The Bourbon Monarchy was stable in the years 1815-1824. To what extent do you agree with this verdict?
The Bourbon Monarchy was stable in the years 1815-24. To what extent do you agree with this verdict? (22)
The Bourbon monarchy was restored, once again, in France’s most unstable period after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.
The Allies were divided and at a lost on who should replace the Napoleonic regime in France. Austria and Russian had favoured Napoleon’s three year old son, as his mother was Austrian, and Austria will gain power over France; however this did not work as Britain wanted the Bonaparte family to be totally removed from office. Their only options left were the two branches of the Bourbon royal family: the older branch of Louis XVIII and the younger branch of Louis Philippe. The Allies settled on Louis XVIII as he was old, fat and dull, not ambitious enough to go to war and they would be able to manipulate him for their cause whereas Louis Philippe was young and unpredictable.
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Louis XVIII obtained the throne in 1815, the Allies, nevertheless had heavy hearts on their decision. They were concerned that Louis’ reign would be associated with the old regime of his brother, the country was verging on anarchy and animosity in parliament and social disorder.
To alleviate his passage of power, Louis granted the people of France the Charter of Liberties of 1814, a stabilising factor and an ‘olive branch’ to show that he was willing to compromise. It engaged the French public, for example, the first 12 articles offered them equality for all, opportunity for employment and in particularly a place in parliament for the ‘pays legal, gaining their support. This also preserved the Napoleonic Code, displays that the King has noticed and taken account the change that occurred that benefited the people of France.
Despite this, in 1815, the stability of Louis’ Kingdom was to be threatened by the return of the extreme right wing group known as the ‘Ultra-Royalist’. They were former or decadence of noble émigrés who wished to restore the Ancien Regime and traditional monarchical rule, abolish the Charter of 1814, recover their land, influence of the Church and purge the country of sympathisers of Napoleon and republicans.
The first and second ‘White Terror’ marked the abstersion of army officers, civil services and a massacre of hundred Napoleon followers. The terror spread fear to the public that they gained a majority in the first elections in 1815 for the Chamber of Deputies. Louis referred it as ‘La Chambre Introuvable’, commenting that they were more royalist than himself.
This may have caused an imbalance in society but Louis has managed to tone down their extremities. Yet with comments of the King being dull and overweight and a weak character, from some historians, he could not be catechised on his brilliant minister appointments. Louis XVIII was an intelligent man, moderate and sensible unlike his brother, who will soon be known as Charles X. Due to his respectable minister appointments they have organised the economy by: they repaid the war indemnity early which ended the allied occupation of France in 1818. They increased the army by 100,000 giving men more jobs. With Louis’ leadership France would stabilise its economy and reconciliation between the monarchy and its people was achieved. They even managed to create the Quintuple alliance in 1818.
However, the stability of Louis’ reign was coming to an end as the assassination of his nephew, Duc d Berri, giving the Ultra’s the perfect excuse to make their demands, gaining power in 1820, after being dissolved in 1816. The new Prime Minister, Villele, was an Ultra later helped achieve more of the Ultra’s goals; destabilising the country.