2586 Essays France 1814-48 To what extent was the reign of Louis XVIII a failure?
To what extent was the reign of Louis XVIII a failure?
Need to establish what Louis’s
If he was successful in achieving most of this aims then analysis is that he was successful
If he failed in most areas then …
Remember to include a conclusion
Issues to be considered
Problems facing Louis
100 Days & 2nd Treaty of Paris
Pressure from Ultras
of Duc de Berri
Increasing polarisation of politics
Regime well established by 1818
Ultra threat seen off (till 1820s)
Failed to address land issue
Regime becoming increasingly royalist
Reign can be divided into 2; 1814-1820 & 1820-1824
1814-20 Louis inherited strong economy though many
of subjects unsure about him
Despite own history & political ideology was prepared to follow path of conciliation-
“All the efforts of my government are directed into the effort to forge the two peoples who exist only too much in fact into a single one.” (
Louis XVIII 1817)
First Argument (continued)
Made mistakes – Flag, title, issue of Charter based on royal prerogative
Charter was a good start!
Fled from Napoleon’s return & 2nd restoration not well received!
& White Terror threatened his policy
Franchise altered & more moderate assembly elected
First Argument (continued)
French able to pay indemnity
Army of occupation withdrawn
France joined Quadruple Alliance (the international community of Great Powers)
National finances put on sound footing for the first time for many years
First 5 years relatively successful – all change in 1820!
1820 growing threat from Bonapartists/Liberals
1820 year of revolutions across Europe
Murder of de Berri
Growing Ultra influence –
appointment of de Villele
Involvement in Spain 1822
Charbonniers : evidence of political polarisation
By 1824 more authoritarian government in place
Successful for first half of reign
Established stable regime after shaky start
French finances put on sound footing which encouraged confidence in the regime
After 1820 lost grip and allowed more authoritarian
forces to take control
“…slide from moderate policies and towards extreme Royalism had already begun before Charles X officially became king.” (Randell)
To what extent was the economic recession of 1846-8 the
reason for the fall the July Monarchy?
Poor harvests and
potato blight led to
food shortages in
countryside and rising
Parisian poor hit by
rising prices &
No action by
the government- big
mob developing in
Economic recession the
Spark for revolution was the cancellation of Reform Banquet in Feb 1848
Part of pressure campaign set up to bring about extension of franchise
– LP’s refusal to allow any political changes
LP wanted to rule and was prepared to use corrupt means
Turned down chance to get control of Belgium in 1830 – did not go down well!
Attempt to gain powerful ally in Near East (Mehemet Ali) failed – France isolated
Spanish Marriages issue only lost him the support of GB
Cautious foreign policy paled next to former glories
BUT how big a deal?
L-P disliked by Legitimists – one failed rising in support of young de Berri
Louis Napoleon Bonaparte staged 2 failed attempts to seize power
Clearly the ‘Legend’ not effective
Republicans most serious challenge – number of assassination attempts
How much support did L-P have?
‘Bourgeois’ monarchy had
very narrow basis of support
Lack of social reform and heavy handed attitude towards unrest increased support for republicanism & socialism
Middle classes began to support Reform campaign
National Guard unwilling to fight in 1848
To great extent July Monarchy just collapsed! – no one was prepared to fight
Social problems were
– L-P did nothing to address them
to allow political reform
Cautious foreign policy perhaps an irritant
Recession 1846-8 was a trigger to the revolution NOT root cause
‘Neither popular nor successful’. How fair is this judgment on L-P’s foreign policy?
French foreign policy limited by the restraints of Vienna Settlement – French expansion checked by ‘buffer states’
French had long tradition of being dominant military and political power in Europe
Much glory under Napoleon!
Joined to Holland in 1815
Belgians treated as 2nd class citizens
Overthrew Dutch rule in 1830
Crown offered to French prince
chose to work with GB
Helped Belgians to repel Dutch in 1831
German prince became King
Belgium long been considered by French as their sphere of influence
Unhappy at L-P’s actions
Given circumstances was the
course of action!
Adventures in the Middle East
Conflict between MA & his master the Sultan of Turkey
opted to support MA
Other GPs supported Sultan
MA defeated – French lost valuable ally
Considerable French investment in Egypt so naturally public opinion supported MA
Thiers planned foreign policy to take advantage of this
He threatened war against GPs but bluff called
The Spanish Marriages
Guizot worked hard to create good relations with GB
Deal made in 1846 over marriage of Queen Isabella of Spain
Guizot scored brief victory through marriage of younger sister
Victory hollow as Isabella had a son!
Guizot continued colonisation programme
By 1847 50K
French citizens in Algeria
Venture was expensive in lives & money
King showed little interest
Many French only interested in European adventures
How far were the Ultras the greatest threat to the Bourbon Restoration?
Ultras led by Comte d’Artois – very organised!
Won elections in 1815 – able to initiate White Terror after 100 Days
After 1820 Ultras re-established influence over King
Intervention in Spain clear evidence of this
Poor government under Louis?
Legacy of the treaties?
Lack of popular support?
Threat from Bonaparte & followers?
Louis’s unwillingness to compromise
The French historian Maurois
wrote of the Ultras that
‘They dug deeper instead of filling the bloody trenches of revolution’
Comparison of LP’s foreign & domestic policies in leading to his downfall
From the beginning Louis Philippe regarded 1830 as a signal to conserve and not change the status quo
Very limited changes made to the Charter
He aimed to rule, not to be a figure head
weak chief ministers
Regime rested on narrow basis – made no attempt to widen appeal
Pressure growing because of social problems caused by industrialisation & urbanisation
Matters brought to head by recession of 1846-8
Rejection of calls for reform led to Reform Banquets
French brought up on diet of glory
Rejected chance to add Belgium to territory in 1830
Best policy in circumstances
but not popular with subjects
Diplomatic defeat over Mehemet Ali
Algeria successful but costly and won him little credit
Foreign policy was perhaps uninspired and disappointing
But this would add to lack of popularity rather than cause downfall
More important was resistance to change
Refusal to listen to calls for political reform was major cause
of decline in popularity
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