[Classics] The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850

The Abolition of Universal Suffrage in 1850[14]

The same symptoms have shown themselves in France since 1849, and particularly since the beginning of 1850. The Parisian industries are abundantly employed and the cotton factories of Rouen and Mulhouse are also doing pretty well, although here, as in England, the high prices of the raw material have exercised a retarding influence. The development of prosperity in France was, in addition, especially promoted by the comprehensive tariff reform in Spain and by the reduction of the duties on various luxury articles in Mexico; the export of French commodities to both markets has considerably increased. The growth of capital in France led to a series of speculations, for which the exploitation of the California gold mines on a large scale served as a pretext.[121] A swarm of companies have sprung up; the low denomination of their shares and their socialist-colored prospectuses appeal directly to the purses of the petty bourgeois and the workers, but all and sundry result in that sheer swindling which is characteristic of the French and Chinese alone. One of these companies is even patronized directly by the government. The import duties in France during the first nine months of 1848 amounted to 63,000,000 francs, of 1849 to 95,000,000 francs, and of 1850 to 93,000,000 francs. Moreover, in the month of September, 1850, they again rose by more than a million compared with the same month of 1849. Exports also rose in 1849, and still more in 1850.

The most striking proof of restored prosperity is the Bank's reintroduction of specie payment by the law of August 6, 1850. On March 15, 1848, the Bank had been authorized to suspend specie payment. Its note circulation, including that of the provincial banks, amounted at that time to 373,000,000 francs (14,920,000 pounds). On November 2, 1849, this circulation amounted to 482,000,000 francs, or 19,280,000, an increase of 4,360,000 pounds, and on September 2, 1850, to 496,000,000 francs, or 19,840,000 pounds, an increase of about 5,000,000 pounds. This was not accompanied by any depreciation of the notes; on the contrary , the increased circulation of the notes was accompanied by the steadily increasing accumulation of gold and silver in the vaults of the Bank, so that in the summer of 1850 its metallic reserve amounted to about 141,000,000 pounds, an unprecedented sum in France. That the Bank was thus placed in a position to increase its circulation and therewith its active capital by 123,000,000 francs, or 5,000,000 pounds, is striking proof of the correctness of our assertion in an earlier issue that the finance aristocracy has not only not been overthrown by the revolution, but has even been strengthened. This result becomes still more evident from the following survey of French bank legislation during the last few years. On June 10, 1847, the Bank was authorized to issue notes of 200 francs; hitherto the smallest denomination had been 500 francs. A decree of March 15, 1848, declared the notes of the Bank of France legal tender and relieved it of the obligation of redeeming them in specie. Its note issue was limited to 350,000,000 francs. It was simultaneously authorized to issue notes of 100 francs. A decree of April 27 prescribed the merging of the departmental banks in the Bank of France; another decree, of May 2, 1848, increased the latter's note issue to 442,000,000 francs. A decree of December 22, 1849, raised the maximum of the note issue to 525,000,000 francs. Finally, the law of August 6, 1850, reestablished the exchangeability of notes for specie. These facts, the continual increase in the circulation, the concentration of the whole of French credit in the hands of the Bank, and the accumulation of all French gold and silver in the Bank's vaults led M. Proudhon to the conclusion that the Bank must now shed its old snakeskin and metamorphose itself into a Proudhonist people's bank.[122] He did not even need to know the history of the English bank restriction from 1797 to 1819;[123] he only needed to direct his glance across the Channel to see that this fact, for him unprecedented in the history of bourgeois society, was nothing more than a very normal bourgeois event, which only now occurred in France for the first time. One sees that the allegedly revolutionary theoreticians who, after the Provisional Government, talked big in Paris were just as ignorant of the nature and the results of the measures taken as the gentlemen of the Provisional Government themselves.

In spite of the industrial and commercial prosperity that France momentarily enjoys, the mass of the people, the twenty-five million peasants, suffer from a great depression. The good harvests of the past few years have forced the prices of corn much lower even than in England, and the position of the peasants under such circumstances, in debt, sucked dry by usury and crushed by taxes, must be anything but splendid. The history of the past three years has, however, provided sufficient proof that this class of the population is absolutely incapable of any revolutionary initiative.

Just as the period of crisis began later on the Continent than in England, so also did prosperity. The process originated in England, which is the demiurge of the bourgeois cosmos. On the Continent the various phases of the cycle repeatedly experienced by bourgeois society assume a secondary and tertiary form. First, the Continent exports to England disproportionately more than to any other country. This export to England, however, depends on the latter's position, especially in regard to the overseas market. England exports disproportionately more to overseas countries than to the whole Continent, so that the quantity of continental exports to those countries is always dependent on England's foreign trade. Hence when crises on the Continent produce revolutions there first, the bases for them are always laid in England. Violent outbreaks naturally erupt sooner at the extremities of the bourgeois body than in its heart, because in the latter the possibilities of accommodation are greater than in the former. On the other hand, the degree to which continental revolutions affect England is at the same time the thermometer that indicates to what extent these revolutions really put into question bourgeois life conditions, and to what extent they touch only their political formations.

Given this general prosperity, wherein the productive forces of bourgeois society are developing as luxuriantly as it is possible for them to do within bourgeois relationships, a real revolution is out of the question. Such a revolution is possible only in periods when both of these factors — the modern forces of production and the bourgeois forms of production — come into opposition with each other. The various bickerings in which representatives of the individual factions of the continental party of Order presently engage and compromise each other, far from providing an occasion for revolution, are, on the contrary, possible only because the bases of relationships are momentarily so secure and — what the reactionaries do not know — so bourgeois. On this all the reactionary attempts to hold back bourgeois development will rebound just as much as will all the ethical indignation and all the enraptured proclamations of the democrats. A new revolution is only a consequence of a new crisis. The one, however, is as sure to come as the other.

Let us now turn to France.

The victory that the people, in conjunction with the petty bourgeois, had won in the elections of March 10 was annulled by the people itself when it provoked the new election of April 28. Vidal was elected not only in Paris, but also in the Lower Rhine. The Paris Committee, in which the Montagne and the petty bourgeoisie were strongly represented, induced him to accept for the Lower Rhine. The victory of March 10 ceased to be a decisive one; the date of the decision was once more postponed; the tension of the people was relaxed; it became accustomed to legal triumphs instead of revolutionary ones. The revolutionary meaning of March 10, the rehabilitation of the June insurrection, was finally completely annihilated by the candidature of Eugene Sue, the sentimental petty-bourgeois social-fantast, which the proletariat could at best accept as a joke to please the grisettes. As against this well-meaning candidature, the party of Order, emboldened by the vacillating policy of its opponents, put up a candidate who was to represent the June victory. This comic candidate was the Spartan paterfamilias Leclerc, from whose person, however, the heroic armor was torn piece by piece by the press, and who experienced a brilliant defeat in the election. The new election victory on April 28 put the Montagne and the petty bourgeoisie in high feather. They already exulted in the thought of being able to arrive at the goal of their wishes in a purely legal way and without again pushing the proletariat into the foreground through a new revolution; they reckoned positively on bringing Ledru-Rollin into the presidential chair and a majority of Montagnards into the Assembly through universal suffrage in the new elections of 1852. The party of Order, rendered perfectly certain by the prospective elections, by Sue's candidature, and by the mood of the Montagne and the petty bourgeoisie, that the latter were resolved to remain quiet no matter what happened, answered the two election victories with an election law which abolished universal suffrage.

The government took good care not to make this legislative proposal on its own responsibility. It made an apparent concession to the majority by entrusting the working out of the bill to the high dignitaries of this majority, the seventeen burgraves.[125] Thus it was not the government that proposed the repeal of universal suffrage to the Assembly; the majority of the Assembly proposed it to itself.

On May 8 the project was brought into the Chamber. The entire Social-Democratic press rose as one man in order to preach to the people dignified bearing, calme majestueux, passivity, and trust in its representatives. Every article of these journals was a confession that a revolution would, above all, annihilate the so-called revolutionary press, and that therefore it was now a question of its self-preservation. The allegedly revolutionary press betrayed its whole secret. It signed its own death warrant.

On May 21 the Montagne put the preliminary question to debate and moved the rejection of the whole project on the ground that it violated the constitution. The party of Order answered that the constitution would be violated if it were necessary; there was, however, no need for this at present, because the constitution was capable of every interpretation, and because the majority alone was competent to decide on the correct interpretation. To the unbridled, savage attacks of Thiers and Montalembert the Montagne opposed a decorous and refined humanism. It took its stand on the ground of law; the party of Order referred it to the ground on which the law grows, to bourgeois property. The Montagne whimpered: Did they really want, then, to conjure up revolutions by main force? The party of Order replied: One would await them.

On May 22 the preliminary question was settled by 462 votes to 227. The same men who had proved with such solemn profundity that the National Assembly and every individual deputy would be renouncing his mandate if he renounced the people, his mandatory, now stuck to their seats and suddenly sought to let the country act, through petitions at that, instead of acting themselves, and still sat there unmoved when, on May 31, the law went through in splendid fashion. They sought to revenge themselves by a protest in which they recorded their innocence of the rape of the constitution, a protest which they did not even submit openly, but smuggled into the President's pocket from the rear.

An army of 150,000 men in Paris, the long deferment of the decision, the appeasing attitude of the press, the pusillanimity of the Montagne and of the newly elected representatives, the majestic calm of the petty bourgeois, but above all, the commercial and industrial prosperity, prevented any attempt at revolution on the part of the proletariat.

Universal suffrage had fulfilled its mission. The majority of the people had passed through the school of development, which is all that universal suffrage can serve for in a revolutionary period. It had to be set aside by a revolution or by the reaction.

The Montagne developed a still greater display of energy on an occasion that arose soon afterward. From the tribune War Minister Hautpoul had termed the February Revolution a baneful catastrophe. The orators of the Montagne, who, as always, distinguished themselves by their morally indignant bluster, were not allowed by the President, Dupin, to speak. Girardin proposed to the Montagne that it should walk out at once en masse. Result: The Montagne remained seated, but Girardin was cast out from its midst as unworthy.

The election law still needed one thing to complete it, a new press law. This was not long in coming. A proposal of the government, made many times more drastic by amendments of the party of Order, increased the caution money, put an extra stamp on feuilleton fiction (answer to the election of Eugène Sue), taxed all publications appearing weekly or monthly up to a certain number of sheets, and finally provided that every article of a journal must bear the signature of the author. The provisions concerning the caution money killed the so-called revolutionary press; the people regarded its extinction as satisfaction for the abolition of universal suffrage. However, neither the tendency nor the effect of the new law extended only to this section of the press. As long as the newspaper press was anonymous, it appeared as the organ of a numberless and nameless public opinion; it was the third power in the state. Through the signature of every article, a newspaper became a mere collection of literary contributions from more or less known individuals. Every article sank to the level of an advertisement. Hitherto the newspapers had circulated as the paper money of public opinion; now they were resolved into more or less bad solo bills, whose worth and circulation depended on the credit not only of the drawer but also of the endorser. The press of the party of Order had incited not only for the repeal of universal suffrage but also for the most extreme measures against the bad press. However, in its sinister anonymity even the good press was irksome to the party of Order and still more to its individual provincial representatives. As for itself, it demanded only the paid writer, with name, address, and description. In vain the good press bemoaned the ingratitude with which its services were rewarded. The law went through; the provision about the giving of names hit it hardest of all. The names of republican journalists were rather well known; but the respectable firms of the "Journal des Débats", the “Assemblée Nationale", the "Constitutionnel", etc., etc., cut a sorry figure in their high protestations of state wisdom when the mysterious company all at once disintegrated into purchasable penny-a-liners of long practice, who had defended all possible causes for cash, like Granier de Cassagnac, or into old milksops who called themselves statesmen, like Capefigue, or into coquettish fops, like M. Lemoinne of the Débats.

In the debate on the press law the Montagne had already sunk to such a level of moral degeneracy that it had to confine itself to applauding the brilliant tirades of an old notable of Louis Philippe's time, M. Victor Hugo.

With the election law and the press law the revolutionary and democratic party exits from the official stage. Before their departure home, shortly after the end of the session, the two factions of the Montagne, the socialist democrats and the democratic socialists, issued two manifestoes, two testimonia paupertatis [certificates of pauperism] in which they proved that while power and success were never on their side, they nonetheless had ever been on the side of eternal justice and all the other eternal truths.

Let us now consider the party of Order. The “Neue Rheinische Zeitung” had said: “As against the hankering for restoration on the part of the united Orléanists and Legitimists, Bonaparte defends his title to his actual power, the republic; as against the hankering for restoration on the part of Bonaparte, the party of Order defends its title to its common rule, the republic; as against the Orléanists, the Legitimists, and as against the Legitimists, the Orléanists, defend the status quo, the republic. All these factions of the party of Order, each of which has its own king and its own restoration in petto, mutually enforce, as against their rivals’ hankering for usurpation and revolt, the common rule of the bourgeoisie, the form in which the special claims remain neutralized and reserved — the republic.... And Thiers spoke more truly than he suspects when he said: ‘We, the royalists, are the true pillars of the constitutional republic’.”

This comedy of the républicains malgré eux [republicans in spite of themselves], the antipathy to the status quo and the constant consolidation of it; the incessant friction between Bonaparte and the National Assembly; the ever renewed threat of the party of Order to split into its separate component parts, and the ever repeated conjugation of its factions; the attempt of each faction to transform each victory over the common foe into a defeat for its temporary allies; the mutual petty jealousy, chicanery, harassment, the tireless drawing of swords that ever and again ends with a baiser Lamourette[15] — this whole unedifying comedy of errors never developed more classically than during the past six months.

The party of Order regarded the election law at the same time as a victory over Bonaparte. Had not the government abdicated when it handed over the editing of and responsibility for its own proposal to the Commission of Seventeen? And did not the chief strength of Bonaparte as against the Assembly lie in the fact that he was the chosen of six millions? Bonaparte, on his part, treated the election law as a concession to the Assembly, with which he claimed to have purchased harmony between the legislative and executive powers. As reward, the vulgar adventurer demanded an increase of three millions in his civil list. Dared the National Assembly enter into a conflict with the executive at a moment when it had excommunicated the great majority of Frenchmen? It was roused to anger; it appeared to want to go to extremes; its commission rejected the motion; the Bonapartist press threatened, and referred to the disinherited people, deprived of its franchise; numerous noisy attempts at an arrangement took place, and the Assembly finally gave way in fact, but at the same time revenged itself in principle. Instead of increasing the civil list in principle by three millions per annum, it granted Bonaparte an accommodation of 2,160,000 francs. Not satisfied with this, it made even this concession only after it had been supported by Changarnier, the general of the party of Order and the protector thrust upon Bonaparte. Therefore it really granted the two millions not to Bonaparte, but to Changarnier.

This sop, thrown to him de mauvaise grâce [with bad grace], was accepted by Bonaparte quite in the spirit of the donor. The Bonapartist press blustered anew against the National Assembly. When in the debate on the press law the amendment was made on the signing of names — which, in turn, was directed especially against the less important papers — the representatives of the private interests of Bonaparte, the principal Bonapartist paper, the Pouvoir, published an open and vehement attack on the National Assembly. The ministers had to disavow the paper before the Assembly; the girant [manager] of the Pouvoir was summoned before the bar of the National Assembly and sentenced to pay the highest fine, 5,000 francs. Next day the Pouvoir published a still more insolent article against the Assembly, and as the revenge of the government, the public prosecutor promptly prosecuted a number of Legitimist journals for violating the constitution.

Finally there came the question of proroguing the Assembly. Bonaparte desired this in order to be able to operate unhindered by the Assembly. The party of Order desired it partly for the purpose of carrying on its factional intrigues, partly for the pursuit of the private interests of the individual deputies. Both needed it in order to consolidate and push further the victories of reaction in the provinces. The Assembly therefore adjourned from August 11 until November 11. Since, however, Bonaparte in no way concealed that his only concern was to get rid of the irksome surveillance of the National Assembly, the Assembly imprinted on the vote of confidence itself the stamp of lack of confidence in the President. All Bonapartists were kept off the permanent commission of twenty-eight members who stayed on during the recess as guardians of the virtue of the republic.[129] In their stead, even some republicans of the Siècle and the National were elected to it, in order to prove to the President the attachment of the majority to the constitutional republic.

Shortly before, and especially immediately after the recess, the two big factions of the party of Order, the Orléanists and the Legitimists, appeared to want to be reconciled, and this by a fusion of the two royal houses under whose flags they were fighting. The papers were full of reconciliation proposals that were said to have been discussed at the sickbed of Louis Philippe at St. Leonards, when the death of Louis Philippe suddenly simplified the situation. Louis Philippe was the usurper, Henry V the dispossessed; the Count of Paris, on the other hand, owing to the childlessness of Henry V, was his lawful heir to the throne. Every pretext for objecting to a fusion of the two dynastic interests was now removed. But precisely now the two factions of the bourgeoisie first discovered that it was not zeal for a definite royal house that divided them, but that it was rather their divided class interests that kept the two dynasties apart. The Legitimists, who had made a pilgrimage to the residence of Henry V at Wiesbaden just as their competitors had to St. Leonards, received there the news of Louis Philippe's death. Forthwith they formed a ministry in partibus infidelium[16], which consisted mostly of members of that commission of guardians of the virtue of the republic and which on the occasion of a squabble in the bosom of the party came out with the most outspoken proclamation of right by the grace of God. The Orléanists rejoiced over the compromising scandal that this manifesto[130] called forth in the press, and did not conceal for a moment their open enmity to the Legitimists.

During the adjournment of the National Assembly, the Councils of the departments met. The majority of them declared for a more or less qualified revision of the constitution; that is, they declared for a not definitely specified monarchist restoration, for a "solution", and confessed at the same time that they were too incompetent and too cowardly to find this solution. The Bonapartist faction at once construed this desire for revision in the sense of a prolongation of Bonaparte's presidency.

The constitutional solution, the retirement of Bonaparte in May, 1852,[131] the simultaneous election of a new President by all the electors of the land, the revision of the constitution by a Chamber of Revision during the first months of the new presidency, is utterly inadmissible for the ruling class. The day of the new presidential election would be the day of rendezvous for all the hostile parties, the Legitimists, the Orléanists, the bourgeois republicans, the revolutionists. It would have to come to a violent decision between the different factions. Even if the party of Order should succeed in uniting around the candidature of a neutral person outside the dynastic families, he would still be opposed by Bonaparte. In its struggle with the people, the party of Order is compelled constantly to increase the power of the executive. Every increase of the executive's power increases the power of its bearer, Bonaparte. In the same measure, therefore, as the party of Order strengthens its joint might, it strengthens the fighting resources of Bonaparte's dynastic pretensions, it strengthens his chance of frustrating a constitutional solution by force on the day of the decision. He will then have, as against the party of Order, no more scruples about the one pillar of the constitution than that party had, as against the people, about the other pillar in the matter of the election law. He would, seemingly even against the Assembly, appeal to universal suffrage. In a word, the constitutional solution questions the entire political status quo and behind the jeopardizing of the status quo the bourgeois sees chaos, anarchy, civil war. He sees his purchases and sales, his promissory notes, his marriages, his agreements duly acknowledged before a notary, his mortgages, his ground rents, house rents, profits, all his contracts and sources of income called in question on the first Sunday in May, 1852, and he cannot expose himself to this risk. Behind the jeopardizing of the political status quo lurks the danger of the collapse of the entire bourgeois society. The only possible solution in the framework of the bourgeoisie is the postponement of the solution. It can save the constitutional republic only by a violation of the constitution, by the prolongation of the power of the President. This is also the last word of the press of Order, after the protracted and profound debates on the “solutions” in which it indulged after the session of the general councils. The high and mighty party of Order thus finds itself, to its shame, compelled to take seriously the ridiculous, commonplace, and, to it, odious person of the pseudo Bonaparte.

This dirty figure likewise deceived himself about the causes that clothed him more and more with the character of the indispensable man. While his party had sufficient insight to ascribe the growing importance of Bonaparte to circumstances, he believed that he owed it solely to the magic power of his name and his continual caricaturing of Napoleon. He became more enterprising every day. To offset the pilgrimages to St. Leonards and Wiesbaden, he made his round trips through France. The Bonapartists had so little faith in the magic effect of his personality that they sent with him everywhere as claquers people from the Society of December 10,[132] that organization of the Paris lumpen proletariat, packed en masse into railway trains and post chaises. They put speeches into the mouth of their marionette which, according to the reception in the different towns, proclaimed republican resignation or perennial tenacity as the keynote of the President's policy. In spite of all maneuvers these journeys were anything but triumphal processions.

When Bonaparte believed he had thus made the people enthusiastic, he set out to win the army. He caused great reviews to be held on the plain of Satory, near Versailles, at which he sought to buy the soldiers with garlic sausages, champagne, and cigars. Whereas the genuine Napoleon, amid the hardships of his campaigns of conquest, knew how to cheer up his weary soldiers with outbursts of patriarchal familiarity, the pseudo Napoleon believed it was in gratitude that the troops shouted: Vive Napoleon, vive le saucisson! [Long live Napoleon, long live the sausage!] that is, Hurrah for the Wurst [sausage], hurrah for the Hanswurst [buffoon]!

These reviews led to the outbreak of the long suppressed dissension between Bonaparte and his War Minister Hautpoul, on the one hand, and Changarnier, on the other. In Changarnier the party of Order had found its real neutral man, in whose case there could be no question of his own dynastic claims. It had designated him Bonaparte's successor. In addition, Changarnier had become the great general of the party of Order through his conduct on January 29 and June 13, 1849, the modern Alexander whose brutal intervention had, in the eyes of the timid bourgeois, cut the Gordian knot of the revolution. At bottom just as ridiculous as Bonaparte, he had thus become a power in the very cheapest manner and was set up by the National Assembly to watch the President. He himself coquetted, for example, in the matter of the salary grant, with the protection that he gave Bonaparte, and rose up ever more overpoweringly against him and the ministers. When, on the occasion of the election law, an insurrection was expected, he forbade his officers to take any orders whatever from the War Minister or the President. The press was also instrumental in magnifying the figure of Changarnier. With the complete absence of great personalities, the party of Order naturally found itself compelled to endow a single individual with the strength lacking in its class as a whole and so puff up this individual to a prodigy. Thus arose the myth of Changarnier, the “bulwark of society.” The arrogant charlatanry, the secretive air of importance with which Changarnier condescended to carry the world on his shoulders, forms the most ridiculous contrast to the events during and after the [last] Satory review, which irrefutably proved that it needed only a stroke of the pen by Bonaparte, the infinitely little, to bring this fantastic offspring of bourgeois fear, the colossus Changarnier, back to the dimensions of mediocrity and transform him, society's heroic savior, into a pensioned general.

Bonaparte had for some time been revenging himself on Changarnier by provoking the War Minister to disputes in matters of discipline with the irksome protector. The last review at Satory finally brought the old animosity to a climax. The constitutional indignation of Changarnier knew no bounds when he saw the cavalry regiments file past with the unconstitutional cry: Vive l'Empereur! [Long live the Emperor!] In order to forestall any unpleasant debate on this cry in the coming session of the Chamber, Bonaparte removed War Minister Hautpoul by appointing him governor of Algiers. In his place he put a reliable old general of the time of the Empire, one who was fully a match for Changarnier in brutality. But so that the dismissal of Hautpoul might not appear as a concession to Changarnier, he simultaneously transferred General Neumayer, the right hand of the great savior of society, from Paris to Nantes. It was Neumayer who at the last review had induced the whole of the infantry to file past the successor of Napoleon in icy silence. Changarnier, himself attacked in the person of Neumayer, protested and threatened. To no purpose. After two days' negotiations, the decree transferring Neumayer appeared in the Moniteur, and there was nothing left for the hero of Order but to submit to discipline or resign.

Bonaparte's struggle with Changarnier is the continuation of his struggle with the party of Order. The reopening of the National Assembly on November 11 will therefore take place under threatening auspices. It will be a storm in a teacup. In essence the old game must go on. Meanwhile the majority of the party of Order will, despite the clamor of the sticklers for principle in its different factions, be compelled to prolong the power of the President. Similarly, Bonaparte, already humbled by lack of money, will, despite all preliminary protestations, accept this prolongation of power from the hands of the National Assembly as simply delegated to him. Thus the solution is postponed; the status quo continued; one faction of the party of Order compromised, weakened, made unworkable by the other; the repression of the common enemy, the mass of the nation, extended and exhausted — until the economic relations themselves have again reached the point of development where a new explosion blows into the air all these squabbling parties with their constitutional republic.

For the peace of mind of the bourgeois it must be said, however, that the scandal between Bonaparte and the party of Order has the result of ruining a multitude of small capitalists on the Bourse and putting their assets into the pockets of the big wolves of the Bourse.


14. The continuation of the three foregoing chapters is found in the Revue in the fifth and sixth double issue of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, the last to appear. Here, after the great commercial crisis that broke out in England in 1847 had first been described and the coming to a head of the political complications on the European continent in the revolutions of February and March, 1848, had been explained by its reactions there, it is then shown how the prosperity of trade and industry that again set in during the course of 1848 and increased still further in 1849 paralyzed the revolutionary upsurge and made possible the simultaneous victories of the reaction. With special reference to France, it is then said: — Written by Engels for the 1895 edition, as an introductory paragraph to Section IV.

15. Lamourette's kiss. On July 7, 1792, Bishop Adrien Lamourette, a deputy in the Legislative Assembly, proposed that party dissensions be ended with a fraternal kiss. The deputies enthusiastically embraced each other then, but the fraternal embrace was soon forgotten. French wits came to use the expression to denote a trivial love affair.

16. In the realms of the unbelievers; referring to the non-Christian dioceses to which Catholic bishops were assigned by the Early Church.

121. The reference is to the discovery of gold in California in 1848. Along with the discovery of rich deposits of gold in Australia in 1851, the Californian discovery added to the industrial and stock-exchange agitation in capitalist countries.

122. Proudhon expressed this point of view in his polemics against the bourgeois economist Frederic Bastiat, published in La Voix du peuple from November 1849 to February 1850 and reproduced in a separate edition which appeared in Paris in 1850 under the title Gratuite du credit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon.

123. In 1797 the British Government issued a special Bank Restriction Act making bank-notes legal tender and suspending the payment of gold for them.

Convertibility was reintroduced only in 1821 in conformity with a law passed in 1819.

125. The reference is to the commission of 17 Orleanists and Legitimists - deputies to the Legislative Assembly – appointed by the Minister of the Interior on May 1, 1850, to draft a new electoral law. Its members were nicknamed burgraves, a name borrowed from the title of Victor Hugo’s historical drama as an allusion to their unwarranted claims to power and their reactionary aspirations. The drama is set in medieval Germany where the Burggraf was governor of a Burg (city) or a district, appointed by the Emperor.

127. Baiser-Lamourette (Lamourette’s kiss) – an allusion to an incident during the French Revolution. On July 7, 1792, Lamourette, deputy to the Legislative Assembly, proposed to end all party dissension with a fraternal kiss, and the representatives of the hostile parties, in accordance with this proposal, embraced one another. The following day, however, the struggle among the parties flared up with fresh vigour.

129. The reference is to a new ministry to be appointed if the Bourbon dynasty was restored in the person of the Legitimist pretender to the throne, Count Chambord. It was to consist of de Levis, de Saint-Priest, Berryer, de Pastoret and d’Escars.

130. The reference is to the so-called Wiesbaden Manifesto – a circular drawn up in Wiesbaden on August 30, 1850, by de Barthélemy, secretary of the Legitimist faction in the Legislative Assembly, on the instruction of Count Chambord (de Barthélemy, La conspiration légitimiste avouée, in Le Peuple de 1850 No. 24, September 22, 1850). The circular was the Legitimists’ policy statement in case they came to power. Count Chambord declared that he “officially and categorically rejects any appeal to the people, because it will signify a negation of the great national principle of hereditary monarchy.” This statement evoked protests among the Legitimists themselves, notably from a group headed by La Rochejaquelein, and polemics in the press.

131. An allusion to the expiration of Louis Bonaparte’s presidential powers. In the text the date is not exact. According to the Constitution of the French Republic, presidential elections were to be held every four years on the second Sunday in May, on which day the powers of the incumbent President expired.

132. The Society of December 10 (Dix Decembre) – a Bonapartist organisation founded in 1849 and consisting mainly of declassed elements, political adventurists, the reactionary military. Many of its members helped to elect Louis Bonaparte as President of the Republic on December 10, 1848, hence its name. This organisation played an active part in the Bonapartist coup d’état on December 2, 1851. Marx describes the society in his The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.

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