A Level History : France 1815 - 1875

France, 1815-1875: The Big Questions

France, 1815-1875: The Big Questions

The Big Questions

After the fall of the Napoleonic Empire France went through no fewer than 5 different political systems in the space of sixty years. The key to understanding this period of change entails focusing on:

Napoleon - AS Level History* The reasons behind the succession of revolutions and change of regime that took place in France during the nineteenth century.

* The competing ideas of constitutional monarchism, republicanism, Bonapartism and socialism.

* The reasons for the collapse of the Restoration Monarchy.

* The failings of the July Monarchy and the reasons for its overthrow in 1848.

* The enduring popularity of the Bonapartist ideal, the reasons why Napoleon III was able to climb to power.

* The fortunes of Napoleon II’s Second Empire, its collapse and its replacement with the Third Republic.

Important Background Knowledge

It is vital that you have some awareness of the main developments of the French Revolution and the spectacular rise and fall of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. To that end, you should know about:

Revolutionary France - AS Level History* The principal ideals of the French Revolution and their enduring legacy in political thought.

* The years of instability and the Terror, and the fact that many figures associated the French Revolution with anarchy and violence.

* The sweeping reforms brought in by Napoleon during his rule.

* The existence of an alternative form of government to either absolute monarchy or Republic, in the form of a British-style constitutional monarchy.

* The strength of anti-monarchist and anti-Church sentiment that developed throughout the Revolution.

It is also worth your while to have a knowledge of the political movements that developed within Europe during the nineteenth century, especially the proliferation of left-wing movements ranging from Marxist socialists to utopians and other radicals.

The Restoration Monarchy

The emphasis on the examination of the Restoration Monarchy is its failure to win popular support and the growth of a broad base of opposition to it. To understand these themes, you need to have a good grasp of:

Charles X - AS Level History* The initial collapse of the Restoration Monarchy during Napoleon’s One Hundred Days, followed by the Second Restoration.

* The circumstances under which the Monarchy was restored permanently, and in particular the role played by the alliance of powers that defeated Napoleon in bringing it about.

* The political system of the Restoration Monarchy, especially in relation to the respective powers of King and parliament.

* The extent to which the Restoration Monarchy conflicted with the key principles of the French Revolution.

* The role of the Church in the Restoration Monarchy (and the legacy of the 1801 Concordat signed between Napoleon and the Papacy in contributing to this) and popular responses to this.

* Charles X’s stance on the Restoration Monarchy system and the reforms he attempted to bring in to reinforce the power of the Church and the nobility.

* The extent of the unpopularity of Charles X.

* The emergence of the Duke of Orlans as an alternative constitutional monarch.

* The emergence of opposition to Charles X and support for a constitutional monarchy.

* The role of economic issues in creating opposition to the Restoration Monarchy.

* Popular opposition to Charles X and its role in the July revolution.

The July Monarchy

You will need to discuss:

Philippe de Bourbon - AS Level History* The principles behind the new constitutional monarchy and the main groups that supported it.

* The extent to which the new system fulfilled (or did not fulfil) the aspirations of the sans culottes classes and popular opposition to the Restoration Monarchy, especially with regards to the electoral system.

* The stance of monarchists and the Church on the July monarchy.

* The development of Republican and radical groups during the July Monarchy.

* The significance of popular revolts such as the 1831 Canut Revolt and the April 1834 insurrections and the government’s repressive responses to them.

* The introduction of repressive legislation such as the September 1835 laws.

* The position of the Church in the July Monarchy.

* The use of the Orient Affairs to dismiss theirs.

* The objectives of the Guizot government and the shift towards the right that his government represented.

* The development of the main anti-July Monarchy groups during Guizot’s rule.