Synopses & Reviews
This book is about politicisation and political choice, in the aftermath of the February Revolution of 1848, and the emergence of democracy in France. The introduction of male suffrage both encouraged expectations of social transformation and aroused intense fear. In these circumstances the election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte as President of the Republic - and his subsequent coup d'état - were the essential features of a counter-revolutionary process which involved the creation of a system of democracy as the basis of regime legitimacy and as a prelude to greater liberalisation. The State positively encouraged the act of voting. But what did it mean? How did people perceive politics? How did communities and groups participate in political activity? These and many other questions concern the relationships between local issues and personalities, and the national political culture, all of which impinged on communities increasingly as a result of substantial social and political change.
"...a fascinating reconstruction of political life in France during the era of Louis-Napoleon...crisp and discerning presentation. Highly recommended." L.A. Rollo, York College of Pennsylvania, CHOICE
Why do people take an interest in politics? What do they hope to gain from voting? Why support one political "party" rather than another? To what extent is political behavior rooted in "class" or community? Although these are all questions which might be asked of emerging Third World countries, the focus in this study is on nineteenth-century Europe and, in particular, the aftermath of the 1848 Revolution in France. It covers responses to the counter-revolutionary policies of the imperial regime of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte following his coup d'état and the subsequent emergence of democracy in that country.
About the Author
Roger Price is Professor of History, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His recent book The French Second Empire: An Anatomy of Political Power was published by Cambridge in 2001.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. Dominant classes: the social elites; 2. Coming to terms with 'democracy'; 3. Aspiring social groups: the middle classes; 4. Peasants and rural society: a dominated class?; 5. Peasants and politics; 6. The formation of a working class; 7. The working class challenge: socialisation and political choice; Conclusion.