July Revolution


July Revolution

The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution, saw the overthrow of King Charles X, the French Bourbon monarch, and the ascension of his cousin Louis-Philippe, the duc d'Orléans, who himself, after eighteen precarious years on the throne, would in turn be overthrown. It marked the shift from one constitutional monarchy, the Bourbon Restoration, to another, the July Monarchy, and the transition of power from the House of Bourbon to its cadet branch, the House of Orléans, and the substitution of the principle of popular sovereignty for hereditary right. Supporters of the Bourbon would be called Legitimists, and supporters of Louis-Philippe Orleanists.

Background

On September 16, 1824, Charles X ascended to the throne of France. He was the younger brother of Louis XVIII, who, upon the defeat of Napoléon Bonaparte, and by agreement of the Allied powers, had been installed as King of France. The fact that both Louis and Charles ruled by hereditary right rather than popular consent was the first of two triggers for "Les Trois Glorieuses", the "Three Glorious Days" of the July Revolution.

Upon the abdication of Napoleon in 1814, continental Europe, and France in particular, was in a state of disarray. The Congress of Vienna met to redraw the continent's political map. Although there were many European countries attending the congress, there were four major powers that controlled the decision making: United Kingdom, represented by foreign secretary Viscount Castlereagh; Austria, represented by chief minister (and chairman of the congress) Klemens, Fürst von Metternich; Russia, represented by Emperor Alexander I; and Prussia, represented by King Frederick William III. Another very influential person at the Congress was Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, a French diplomat under Napoleon. Although France was considered an enemy state, Talleyrand was allowed to attend the Congress because he claimed that he had only cooperated with Napoleon under duress.

Talleyrand proposed that Europe be restored to its "legitimate" (i.e. pre-Napoleon) borders and governments; a plan that, with some changes, was accepted by members of the Congress. France returned to its 1789 borders and the House of Bourbon, deposed by the Revolution, was restored to the throne. In the eyes of the Congress, the political situation in France and Europe was now back to normal. However, the new king, Louis XVIII, knew that ideas of nationalism and democracy still lingered in his country; hence the establishment and signing of the "Charte constitutionnelle française", the French Constitution otherwise known as "La Charte". A document both liberal and monarchical, "La Charte" was the second trigger of the July Revolution.


= Charles X's reign =

On 16 September, 1824, after a lingering illness of several months, the sixty-nine year old Louis XVIII died childless. His younger brother, Charles, age sixty-six, therefore inherited the throne of France. On 27 September Charles X, as he was now known, made his state entry into Paris to popular acclaim. During the ceremony, while presenting the King the keys to the city, the comte de Chabrol, Prefect of the Seine, declared: "Proud to possess its new king, Paris can aspire to become the queen of cities by its magnificence, as its people aspire to be foremost in its fidelity, its devotion, and its love." [Mansel, Philip, "Paris Between Empires" (St. Martin Press, NY 2001) p.198]

Eight months later, the mood of the capital had taken a sharp, downward turn in its opinion of the new king. The causes of this dramatic shift in public opinion, while many, were principally twofold:

* The imposition of the death penalty for anyone profaning the Host of the Catholic Church (see Anti-Sacrilege Act).

* The provisions for financial indemnities for properties confiscated by the 1789 Revolution and the First Empire of Napoleon. These indemnities to be paid to any one, whether noble or non-noble, who had been declared "enemies of the Revolution".

Critics of the first accused the King and his new ministry of pandering to the Catholic Church, and by so doing violating guarantees of equality of religious belief as specified in "La Charte".

The second matter, that of financial indemnities, was far more opportunistic than the first. This was because since the restoration of the monarchy, there had been demands from all groups to settle matters of property ownership; to reduce, if not eliminate, the uncertainties in the real estate market [Ibid.# p.200] both in Paris and in France. But, despite what should have been a popular reaction to the proposal, liberal opponents, many of whom were frustrated Bonapartists, began a whispering campaign that Charles X was only proposing this in order to shame those who had not emigrated. Both measures, they claimed, were nothing more than clever subterfuge meant to bring about the destruction of "La Charte".

Up to this time, thanks to the popularity of the Chamber of Peers with the people of Paris, the King's relationship with the elite -- both of the right and left -- had remained solid. This, too, was about to change.

On 18 March the liberal majority in the Chamber of Deputies made the Address of the 221 against the king and Polignac's ministry. On 12 April, propelled by both genuine conviction and the spirit of independence, the Chamber of Deputies roundly rejected the government's proposal to change the inheritance laws. The popular leftist newspaper "Le Constitutionnel" pronounced this refusal "a victory over the forces of counter-revolutionaries and reactionism" [Ledré, Charles "La Presse à l'assaut de la monarchie". (1960). p.70.]

While the popularity of both the Chamber of Peers and the Chamber of Deputies skyrocketed, the popularity of the King and his ministry dropped. This became unmistakable when on 16 April 1827, while reviewing the "Garde Royale" in the Champ de Mars, the King was greeted with icy silence, many of the spectators refusing even to remove their hats. Charles X "later told [his cousin] Orléans that, 'although most people present were not too hostile, some looked at times with terrible expressions'." [Marie Amélie, 356; (17 April 1827); Antonetti, 527.]

Because of what it perceived to be growing, relentless, and increasingly vitriolic criticism of both the government and the Church, the government of Charles X introduced into the Chamber of Deputies a proposal for a law tightening censorship, especially in regard to the newspapers. The Chamber, for its part, objected so violently that the humiliated government had no choice but to withdraw its proposals.

Then, on the grounds that it had behaved in an offensive manner towards the crown, on 30 April the King abruptly dissolved the National Guard of Paris, a voluntary group of citizens and an ever reliable conduit between the monarchy and the people. Cooler heads were appalled. " [I] would rather have my head cut off," wrote a noble from the Rhineland upon hearing the news, "than have counseled such an act: the only further measure needed to cause a revolution is censorship." [Duc de Dolberg, Castellan, II, 176 (letter 30 April, 1827)]

That came in July 1830 when, on Sunday, 25 July Charles X signed the July Ordinances, also known as "The Ordinances of Saint-Cloud". On Monday, 26 July they were published in the leading conservative newspaper in Paris, "Le Moniteur". On Tuesday, 27 July the revolution commenced in earnest "Les trois journées de juillet", and the end of the Bourbon monarchy.

The Three Glorious Days

Monday, 26 July, 1830

It was a hot, dry summer, pushing those who could afford it to leave Paris for the country. Most businessmen couldn't, and so were among the first to learn of the Saint-Cloud "ordonnances" from the Monday edition of "Le Moniteur". They did not like what they read, perhaps most of all because they suddenly learned they were now no longer permitted to run as candidates for the House of Deputies, membership of which was the "sine qua non" of those who sought the ultimate in social prestige. In protest, members of the "Bourse" refused to lend money, and business owners shuttered their factories. Workers were unceremoniously turned out into the street to fend for themselves. Unemployment numbers, which had been growing through early summer, spiked upward. "Large numbers of... workers therefore had nothing to do but protest." [Mansel, Philip, "Paris Between Empires" (St. Martin Press, NY 2001) p. 238]

The few liberal politicians who still remained in Paris gathered in private to protest, exchange notes, point fingers, and avoid any real course of action. Liberal journalists, on the other hand, took action.

While conservative newspapers such as the "Journal des débats", "Le Moniteur", and "Le Constitutionnel" had already ceased publication in compliance with the new law, nearly fifty liberal and radical journalists from a dozen city newspapers met in the offices of the liberal "Le National". There they signed a collective protest, and vowed their newspapers would continue to run. [Mansel, 2001, p.238]

That evening, when police raided a news press and seized contraband newspapers, they were greeted by a sweltering, unemployed mob angrily shouting, "Á bas les Bourbons!" "Vive la Charte!!" Armand Carrel, a Republican journalist, wrote in the next day's edition of "Le National":

"France... falls back into revolution by the act of the government itself... the legal regime is now interrupted, that of force has begun... in the situation in which we are now placed obedience has ceased to be a duty... It is for France to judge how far its own resistance ought to extend." [Pinkey, 83–84; Rémusat, "Mémoires" II, 313–314; Lendré 107]

As if living in a dream world, the Paris "Préfet de Police" wrote on the evening, " ...the most perfect tranquility continues to reign in all parts of the capital. No event worthy of attention is recorded in the reports that have come through to me." [Pickney, David. "The French Revolution of 1830" (Princeton 1972), p. 93.]

Tuesday, 27 July 1830: Day One

The sun rose to a Paris awash in newspapers – radical newspapers. By noon, shopkeepers in the center of the city had closed their stores and bolted the shutters; the noise and traffic on the avenues, which in the early morning had seemed to hold the promise of a typical day, began to disappear. The city grew quiet as the milling crowds grew larger. At 4:30 p.m. commanders of the troops of the First Military division of Paris and the "Garde Royale" were ordered to concentrate their troops, and guns, on the Place du Carrousel facing the Tuileries, the Place Vendôme, and the Place de la Bastille. In order to maintain order and protect gunshops from looters, military patrols throughout the city were established, strengthened, and expanded. Amazingly, no special measures were taken to protect either the arm depots or gunpowder factories.

For a time, it seemed the precautions seemed premature, but at 7:00 p.m., with the coming of twilight, the fighting began. "Parisians, rather than soldiers, were the aggressor. Paving stones, roof tiles, and flowerpots from the upper windows... began to rain down on the soldiers in the streets" [ Mansel, Philip, "Paris Between Empires", (St. Martin Press, NY 2001) p.239.] At first, for a time, soldiers fired warning shots into the air. But that did not last long; before the night was over, twenty-one civilians were killed. Quick-thinking rioters, knowing nothing helps along an uprising more than a martyr, paraded the corpse of one of their fallen throughout the streets shouting "Mort aux Ministres!" "À bas les aristocrates!"

One witness wrote:

" [I saw] a crowd of agitated people pass by and disappear, then a troop of cavalry succeed them... In every direction and at intervals... Indistinct noises, gunshots, and then for a time all is silent again so for a time one could believe that everything in the city was normal. But all the shops are shut; the Pont Neuf is almost completely dark, the stupefaction visible on every face reminds us all too much of the crisis we face...." [Olivier, Juste, "Paris en 1830, Journal" (July 27, 1830) p.244.]

In the late 1820s, the city of Paris had established some 2,000 street lamps. These lanterns were hung on ropes looped-on-looped from one pole to another, the whole casting shadows like giant spiders' webs on streets and buildings. These lights were the reason the rioting lasted as late into the night as it did. But along with the sound of bullets and running feet, came the sound of smashing glass as street lamps fell in wanton or accidental destruction. By 10 p.m. nearly all of them were destroyed, and as the city slipped into darkness, the crowds began to melt away; by midnight the city was quiet.

Wednesday, 28 July 1830: Day Two

Though Paris had been quiet during the night, it had not been asleep.

"It is hardly a quarter past eight," wrote an eye witness, "and already shouts and gun shots can be heard. Business is at a complete standstill.... Crowds rushing through the streets... the sound of cannon and gunfire is becoming ever louder.... Cries of '"À bas le roi !', 'À la guillotine !!'" can be heard...." [Olivier, Juste, "Paris en 1830, Journal" (July 28, 1830) p.247.]

Looking back, it is clear now that the original plan of Maréchal Auguste Marmont, Major-General of the city's "Garde Royale", to have the "Garde Royale" singlehandedly guard the vital thoroughfares of the city, as well as protect important buildings such as the Palais Royal, Palais de Justice, and the Hôtel de Ville was both ill considered and wildly ambitious. Not only were there not enough troops but, worse, from bullets to bread to clean drinking water, there were nowhere near enough provisions for those troops... or rather for what troops remained. The "Garde" was composed of Parisians, a small but growing number of whom were deserting. Some merely slipping away, others leaving, not caring who saw them.

The seventy-three year old Charles X, prudently remaining at Saint-Cloud, was kept abreast of the events in Paris, and assured by his ministers that the troubles would end as soon as the rioters ran out of ammunition. After all, his ministers assured him, had not Marmont himself sent a report to His Majesty just the previous night assuring him all was under control?

In Paris, a committee of the liberal opposition, composed of banker-and-kingmaker Jacques Laffitte, Casimir Perier, Generals Etienne Gérard and Georges Mouton, comte de Lobau, among others, had drawn up and signed a petition in which, not surprisingly, they asked for the "ordonnances" to be withdrawn; more surprising was their criticism "not of the King, but his ministers" – thereby disproving Charles X's conviction that his liberal opponents were enemies of his dynasty." ["Ibid.#8 p.245."]

After signing the petition, committee members went directly to Marmont to beg for an end to the bloodshed, and to plead with him to become a mediator between Saint-Cloud and Paris. In the near-chaos of his headquarters, Marmont explained with tired patience that petitions and humble requests were all well and good, but that the first step lay with the people of Paris – they must lay down their arms and return to their homes. Then, and only then, could there be talk. Discouraged but not despairing, the party then sought out the King's chief minister, the haughty, eerily calm de Polignac — ""Jeanne d'Arc en culottes"" as he was whisperingly called at Saint-Cloud. From Polignac they received even less satisfaction. He refused to see them, perhaps because he knew it would be nothing but a waste of time. Like Marmont, Polignac knew that Charles X considered the "ordonnances" vital to the safety and dignity of the throne of France — "his" throne. In short, the King would never withdraw the "ordonnances". At 4 p.m., Charles X received Colonel Komierowski, one of Marmont's chief aides. The colonel was carrying a note from Marmont to his Majesty:

"Sire, it is no longer a riot, it is a revolution. It is urgent for Your Majesty to take measures for pacification. The honour of the crown can still be saved. Tomorrow, perhaps, there will be no more time... I await with impatience Your Majesty's orders." ["Ibid.#6 p.247."]
The King looked to his ""Jeanne d'Arc en culottes"" (Polignac) for advice, and the advice was simple: "resist". Meanwhile, in Paris, a group of serious men met and talked. The name of the duc d'Orléans was mentioned for the first time.

Thursday, 29 July, 1830: Day Three

"They [the King and ministers] do not come to Paris," wrote the poet, novelist and playwright Alfred de Vigny, "people are dying for them ... Not one prince has appeared. The poor men of the Guard abandoned without orders, without bread for two days, hunted everywhere and fighting." [de Vigny, Alfred, "Journal d'un poète", 33, (29 July 1830).]

Perhaps for the same reason, Royalists were nowhere to be found; perhaps another reason was because now the "révoltés" were well organized and well armed – very well armed. In what seemed like only a day and a night over four thousand barricades had been thrown up throughout the city; nearly every tree of any size in the city had been chopped down to erect or strengthen these barricades; entire streets had had their cobble stones torn out for the same reasons. The tricolor flag of the revolutionaries – the "people's flag" – could be seen flying over buildings, an increasing number of them important buildings. Nowhere was there the white and gold flag of the Bourbon.

Marmont was completely in over his head and was beginning to crack. He lacked either the initiative or the presence of mind to call for additional troops from Saint-Denis, Vincennes, Lunéville or Saint-Omer; neither did he ask for help from reservists or those Parisians still loyal to Charles X. Liberals swarmed to his headquarters demanding the arrest of Polignac and the other ministers; conservatives and city leaders demanding he arrest the rioters and their puppet masters. Marmont listened to them all with growing indifference, and did nothing. Instead he awaited for orders from the King, just as his King had commanded.

By 1:30 p.m., the Tuileries had fallen. It now seemed like an overturned ant-hill of radicals, rioters, and opportunists. What could not be pillaged was smashed to bits, or sent hurling through closed windows to the ground below. "A man wearing a ball dress belonging to the duchesse de Berry, with feathers and flowers in his hair, screamed from a palace window: "Je reçois! Je reçois!" Others drank wine from the palace cellars." ["Mémoires d'outre-tombe", III, 120; Fontaine II, 849 (letter of 9 August 1830).] It should be noted that the amount of looting during these three days was surprisingly littleFact|date=March 2008; not only at the Louvre – whose paintings and "objets d'art" were protected by the crowd – but the Tuileries, the Palais de Justice, the Archbishop's Palace, and other places as well.

Earlier that day, the Louvre had fallen, and even more quickly. The Swiss Guards, seeing the mob swarming towards them, and manacled by the orders of Marmont not to fire unless fired upon first, took to their heels. They had no wish to share the fate of a similar contingent of Swiss Guards back in 1792, who had held their ground against another such mob and were torn to pieces for their valor. By mid-afternoon, came the greatest, most sought-after prize of them all: the Hôtel de Ville had fallen. A few hours after its capture, liberal politicians entered the battered complex and set about establishing a provisional government. Though there would be spots of fighting throughout the city for the next few days, the revolution, for all intents and purposes, was over.

Result

The revolution of 1830 created a constitutional monarchy. Charles X abdicated rather than become a limited monarch and departed for Great Britain. In his place Louis-Philippe of the House of Orléans was placed on the throne, and he agreed to rule as a constitutional monarch. This period became known as the July Monarchy.

One month later, in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Belgian Revolution would commence, leading to the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium.

The July Column, located on Place de la Bastille, commemorates those three days.

References

Further reading

* cite journal
quotes =
last = Pilbeam
first = Pamela
authorlink = Pamela Pilbeam
coauthors =
date =
year = 1989
month = June
title = The Economic Crisis of 1827-32 and the 1830 Revolution in Provincial France
journal = The Historical Journal
volume = 32
issue = 2
pages = 319–338
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =

* cite journal
quotes =
last = Pilbeam
first = Pamela
authorlink = Pamela Pilbeam
coauthors =
date =
year = 1983
month = December
title = The 'Three Glorious Days': The Revolution of 1830 in Provincial France
journal = The Historical Journal
volume = 26
issue = 4
pages = 831–844
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =

* cite journal
quotes =
last = Price
first = Roger
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =
year = 1974
month = December
title = Legitimist Opposition to the Revolution of 1830 in the French Provinces
journal = The Historical Journal
volume = 17
issue = 4
pages = 755–778
issn =
pmid =
doi =
id =
url =
language =
format =
accessdate =
laysummary =
laysource =
laydate =
quote =


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