On July 26, 1830, Parisians woke up to four stunning proclamations from King Charles X, four ordinances rewriting French politics and public life. Join me to explore what these Four Ordinances did, how Charles could issue them, and how they came to appear in Parisians' morning newspaper.
Read or listen to this episode (9,724 words)
In 1830, France's slow-moving political crisis builds to a fever-pitch, as King Charles X goes to war with his liberal opposition at home, and the Regency of Algiers abroad. Amid military and electoral campaigns, Charles X will face a decision that could reshape his reign.
Read or listen to this episode (10,948 words)
In the late 1820s, Napoleonic intrigues and a brutal assault by flyswatter combined to turn French attention across the Mediterranean to the Ottoman Regency of Algiers. Join Prof. Ashley Sanders to explore the cosmopolitan world of Ottoman Algeria that the Bourbon Restoration faced under Charles X.
Read or listen to this episode (6,130 words)
In 1816, the French frigate Medusa ran aground off the coast of Africa, leading to one of the most infamous naval disasters in world history. In the process, it will shine a light on the harsh realities of Bourbon Restoration politics and France's tiny colonial empire.
Read or listen to this episode (11,409 words)
Follow the money and where does it lead? In the Bourbon Restoration, the financial lifeblood of France was the Paris Stock Exchange, where trading in government bonds made and lost fortunes, secured comfortable retirements, and shook the very ship of state.
Read or listen to this episode (5,708 words)
The French economy in 1830 was overwhelmingly agricultural, constrained by slow transportation networks, and — in a worrying sign for prime minister Jules de Polignac — mired in a deep recession.
Read or listen to this episode (8,483 words)
On Aug. 8, 1829, a new French ministry was appointed featuring Charles X's friend Jules de Polignac. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.
Read or listen to this episode (11,623 words)
During the Bourbon Restoration, one man's songs were everywhere. He wrote about politics and about love, for the rich and for the poor, and persevered despite the best efforts of the government to shut him up. Meet the Bob Dylan of the Restoration: Pierre-Jean de Béranger.
Read or listen to this episode (5,350 words)
Buffeted by a bad election, King Charles X is forced to appoint a more moderate ministry. Can Prime Minister Martignac forge a middle course before his boss gets fed up with concessions?
Read or listen to this episode (8,104 words)
Restoration France had an elected parliament, but its elections were radically different from the voting we're familiar with today. Here's how they did it, from tax-based voting rights to not-so-secret ballots to candidates running and winning in multiple districts at once.
Read or listen to this episode (5,538 words)
King Charles X's reign was marked by web of conspiracy theories about the alleged role of two secretive Catholic organizations: the Jesuits and the enigmatic Congregation. Let's dive in to what was true, what was false, and why ultimately it didn't really matter what the facts were.
Read or listen to this episode (5,353 words)
Many people have quoted a famous quip about the Bourbon Restoration, that "The Bourbons have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." While this is a real quote, more or less, almost everything people think they know about it is wrong.
Read or listen to this episode (3,365 words)
"The enemy redoubles his efforts," King Charles X wrote in September 1827, shortly before he dissolved the French parliament in a risky political gambit. "However, I am resolved to act with firmness and wisdom and am entirely confident that in the end we will overcome all obstacles." Did he? Let's find out.
Read or listen to this episode (10,000 words)
A Delacroix painting, a Rossini opera and a Dumas novel help demonstrate the profound impact that the Greek War of Independence had on French art and literature.
Read or listen to this episode (5,615 words)
The Greeks go into revolt against the Ottoman Empire — a revolt that fires the imaginations of France and the rest of Europe. The French government reacts with ambivalence, but many French men and women enthusiastically adopt the Greek cause.
Read or listen to this episode (13,850 words)
A small but crucial group of Restoration politicians were centrist liberals who championed constitutional monarchy against enemies to the right and left. Meet the brilliant and controversial clique who are known to history as the Doctrinaires.
Read or listen to this episode (8,953 words)
Thousands of French men and women fled the country during the Revolution. Who were they, what were their lives like in exile — and how did they handle it when they finally came back home?
Read or listen to this episode (6,677 words)
I join Benjamin Jacobs from the "Wittenberg to Westphalia" podcast for a deeper dive into scrofula, the skin condition whose sufferers Charles X touched at his coronation in a medieval ritual believed to hold the power of healing.
Read or listen to this episode (8,138 words)
Before becoming King Charles X, the Comte d'Artois spent many years of his life bearing an unusual French honorific: "Monsieur," given to the younger brother of the reigning king. Before Artois, King Louis XVIII was Monsieur himself under King Louis XVI. Professor Jonathan Spangler joins the show to explain this unique institution and how it shaped French courts over the centuries.
Read or listen to this episode (7,575 words)
King Charles X begins his long-awaited reign in a warm glow of popularity, but his honeymoon phase won't last forever as he begins to push a controversial agenda for France.
Read or listen to this episode (7,519 words)
A famous — or infamous — chapter in Victor Hugo's masterpiece Les Misérables is "The Year 1817," a lengthy recitation of a series of minor events that happened in France in that year. As a special bonus episode, take a dive into that chapter — and see how many of his obscure events you now recognize!
Read or listen to this episode (6,089 words)
The restoration of the Bourbons also meant a restoration of Catholicism as the state religion of France — delighting some, and outraging others. Not only is religion vital to fully understand Restoration France, it's especially vital to understand the new King Charles X.
Read or listen to this episode (10,584 words)
Restoration France as analyzed by an outsider with intimate knowledge of France both on the battlefield and in the salons — Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.
Read or listen to this episode (7,868 words)
I'll be giving a talk at the upcoming Intelligent Speech online history podcast conference on April 24, 2021, about the experience of French émigrés during and after the Revolution. Visit intelligentspeechconference.com to buy tickets and use the offer code 'siecle' for 10 percent off.
Read or listen to this episode (372 words)
With Louis XVIII dead, the new king is his younger brother, the Comte d'Artois. But what kind of man is France's new king? To see, let's rewind back through the first 10 years of the Restoration, from the point of view of the very charming and very conservative Artois.
Read or listen to this episode (6,840 words)
After 10 years on the throne, King Louis XVIII of France's health enters a terminal decline. As he tries to entrench his legacy with one final accomplishment, what are we to make of the reign of France's restored king?
Read or listen to this episode (6,166 words)
After the defeat of his efforts to bring about liberal reform in France through both legal and illegal means, the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824 boarded a ship for the fledgling United States, where he would be celebrated as "the nation's guest" in a momentous tour. Learn more in conversation with Lafayette expert Alan Hoffman.
Read or listen to this episode (5,218 words)
Conspiracy is in the air in France. In a world of secret societies and paranoid styles, the Bourbon Restoration clings to power while secretive cells spread across the country. The fate of the entire country is up for grabs as the French army is forced to decide its loyalty.
Read or listen to this episode (12,964 words)
An 1822 account of civil war on the Franco-Spanish border by an up-and-coming liberal journalist named Adolphe Thiers, who observes a refugee crisis, battles between liberal and conservative forces, and the disposition of French soldiers preparing to intervene.
Read or listen to this episode (5,247 words)
Happy Bastille Day! But in the Bourbon Restoration, Bastille Day was banned, along with 'La Marseillaise' and the tricolor flag. In this special episode, find out how these modern-day symbols of France were treated, and what the Bourbons used in their place.