Interpretations of the orleanist monarchy aka louis philippe
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Interpretations of the Orleanist Monarchy (aka Louis Philippe). Traditional Interpretation. The traditional interpretation has been an adapted Marxist one LP’s regime seen as a ‘bourgeois monarchy’

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Interpretations of the Orleanist Monarchy (aka Louis Philippe)

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Interpretations of the Orleanist Monarchy (aka Louis Philippe)

Traditional Interpretation

  • The traditional interpretation has been an adapted Marxist one

  • LP’s regime seen as a ‘bourgeois monarchy’

  • 1830 seen as the final victory for the bourgeoisie after a short ‘Indian summer’ for the Aristocracy 1815-30

  • Capitalism and industrialisation allowed to develop and thrive under LP’s policies and France run like a massive joint stock company by a narrow oligarchy of capitalists


  • Revisionists have put forward a very different model.

  • Pinkney suggests that 1830 was a victory for lawyers, bureaucrats and Bonapartists NOT a recognisable capitalist class – only a change of personnel at the top not a seismic shift

  • Cobban points out that leading figures in the regime were actually landowners not industrialists and that Guizot followed an economic policy of protectionism not free trade

Revisionism 2

  • Revisionists like Pinkney have also challenged the idea of a vibrant and growing capitalist economy – sluggish economic growth and patchy industrialisation

  • Also that Orleanist elites behaved like aristocrats mimicking their chateaux and lifestyles – not a assertive new ruling class at all

  • Also that the bourgeoisie was too heterogeneous to be recognised as a class with class interests – intra class conflicts between different sectors – financiers clashed with railway capitalists – iron, coal and cotton producers wanted protection from foreign trade – silk wine and shipping capitalists wanted free trade

Arguments for Marxist Interpretation

  • Ruthless repression of socialism and trade unionism reveals true class nature of the regime

  • Divisions within the elite actually point to the strength of their dominance rather than at any weakness

  • Regime presided over most rapid industrialisation despite the fact it may have appeared ‘sluggish’ when compared to GB


  • Read Magraw pages 51-63

  • Rally write robin on a large sheet of display paper evidence supporting Marxist interpretation and evidence supporting revisionist interpretations

  • By the end of the lesson be prepared to state and justify which interpretation you favour

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