From the Second French Republic to the dictatorship of Louis Napoleon

From the Second French Republic to the dictatorship of Louis Napoleon

The Revolution of 1848 in France brought as a direct consequence the abdication of Luis Felipe and the end of the bourgeois monarchy established in 1830. After the proclamation of the Second French Republic, a provisional government was articulated. It met at the Palais Bourbon, the seat of Parliament, and was made up of Lamartine, Arago, Dupont d l'Eure, Garnier-Pagés, Marie, Cremieux, Louis Blanc, Armand Marrast, Ferdinand Flocon and the worker Albert. All of them came from an electoral list compiled by the republican newspaper Le National.

The common note of all the delegates was their republicanism, which varied depending on each one, so all the political trends of the time were collected. The work of the provisional cabinet was to give content to the new republic, for which they developed a series of provisions. Among them were universal suffrage, freedom of association and the press, the abolition of the death penalty for political crimes, the annulment of noble titles, the abolition of slavery in the colonies and imprisonment for debts. The influence of the socialists Blanc and Albert led to some proposals being collected, such as the establishment of the National Workshops and the limitation of the working day to 10 hours.

However, the enthusiasm of this new government and of all those who supported it was broken when they saw the delicate economic situation in which the country was plunged. The National Workshops, which were workshops where 2 francs were paid to carry out tasks without any use or purpose, turned out to be a drag on the French economy, so they had to be canceled. But the problem was not only limited to the closure of the workshops, but taxes had to be raised to try to stop the financial hole. This, added to the growing unemployment, began to generate deep discontent among the population.

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On the other hand, the elections for form a Constituent AssemblyThey gave the moderates the victors, so that a bourgeois and moderate republic was formed. The new executive was imposed on the social forces of socialists and workers that had given character to the February days. The protests and rebellions of the socialists were happening in the calls "June days”, From 23 to 26, but they were repressed by the General Cavaignac. The Assembly did not remove Cavaignac from executive power, but it did rule that the 4,000 insurgents who had been arrested be deported to Algeria. At the same time, Proudhon defended socialist doctrines before the camera, but was widely criticized.

The Constitution of 1848 made it clear that the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe had been replaced by a bourgeois republic, since it was a magna carta that defended the interests of the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, it established that the legislative power would reside in an Assembly made up of 750 members elected by universal suffrage, while the executive would be led by a president who would be voted in the same way.

The elections were not long in taking place. There were two candidates who faced off: General Cavaignac and Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the former emperor. The electors opted for Louis Napoleon, since he was better known due to the disputes he had with Luis Felipe and for the publication of some manifestos where he defended nationalities and the improvement of the most needy classes. More than five million votes supported Louis Napoleon's candidacy, compared to half a million for Cavaignac's.

From that moment on, the moderate republic changed radically and became a conservative regime, where the conservative bourgeoisie and allied to Bonapartism were the biggest beneficiaries. The new Assembly voted favorably on the restrictive laws of universal suffrage, freedom of the press and of assembly.

Before long, everything fell apart as the Assembly clashed with the executive branch. But Louis Napoleon presented himself as the only guarantee capable of restoring order and on December 2, 1851, gave the coup that ended the Second French Republic. On December 20, he called a referendum in which the people would have to decide whether to grant them the necessary power to “establish a new constitution”. The result was devastating: 7 million people voted in favor. This result enabled Napoleon to establish first a dictatorship and, later, the Second French Empire.

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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