TIMELINE / Before 1800 to After 1930 / FRANCE / POLITICAL CONTEXT
Date Country Theme
1814 France Political Context
Abdication of Napoleon I on 6 April sees the end of the First French Empire (1804–14).
1814 - 1815 France Political Context
First Restoration: the return of the monarchy, referred to as the Bourbon Restoration. Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI) facilitated this by accepting a return to the monarchy by means of the Charter of 1814. This Charter combined the more moderate ideas of the Revolution with certain monarchist traditions.
1815 - 1830 France Political Context
Second Restoration: the reign of Louis XVIII and his brother Charles X. France experiences an economic boom (i.e. the development of the railways), but discontent grows over the king’s authoritarian policies.
1815 France Political Context
March–July, the Cent Jours (Hundred Days) between which Napoleon I returns to power and then finally abdicates after defeat at Waterloo.
1830 France Political Context
27–29 July: the Second French Revolution of July 1830 results in the fall of Charles X, who is succeeded by his cousin Louis-Philippe.
1830 France Political Context
The July Monarchy: Louis-Philippe becomes “Citizen-King”, and economic growth is joined by increased poverty.
1830 France Political Context
June–July: the invasion of Algiers.
1848 - 1852 France Political Context
During the Second Republic a number of social reforms take place, including universal male suffrage and the abolition of slavery. In December 1848 Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte (grand-nephew of Napoleon I) takes over as president of the Republic and reverts to a more conservative political position. He sets up an authoritarian regime by coup d'état (December 1851), and declares himself emperor in 1852.
1848 France Political Context
Revolution of February 1848: Louis-Philippe abdicates and the Republic is proclaimed.
1852 - 1870 France Political Context
After an authoritarian period (1852–60), during which time freedoms are severely restricted and political opponents are forced into exile, the Second Empire is declared and the political climate becomes more liberal and the economy grows.
1870 France Political Context
The Franco-Prussian War: France's defeat to Prussia results in the abdication of Napoleon III. Proclamation of the Third Republic.
1870 France Political Context
The Third Republic had a difficult start: the Treaty of Versailles with Prussia granting Alsace and Lorraine to the German Empire, and repression of the Commune. After a period known as the “Moral Order”, the Opportunist (1879–98) or Radical Republic (1898–1914) set up a large number of reforms in all areas, which include among others: a law on primary education (1881–2); a law on freedom of the press (1881); the restoration of the law on divorce (1884); a law allowing Trades Unions (1884); and a law on the separation of Church and State (1905).
1871 France Political Context
When the people of Paris refuse to accept defeat and take up arms the Versailles-based government resist and harshly repress the "Commune".
1889 France Political Context
The World Fair in Paris showcases the development of the latest industrial processes, and the Eiffel Tower is constructed for it.
1894 - 1898 France Political Context
The Dreyfus Affair: Captain Dreyfus is unjustly accused of espionage, is militarily degraded, and then deported at the end of the trial. The writer Émile Zola denounces this situation in a pamphlet entitled J’accuse. The case divides France; it is recognised that Dreyfus is innocent.
1914 - 1918 France Political Context
The First World War, which left millions dead in France, leaves a lasting impact on society.