The Franco-Prussian war destroyed the Empire. There was a clear split between monarchists and Republicans. The 3rd Republic was proclaimed in September 1870. Why did the Empire collapse? The majority of people had become disillusioned; there was therefore a lack of legitimacy of the regime. Monarchists wanted to restore the pre-revolution regime. Within the society, there were divisions between classes. The Empire was not legitimate because it emerged with the coup d'état led by Napoleon III in 1851. This regime was undemocratic, especially the upper house. Moreover, press was under censorship. In the 1860s, France won a successful war against Austria. However, at the same time, the 5-year long colonial adventure led in Mexico ended up with a defeat for France. It reinforced the loss of popularity and legitimacy. The Parliament refused to vote financial laws to modernize this army. After the collapse of the Empire, the Republican government was still at war against Prussia (?government of national defense?). It is a paradox that this unpopular war (in public opinion) became a popular conflict. On the other hand, the conservatives wanted to stop this revolutionary war.
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[...] New rights were given to trade unions. J. Ferry implemented new rules on education. It pushed back the French Catholic Church, especially with the emergence of secular schools. Schoolbooks (e.g. Le tour de France par deux enfants) were used to reinforce patriotism. This is part of the national building project. There was also a program of economic modernization led by Freyssinet: canals and ports were built or improved for instance. However, this period is still characterized by political instability. General Boulanger tried to encourage republican nationalism. [...]
[...] They did not serve the Republic or the State, they served France. General Boulanger was Minister of war. He was a modernizer. He tried to mobilize national opinion. He was sacked as a minister and represented the danger of a putsch. He campaigned to be elected and was hugely supported. However, the attempt of coup d'état of the mass movement which followed him failed. He finally committed suicide. - Alexander, M. S. (1999), French History since Napoleon, Arnold, London. - Winock, M. [...]
À propos de l'auteur
Alexis B.EtudiantSciences politiquesFrance and the Third Republic: 1870-1890