France History - The July Monarchy 1

Louis Philippe officially took possession of the throne on 9 August 1830, after having accepted and sworn the Charter in which the chamber, which Charles X had tried to dissolve, had introduced important and characteristic modifications: the suppression of inheritance for peers, the ‘lowering of the electoral census to 200 francs, the adoption of the tricolor and the formula “King of the French” to define the new sovereign, whose authority was thus no longer based on divine law as in the old monarchy, but on national sovereignty.

According to Eningbo, the beginnings of the new monarchy were very agitated. Inside, it had to face, in addition to the adverse political forces (republicans, Bonapartists, partisans of the overthrown dynasty or legitimists), the ferment of a workers’ movement that was already organized and rioted in some large production center (Lyon), and the excitement that the victorious struggle had aroused in the Parisian masses and which tended to explode in new violence (death requests for the ministers of Charles X, assaults and looting of sacred buildings). Abroad, two movements were outlined, different in character, but equally arousing difficulties for Louis Philippe, and deriving from the immediately widespread feeling that, like that of 1789, the new French revolution should spread beyond the borders of France, breaking the treaties of 1815 and the situation created by them. The governments, especially those of the great central-eastern powers, became worried and assumed attitudes of mistrust and hostility, including that of Russia, which moved sharply from the system of agreements made with Charles X, to approach Austria and Prussia. The peoples, on the other hand, were, as Heine wrote, thrilled by the smell of the blood of the July days; and they demonstrated it with the series of insurrectional movements that from August 1830 to February 1831 shook the kingdom of the Netherlands, determining the detachment of Belgium, Germany, Russian Poland and central Italy. The proclamation of the principle of non-intervention, made by the first government of the new monarchy, and implying the French commitment to forcibly prevent foreign powers from moving with arms to tame the peoples who had risen against their own government, seemed the announcement of the end of the interventionist policy of the Holy Alliance, and gave powerful nourishment to the development of insurrectional tendencies. Indeed, among the supporters and founders of the new monarchy there was a so-called party of the movement, which wanted to bring the revolution to its extreme consequences: internally with the relentless struggle against the remnants of the old regime, and abroad with the complete demolition of the 1815 structure. had to leave the prevalence in the first ministry, chaired by J. Laffitte. But against the excesses of this tendency, resulting from the survival of ideologies of 1789 and from exasperated patriotic currents that hated the treaties of 1815 as they were the result and seal of French defeat, stood the party of resistance which represented the producing bourgeoisie, paid for the result obtained in July 1830 and eager for peace and order, and had in its ranks the strongest political leaders (Casimir Périer, Guizot, Thiers, M.-L. Molé), and aimed at liquidate and end the revolution and reassure Europe. The king managed to lean on this party in March 1831, entrusting power to Périer, after the mistakes made and the internal and external difficulties had worn down Laffitte. Then the policy of the July monarchy took a temperate orientation: internally by squeezing excesses; abroad, containing the principle of non-intervention within the limits of the Belgian question, so as not to oppose Austrian repression in Italy (March) and Russian repression in Poland (September), despite the invectives of the disappointed and opponents.

The removal of the monarchy from the beginnings and from the revolutionary excesses was accompanied by a notable success in foreign policy, which was also very useful for its consolidation: the agreement with England. Negotiated and carried out by the superior ability of Talleyrand, whom Louis Philippe had recalled to political-diplomatic activity and sent ambassador to London, the agreement had as its first terrain for explanation the problem of Belgium, in which the two Western powers made triumph in the face of the central-east – who wanted to prevent the dismemberment of the kingdom of the Netherlands, creation of 1815 – the solution of the constitution of Belgium into an independent and neutral kingdom (January-October 1831). But the deal continued even after, so much so as to take on the appearance of a political system that for a long time characterized the foreign policy of the July monarchy, also finding justification in the affinities between the forms of government of the two countries: a new effective manifestation of it took place in 1834 in Iberian matters, in support of the queens Maria of Portugal and Isabella of Spain, against the reactionary pretenders Don Miguel and Don Carlos.

France History - The July Monarchy 1