Guizot Biography

Guizot Biography

François Guizot was a French conservative historian and politician who came to be at the forefront of the decisions of the Gallic country during the reign of Luis Felipe I. He was always linked to politics, but he also had a great job as a professor of modern history at the Sorbonne University. Its fall marked the end of the parliamentary monarchy and the beginning of the Second French Republic.

He was born on October 4, 1787 in Nimes (France) into a Protestant and bourgeois family. Due to the death of his father during the Terror of Robespierre, in 1794 he went into exile with his mother in Geneva, who trained him following the Roussonian doctrine and the liberal values ​​of the time. Since his means were relatively limited, Guizot began to learn manual work as a carpenter.

In 1805, he was able to return to France, where he studied law. His quality as a writer opened the doors to literary circles for him, which made it possible for him to write journalistic collaborations from time to time, as for example in 1809, when he wrote a review of Martyrs of Chateaubriand.

The proclamation of the French Empire it did not affect Guizot, who managed to become a professor of modern history at the Sorbonne University in 1812. This chair was won by the translation of the work of Edward Gibbon. Just two years later, Royer-Collard recommended to the authorities that he be part of the restored monarchical government of Louis XVIII. This is how he rose to the post of secretary general in the Ministry of the Interior in 1814.

In 1815, Guizot went to Ghent to join Louis XVIII and warn him that if he did not switch to more liberal policies, he would eventually lose his job. In any case, he became a high official in the Ministry of Justice between 1816 and 1820. Between those years, he was one of the constitutional chiefs called "doctrinaire”.

The outbreak of the 1830 Revolution It was the ideal moment for Guizot, who contributed greatly to the advent of the bourgeois monarchy. For her "Revised letter”Was the ideal basis of government on which every country should be based. Therefore, throughout the reign of Louis Philip I, was the champion of conservatism and the head of the center-right, as well as the leader of the party of the “Resistance”.

After taking over the interior portfolio in 1830, Guizot was appointed minister of public instruction two years later. From this new position, he created an important law that admitted the principle of freedom of primary education and required each municipality to maintain at least one school. As of 1840, he was also granted the portfolio of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a position that he would only leave to occupy that of President of the Council between 1847 and 1848.

This progressive accumulation of power, as well as the confidence that Luis Felipe I had placed in him, became the real leader of the French cabinet and became hostile to all electoral and social reform. In the Chamber of Deputies, he was supported by a docile majority, since only the proprietary bourgeoisie was represented in the chamber. In foreign policy, he favored, against general opinion, first a cordial entente with Great Britain and, later, a Franco-Austrian alliance.

His form of government began to displease people. The critical situation in the country was further accentuated by the conservative policies it applied. In a country like France, which had had several revolts in just half a century, such acts had no place. Therefore, its fall, sponsored by the Liberals on February 23, 1848, precipitated the end of the bourgeois monarchy and the arrival of the 2nd French Republic.

Guizot He had no choice but to take refuge in London, where his mother accompanied him, in the same way that she had already done in 1794. Some time later he returned to Paris, where he focused on his historical works and the writing of his memoirs. Finally, on September 12, 1874 he passed away.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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