July Revolution

From Academic Kids

 by  commemorates the July Revolution
Liberty Leading the People by Eugne Delacroix commemorates the July Revolution

The French Revolution of 1830, also known as the July Revolution, was a revolt by the middle class against Bourbon King Charles X which forced him out of office and replaced him with the Orleanist King Louis-Philippe.

When Charles X took the throne on September 16, 1824, France was progressing towards reconstruction from the Napoleonic Wars. Charles's predecessor (and brother) Louis XVIII's reign had been peaceful and had the support of most of the population. The government was still quite autocratic, but gave far more freedom than the ancien rgime before the revolution. Louis XVIII based many of his decisions on popular opinion, responding in particular to the wishes of the Parisian elite. An elected assembly, the Chamber of Deputies, existed, (alongside the appointed Chamber of Peers) but had little power.

Charles, on the other hand, believed that the absolute monarchy was the best form of government.



Upon the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 the whole of Europe, and France in particular, was in a state of disarray. The Congress of Vienna met to redraw the continent's political map. Although more than 700 European countries attended , there were only 4 major powers that controlled the decision making: Britain, represented by foreign secretary Viscount Castlereagh; Austria, represented by chief minister (and chairman of the congress) Klemens, Frst von Metternich; Russia, represented by Czar 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 I. Although France was considered the enemy, Talleyrand was allowed to attend the congress because he claimed that he did not willfully cooperate with Napoleon I but rather that he was forced to cooperate. Talleyrand proposed a system that was very well accepted by the congress. He proposed that Europe be restored to its legitimate (pre-Napoleon) borders and governments. And so it was done, France was restored to its 1789 borders and the original ruling family, the Bourbon family, was restored to the throne. In the eyes of the congress, France was now back to normal. However, Louis XVIII (the new king of France) knew that ideas of nationalism and democracy still lingered, even after the fall of Napoleon I.

Louis was happy to be king and he did not want to do anything to further upset the people of France. Because of this, he retained many of the reforms established between 1789 and 1815. He retained the Bank of France, he kept state funded schools, he even accepted a constitution that limited his power over the people. The constitution called for many things, including a legislature to assist in governing the country.

Charles X's reign

When Louis XVIII died in 1824 his brother, Charles X, took the throne. Charles was not as concerned with the will of the people as his late brother was. He was anti-democracy, anti-nationalism and pro-absolute monarchy. His goal was to restore as much of the France of 1789 as possible and erase most traces of a democratic government.

Charles introduced a number of controversial polices. He pledged that all of the nobles that fled the country during the French Revolution would be compensated for their lost property. While the settlement was fairly moderate, great controversy arose as this meant taxing the public to benefit nobles. For obvious reasons this policy was not popular with the tax-paying public. Charles also removed some of the liberal provisions in the constitution that was ratified under his brother’s rule. He imposed new and strict penalties against the sacrilegious. Finally, he tried to restore many of the features of the old regime, including removing the revolutionary tricoleur, which also aroused popular animosity.

In 1827 the parliamentary election that January de colre et de vengeance gave the leftists a majority. The resultant short-lived Martignac ministry tried to revive the Right Centre which had supported Richelieu and lie Decazes.

The Revolt

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 migrs, 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'tat 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'tat, 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-Prier, Lafitte, and Odilon Barrot had gone to fetch the duke of Orlans from Neuilly, and on receiving his promise to defend the Charter and the tricolore 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 revolt of 1830 created a constitutional monarchy. Charles X abdicated rather than become a limited monarch and departed for Britain. In his place Louis-Philippe of the house of Orlans was placed on the throne, and he agreed to rule as a constitutional monarch. This period became known as the July Monarchy.de:Julirevolution fr:Trois glorieuses he:מהפכת יולי 1830 pl:Rewolucja lipcowa sv:Julirevolutionen ja:フランス7月革命


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