

  • The charter was undemocratic.

  • Only 88 000 citizens had the right to vote (out of 29 million). And from that number, only 15 000 could be deputies.

  • Louis had to make sure that the charter did not undermine his royal status. He insisted that the charter come with an introduction that said that the freedoms granted by the Charter were a gift from him, and not a basic right.

  • Louis XVIII believed in divine right

  • He accepted no responsibility to Parliament

  • Louis had to rely on others to put him on the throne.

What were the consequences of Napoleon’s ‘100 Days’? March-June 1815

Review: March 1814, Napoleon I departed into exile on Elba. Everyone though that they saw the last of their former emperor. However, Napoleon I escaped in April and accepted lenient peace terms on behalf of the French.

  • Louis XVIII tried to rule with the Charter in mind, and avoided taking revenge on those he replaced.

  • Louis XVIII’s years in exile put him and his fellow royalists behind the changed ways of France. He made mistakes:

  • Replaced the Tricolor (The French national flag-a revolutionary symbol) with a white flag with the Bourbon family emblem on it. This seemed provocative.

Review: When Napoleon returned from exile, there were many who were prepared to accept him back. As he advanced northward, Louis XVIII fled to Ghent (Belgium) and put himself under the protection of Britain and Austria.

  • Marshal Ney promised Louis XVIII that we would bring the Emperor back in a cage. However, after an emotional reconciliation in Lyons, he rejoined his old master (Napoleon)

  • Before the end of April, Napoleon was carried up the steps of the Tuileries Palace by a vast cheering crowd.

Review: Napoleon`s `100 days` ended with a defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815. The Duke of Wellington (British) defeated Napoleon along with the Prussian army, commanded by Gebhrad Blűcher. Napoleon returned to exile on St Helena.

Napoleon’s final bid for power was a severe blow to the success of Louis XVIII’s reign. The King had fled, his reign was ruined, and he was considered an enemy of France.

Review: A Second Peace of Paris was drawn up in November to punish France for further disturbance of the peace. This made France return to its 1789 borders, imposed a 700 million francs indemnity and put an army of occupation in France.

What was the economic and social conditions of France in 1815?

  • 1815: France had a population of 29 million (75% of which lived in the countryside).

  • There was lots of productive land, and agriculture and small-scale domestic industry was thriving (there was little large-scale industries).

  • France’s strong economic growth halted and war widened the gap, removing France’s colonial markets and encouraging the production of industry.

  • Poor transportation links

  • Coalmining was growing, but France still had to import (same with iron and textiles)

  • Towns remained small (only 7 had a population greater than 50 000)

  • Paris was large:

  • There was a recognisable working class, who relied on wages for their livelihood

  • A ‘bourgeois’ middle class of industrialist was developing

  • France was slowly changing; industry had made little impact on society outside Paris.

  • The social elite (rich landowners, bankers, merchants and lawyers) received political influence in the new constitutional regime of Louis XVIII. They were known as Pays Légal6

What was the attitude to the Church in France 1815?

  • Before the revolution, the Catholic Church had great influence and wealth.

  • Anti-clericalism7 increased after 1789.

  • Napoleon confiscated church lands, disbanded monasteries and made priest became officials of the state.

This was because the Church was associated with the horrors of the pre-Revolutionary era. Those who benefited from the revolution (ex: Pays Légal), feared the restoration of the church

1815: many claimed to be Catholic, but the more educated practiced no religion.

7.2 How successful was Louis XVIII as King of France 1815-1824?

What were Louis XVIII’s successes?

  • Louis XVIII pursued fairly moderate politics and was helped by reasonable and reliable ministers (who we wisely chose). He worked with the Parliament, tired to resist the demands of his extreme supporters, and was supported by the Pays Légal.

  • 1815: the French industry prospered (and France’s economic recovery began)

  • 1818: Foreign troops left franc because Louis XVIII accepted tighter controls on governmental spending and paid off the indemnity.

  • Louis had France re-admitted to the Concert of Europe8 and France won back some of its former prestige. Also, the French army was reformed.

  • France originally viewed Spain was ‘within its influence’. Therefore, when King Ferdinand VII requested help, France was eager to contribute soldiers. France, with the excuse that the danger might threaten them, refused to cooperate with other European powers at the Congress of Verona in May 1822.

  • 100 000 men marched under duc d’Angoulême

  • They were successful, and Louis XVIII bragged that he was able to achieve was Napoleon failed to do: establish control in Spain

  • This showed France’s growing confidence and recovery

Who were the Ultras and what problems did they pose for Louis XVIII?

Louis’ reign was unsettling because of the Ultras (former émigrés). They:

  • Used their power to gain positions in the Chamber of Deputies.

  • In 1815: they came to dominate the newly elected chamber

  • Were led by Comte d’Artois, the King’s younger brother

  • Wanted to get rid of the Charter and Parliament

  • Wanted to return the land to the aristocrats and the Church

  • Constantly tried to push Louis XVIII farther than he was willing to go

  • For example: they encourage the ‘White Terror’ because it punished supporters of Napoleon. Louis XVIII saw how the Ultra’s were taking revenge, but he couldn’t do anything about it since they had great strength in the Chamber. The executions created a public outcry and provided the Bourbon’s enemies with a future martyr9.

  • They also pressured Louis XVIII to replace Napoleonic officials with their own nominees.

  • They insisted on censorship, even though Louis XVIII promised ‘freedom of the press’ in the Charter

  • Wanted their estates returned, which brought horror to those who bought them

How did Louis XVIII deal with the threat of the Ultras?

  • Louis was upset with his ‘Ultra’ Chamber and felt that Talleyrand and Joseph Fouché were responsible by not controlling the elections. So, they were both dismissed. Duc de Richelieu was made President of the Council of Ministers.

  • Richelieu change the electoral system in order to create a chamber that would be more satisfactory for Louis XVIII

  • Annual elections would be held and 1/5 of the Chamber would be replaced

  • Hopefully, this would increase the number of independents who could be influenced by ministerial pressure and reduce the number of Ultras.

  • Dec 1818: Elie duc de Decazes (who had more reformist views) was able to take control. He pursued a moderately liberal policy.

  • 1819-1820: he tried to do away with press censorship

What was the effect of the duc de Berri’s murder is 1820?

  • Louis’ nephew and the male heir to the throne, the duc de Berri, was murdered. The Ultras took advantage of the opportunity and forced a shift in government policy was able to dismiss the moderate Decazes.

  • Richelieu returned to office and carried out the Ultras’ demands for electoral change in favour of the wealthy.

  • Chamber seats were increased to 430 seats (the additional seats were elected by the highest taxpayers)

  • More censorship was introduced

  • Clergy influenced education

  • Plans were composed to compensate those who lost land during the Revolution

  • Louis XVIII lacked the strength to resist Comte d’Artois and the Ultras, and people questioned their support for the Bourbon monarchy

  • Step 1820: duc de Berri’s wife gave birth to a son, an heir was born. This scared those who now questioned the direction that the government was heading in.

  • Richelieu resigned (1822)

  • The Pro-Ultra Chamber was lead by Comte de Villèle. Who remained Chief Minister from 1822-1827.

  • He carried through financial reforms which helped him to balance budgets

  • His support for the Ultras made him unpopular. There was an outcry when he forced Louis XVIII to dismiss the Vicomte de Chateaubriand.

  • When Louis XVIII died in 1824, he left an established Pro-Ultra parliament and a good deal of underlying discontent in the country.

How widespread was opposition to the Monarchy by 1824?

  • While there was tension between the Ultras and moderates, they both agreed on a monarchy. However, some extremist would like to see the monarchy disappear all together. Some of these were members of secret societies, based on the Italitan Carbonari10.

  • They favoured a republican government with a wide franchise.

  • The French Carbonarist movement developed under the guidance of exiles fleeing persecution in Italy, who made contact with students. At its height, it had 40 000 members and attracted dissatisfied upper class followers (ex: marquis de Lafayette). Numbers fell after government spys uncovered them.

  • By 1824: ‘radical’ opposition became less organised, but did not disappear. With the collapse of the Carbonarist movement, students began to follow the writing of socialists, such as Claude de Saint-Simon. Socialism11 encouraged supported to challenge traditional style government and favour a working class.

Opposition to the Constitutional Monarchy (established in 1814-15) was still limited in 1824. But Socialism was spreading (from left-wing intellectuals to the working men).

7.3 Why did the reign of Charles X (1824-1830) end in revolution?

What sort of King was Charles X (formally known as Comte d’Artois)?

  • Ultra-royalist leader since 1814

  • In 1824: he was an energetic 67 years old with firm convictions.

  • ‘I had rather crop wood than reign after the fashion of the King of England,’ he declared. He wanted to play an active role in government

  • He was confident that he would be able to carry out his policies because of his chief minister, Villèle, and his Ultra in attitude Chamber.

  • Members of the Pays Légal viewed him suspiciously.

  • His stubbornness and determination not to show weakness made him appeared aloof and disinterested in the affairs of the citizens of France

  • Deeply religious

  • Wanted a pomous coronation at Rheims

  • His revival of old customs frightened the anti-clerical Pays Légal

How did Charles X’s policies increase opposition to the Bourbon Monarchy?

  • Charles X enforced his own political opinion with his policies:

  • 1st- He abolished annual elections (which were just introduced in 1818)

  • 2nd- He increased the term deputies were elected for from 5 to 7 years (this would maintain Ultras control)

  • 1825: Charles passed a law which confirmed the present ownership of land (which made landowners more secure), while providing an annual grant of money as compensation to the former holders.

  • Its goal was to provide financial security for ex-émigrés (a reward for their loyalty)

  • Opposition was centered on the way compensation was paid: interest payable on national debt was reduced. Which meant that the value government bonds fell (this effected the Pays Légals)

  • The funds that the émigrés received did not satisfy them

  • Charles X association with the Catholic Church also caused resentment (he promoted Catholicism).

  • For example: Religious orders were encouragd to return. The influence of the Jesuit order13 was resented. People were concerned with the rumour that Charles X and the Jesuits planned to undermine the provisions of the Charter.

  • He also continued to expend the control of the Church over education. In 1821, bishops were responsible for secondary education. In 1824, bishops could nominate primary school teachers. By 1827, 66 out of 80 philosophy teachers in colleges were priests.

  • Charles X tired to stop the press, and even went against the Charter.

This was important because the Pays Légals read the paper.

  • Therefore, Charles attempted to buy up opposition news. When that didn’t work, he increased the price of postage rates and the stamp duty on paper, in order to try to ‘price newspapers out.’

  • Threatened printers.

  • By 1827: censorship was applied to all books and journals.

  • Charles X got rid of the army of 56 Bonapartist officers.

  • In 1830: he planned an expedition against a group of superb seamen, called the Barbary pirates, and captured their base. However, by this time, the hostility towards Charles X policies overshadowed any pride that the people of France may have towards this mission.
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