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Friday, August 27, 2010

The July Monarchy

The July Monarchy is the name given to the reign of Louis Phillippe, who became king in 1830 upon the abdication of Charles X.  He called himself "King of the French" instead of "King of France," establishing himself as a man of the people.  Nevertheless, his reign would prove to favor the wealthy bourgeoisie over the working middle class.  For example, only landowners had the right to vote, representing a small percentage of the population.  A disgruntled working class, as well as a series of poor harvests and a financial crisis in the late 1840s lead to uprisings throughout Paris and he was forced to abdicate in 1848 and fled to England where he died two years later.  Louis Napoleon was elected President of the Second Republic and declared himself Emperor in 1851.  Sentimental Education takes place during these events and the protagonist Frederic Moreau is engaged in the middle of the conflict.

The above painting is Louis Philippe 1839 by Franz Xavier Winterhalter.

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