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The Revolution of 1830. Events. Following the Ordinances of St Cloud, journalists led by Thiers quickly published a manifesto (25 th July) calling on all of France to resist the return to absolutism

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the revolution of 1830

The Revolution of 1830

  • Following the Ordinances of St Cloud, journalists led by Thiers quickly published a manifesto (25th July) calling on all of France to resist the return to absolutism
  • The response is instant with demonstrating and rioting on the streets of Paris
  • The bulk of the French army are away fighting in Algiers so the ‘mob’ quickly gained control
  • On 29 July Parliament demands a meeting with Polignac but their request is refused – (the King is still away on a hunting trip!)
  • Parliament then decides to declare itself as France’s ‘provisional government’
  • At this point Charles realises something must be done and offers to take back the Ordinances, sack Polignac and rule under the terms of the charte but it is all too late
  • Thiers’ printers have been busy bill posting propaganda all over Paris calling for Louis Philippe to be constitutional monarch and the ‘provisional government’ duly invite him to take up the post.
  • Charles abdicates and declares his own grandson to be King but is largely ignored
  • Louis Philippe becomes King and Charles flees to England
interpreting 1830
Interpreting 1830
  • Alfred Cobban claims;

‘it took almost inconceivable imbecility on the part of Charles X and his ministers’ to bring about the collapse of the Restoration.’

1830 happened because of a series of stupid and avoidable accidents.

Do you agree?

What evidence could you use to support such a view?

roger magraw
Roger Magraw

Magraw looks for broader social and economic causes and comes to the conclusion that the bourgeoisie incited and manipulated popular unrest in 1830 to secure their own power and then turned their attention on those forces that had secured them that power.

1830 is therefore seen in classic Marxist terms as the triumph of the bourgeoisie after an ‘Indian Summer’ for the aristocracy

bourgeois grievances
Bourgeois Grievances

‘1830 was a revolution of frustrated careerists’ (Magraw)

The Aristocracy had colonised all government and army jobs seeing this as suitable compensation for their loss of feudal rights.

Napoleon had encouraged ‘meritocracy’ so loss of opportunity under the Bourbons caused tremendous resentment amongst the middle classes

E.G.15,000 Bonapartists were purged from the army in 1815 and replaced by émigrés

secret societies
Secret Societies
  • Middle class disenchantment can be seen by the growth of secret conspiratorial societies during the Restoration such as the Carbonari
  • Carbonari was anti royalist and anti aristocracy and plotted to overthrow the Bourbons in a coup.
  • Of its 60,000 or so members about a quarter were members of the army!
anti clericalism
  • The restoration of the power of the Church (clericalism) annoyed everyone!
  • Students resisted strongly against compulsory Mass at school
  • Peasants rebelled against being told failure to pay the church tithe was a ‘mortal sin’
  • Sacrilege law offended Huguenots (Protestants) and was an affront to free speech and freedom of worship
  • Support for the Spanish royal family raised fears of an Inquisition in France
economic causes
Economic Causes
  • 1830 played out in the context of an economic slump, high food prices, high unemployment, a credit crisis, and a high level of business bankruptcies
  • Paris was particularly badly hit where wages fell by 30% and where poor housing and living conditions produced a death rate 40% above the national average.
  • Magraw suggests that economic slump and the threat of popular unrest led to the bourgeoisie losing faith with the Bourbons – Polignac and Charles taking away their votes in the Ordinances of St Cloud was just the final straw.

‘despotism shifted from chateau to stock exchange’


A History of Modern France vol 2 Alfred Cobban

Pages 86-93

France the Bourgeois Century Roger Magraw pages 42-45

Chapter in Randell