Answer to Question #194354 in History for Ukahle

Question #194354

Analyse the reasons why France experienced continuous political instability in the period between 1814 and 1852

Expert's answer

Political problems in France were compounded by Napoleon's rash bet and the errors made during the first restoration. The Bourbons' dilemma, namely, how to reach a stable balance between those Frenchmen who saw the Revolutionary reforms as inevitable and those who were determined to restore the ancien régime, would have been complicated enough even without these tensions. Following a year of tumultuous relations between these centrist ministers and the ultra-powerful Chamber, Europe became deeply concerned about the restored monarchy's viability. The invading powers' representatives started to communicate their displeasure to the monarch. Finally, in September 1816, his ministers convinced him to disband the Chamber and call new elections, which resulted in a strong victory for the moderate royalists.


The liberal left made slow yet steady progress throughout the period of moderate rule (1816–20). Despite the tightly limited suffrage, every year one-fifth of the Chamber was up for elections, and each year more independents gained seats. The ultras predicted tragedy for the regime and the nation, but the king clung tenaciously to his favorite, Decazes, who by this time was in all but name the head of the government, and Decazes, in turn, clung to his middle path. The assassination of the king's nephew, Charles-Ferdinand de Bourbon, Duc de Berry, in February 1820, threw the fragile equilibrium into disarray. The killer, a zealous Bonapartist, proudly declared his goal: to end the royal line by assassinating the last Bourbon already young enough to bear a male heir.

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