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July Revolution

The July Revolution of July 1830, in the context of the history of France ushered in the July Monarchy[?] of King Louis-Philippe by overthrowing the reactionary monarchical regime of Charles X.

Charles X, who ascended to the French throne on 16 September 1824, soon exhausted his popularity. While the opposition became conservative as regards the Constitutional Charter of 1814[?] and French liberties, the king and the clerical party surrounding him challenged the spirit of modern France by a law against sacrilege[?], by a bill for re-establishing the right of primogeniture, by an indemnity of a milliard francs, which looked like compensation given to the émigrés[?], and finally by the loi de liberté et d'amour against the press. The challenge was so definite that in 1826 the Chamber of Peers[?] and the Academy had to give the Villèle[?] ministry a lesson in Liberalism, for having lent itself to this ancien régime reaction by its weakness and its party-promises. The elections de colère et de vengeance of January 1827 gave the Left a majority, and the resultant short-lived Martignac ministry tried to revive the Right Centre which had supported Richelieu and Élie Decazes[?] (January 1828).

Martignac's accession to power, however, had only meant personal concessions from Charles X, not any concession of principle: he supported his ministry but was no real stand-by. The Liberals, on the other hand, made bargains for supporting the moderate royalists, and Charles X profited by this to form a fighting ministry in conjunction with the prince de Polignac[?], one of the émigrés, an ignorant and visionary person, and the comte de Bourmont[?], the traitor of Waterloo. Despite all kinds of warnings, de Polignac tried by a coup d'état to put into practice his theories of the supremacy of the royal prerogative: and the Battle of Navarino, the French occupation of the Morea[?], and the Algerian expedition could not make the nation forget this conflict at home. The united opposition of monarchist Liberals and imperialist republicans responded by legal resistance, then by a popular coup d'état, to the July Ordinances[?] of July 1830, which dissolved the intractable Chamber, eliminated licensed dealers from the electoral list, and muzzled the press. After fighting for three days against the troops feebly led by the Marniont of 1814, the workmen, driven to the barricades[?] by the deliberate closing of Liberal workshops, gained the victory, and sent the white flag of the Bourbons on the road to exile.

The rapid success of the "Three Glorious Days" (les Trois Glorieuses), as the July Days were called, put the leaders of the parliamentary opposition into an embarrassing position. While they had contented themselves with words, the small Republican-Imperialist party, aided by the almost entire absence of the army and police, and by the convenience which the narrow, winding, paved streets of those times offered for fighting, had determined upon the revolution and brought it to pass.

But the Republican party, which desired to re-establish the Republic of 1793, recruited chiefly from among the students and workmen, and led by Godefroy Cavaignac[?], the son of a Conventionalist, and by the chemist Raspail, had no hold on the departments nor on the dominating opinion in Paris. Consequently this premature attempt was promptly seized upon by the Liberal bourgeoisie and turned to the advantage of the Orleanist party, which had been secretly organised since 1829 under the leadership of Adolphe Thiers, with the National as its organ. Before the struggle was yet over, Benjamin Constant, Casimir Périer[?], Lafitte, and Odilon Barrot had gone to fetch the duke of Orleans from Neuilly, and on receiving his promise to defend the Charter and the tricolour flag, installed him at the Palais Bourbon as lieutenant-general of the realm, while La Fayette and the Republicans established themselves at the Hotel de Ville.

An armed conflict between the two governments was imminent, when La Fayette, by switching his support to Louis-Philippe, decided matters in his favour. In order to avoid a recurrence of the difficulties which had arisen with the Bourbons, the following preliminary conditions were imposed upon the king: the recognition of the supremacy of the people by the title of "king of the French by the grace of God and the will of the people", the responsibility of ministers, the suppression of hereditary succession to the Chamber of Peers, now reduced to the rank of a council of officials, the suppression of article 14 of the Charter which had enabled Charles X to supersede the laws by means of the ordinances, and the liberty of the press. The qualification for electors was lowered from 300 to 200 francs, and that for eligibility to 500 francs, and the age to 25 and 30 instead of 30 and 40; finally, Catholicism lost its privileged position as the state religion[?].

The bourgeois National Guard was made the guardian of the charter. The liberal ideas of the son of Philippe Egalité[?], the part he had played at Valmy and Jemappes, his gracious manner and his domestic virtues, all united in winning Louis Philippe the good opinion of the public. So began the July Monarchy[?].

Original text from 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica



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