Episode 33: Martignac
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?
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Supplemental 16: Restoration Elections
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.
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Episode 32: The Congregation
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.
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Fact Check 1: Learning and Forgetting
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.
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Episode 31: The Election of 1827
"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.
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Supplemental 15: Art Greco
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.
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Episode 30: Greek-ing Out
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.
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Episode 29: The Doctrinaires
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.
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Supplemental 14: Émigrés
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?
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Supplemental 13: Scrofula
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.
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Supplemental 12: Second Sons
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.
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Episode 28: Charles in Charge
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.
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Supplemental 11: The Year 1817
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!
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Episode 27: Mission from God
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.
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Supplemental 10: Et cetera, Wellington
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.
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Announcement: Intelligent Speech
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.
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Episode 26: Monsieur
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.
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Episode 25: The King Is Dead
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?
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Episode 24: Lafayette in America
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.
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Episode 23: Charbonnerie
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.
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Supplemental 9: Thiers in Spain
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.
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Supplemental 8: Bastille Day
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.
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Episode 22: French Press
Long before this podcast covered the Bourbon Restoration, French newspapers did. Enter the strange world of early 19th Century journalism — and debunk a delightful myth.
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Episode 21: The Afterlife of Napoleon
Napoleon Bonaparte is dead — but he still lives on, in myth and legend, in flowers and tobacco boxes, in jails and asylums, and above all in the political memory of Restoration France, for whom even death cannot rid them of their greatest foe.
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Supplemental 7: Memorial of St. Helena
An excerpt from the book written by Napoleon's aide Emmanuel de Las Cases, describing the ex-emperor's life and opinions on his St. Helena exile. The book proved a smash hit and the 'Bonapartist bible' for decades to come.
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Episode 20: The Death of Napoleon
Halfway across the world from the country he once ruled, the most famous man of his age dies in isolated exile — but not before profoundly reforging his legacy through both story and suffering.
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Episode 19: France and the Monroe Doctrine
French schemes to place Bourbon princes on the thrones of Spain's former American colonies run up against opposition from both Great Britain and the United States.
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Episode 18: The Road to Trocadero
The conservative powers of Europe strike back at the wave of liberal revolutions sweeping the continent, and France struggles with how to respond — a crisis that brings down one prime minister and elevates a new politician to center stage.
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Episode 17: Europe in Concert
When the victorious powers met at the Congress of Vienna after Napoleon's defeat, they did more than just punish France. They redrew the map of Europe and tried to create a new, more stable world order. Learn about this new order and its impact on Restoration France.
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Supplemental 6: France and England After Waterloo
Chris Fernandez-Packham of the Age of Victoria podcast and I talk about the different experiences of erstwhile rivals France and Great Britain in the years after Waterloo.