July Revolution 1830

July Revolution (1830)


in France, the bourgeois revolution that put an end to the Bourbon monarchy.

The regime of the Restoration, based on the nobility and clergy, was retarding the country’s economic development. The industrial crisis and depression of 1827–30 and the crop failures of 1828 and 1829 worsened the already grave situation of the toiling masses and hastened the growth of revolutionary consciousness. Discontent was also increasing among the liberal bourgeoisie, who sought economic and political reforms to accelerate the capitalist development of the country. The immediate cause of the revolution was the ordinances, signed by the king on July 25 and published on July 26, 1830, that dissolved the Chamber of Deputies (which had been dominated by the liberal bourgeoisie), limited the franchise through imposition of a landed-property qualification, and increased the repression of the progressive press.

In Paris on July 27 an armed mass uprising broke out, calling for defense of the Charter of 1814 and dismissal of the Polignac cabinet; the workers and artisans, supported by the petite and middle bourgeoisie and the progressive segment of the intelligentsia, were the chief driving force of the uprising. On July 29 the insurgents gained control of the Tuileries Palace and other governmental buildings. The royal troops, defeated, left Paris, some regiments joining forces with the people. Revolutionary outbursts in provincial towns also ended in defeat for the defenders of the ancien régime. Power in the capital passed into the hands of the Municipal Commission, headed by influential figures from the moderate liberal wing of the big bourgeoisie (including the bankers J. Laffitte and C. Perier and General M. J. P. La Fayette). The weakness of petit bourgeois democracy and the lack of organization among the working class allowed the upper bourgeoisie to appropriate all the gains of the people’s triumph and prevent the further development of the revolutionary process. Despite protests from republican groups the Chamber of Deputies, in which the Orléanists held a dominant position, decided to transfer the crown to the Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe, who was closely connected with the big bankers. On Aug. 2, 1830, Charles X renounced the throne, and Louis Philippe was proclaimed King of the French on August 7.

The revolution had rather limited political results. A new constitution, the Charter of 1830, brought about a certain lowering (in comparison with the Charter of 1814) of the property and age qualifications for voters; extreme reactionary government bureaucrats and army officers were purged; regional and local self-government was introduced; and the authority of the crown was somewhat reduced. However, the working masses and small proprietors did not receive the right to vote, and laws against trade unions and workers’ strikes remained in force, as did the heavy indirect taxes. The police and bureaucratic apparatus that had evolved during the Napoleonic empire was preserved; it merely passed into other hands.

Despite the limited character of the July Revolution, it had great progressive significance: it overthrew the political domination of the aristocracy and put an end to attempts at restoring in any form whatever the feudal-absolutist order. Power conclusively passed from the nobility to the bourgeoisie, although not to the entire bourgeoisie but only to one segment, the financial aristocracy (that is, the upper circle of the commercial, industrial, and banking bourgeoisie). In 1830 bourgeois monarchy was established in France. The July Revolution, which was greeted ardently by the progressive people of many countries, dealt a serious blow to the reactionary Holy Alliance. The attempts of the ruling circles of Russia, Austria, and Prussia to organize military intervention against France with the aim of restoring its old dynasty proved futile because of the contradictions among the European states and because of revolutionary outbursts in many countries on the continent. Eventually all the European states came to recognize the July Monarchy.


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