free ebooks

A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Given at the Palace of the Elysee

"II.--Universal suffrage is re-established. The law of May 31 is abrogated.

"III.--The French People are convoked in their electoral districts from the 14th December to the 21st December following.

"IV.--The State of Siege is decreed in the district of the first Military Division.

"V.--The Council of State is dissolved.

"VI.--The Minister of the Interior is charged with the execution of this decree.

"Given at the Palace of the Elysee, 2d December, 1851.


"DE MORNY, Minister of the Interior."

[Sidenote: A Napoleonic address]

Together with this decree Louis Napoleon issued this appeal to the people:

"FRENCHMEN! The present situation can last no longer. Every day which passes enhances the dangers of the country. The Assembly, which ought to be the firmest support of order, has become a focus of conspiracies. The patriotism of three hundred of its members has been unable to check its fatal tendencies. Instead of making laws in the public interest it forges arms for civil war; it attacks the power which I hold directly from

the People, it encourages all bad passions, it compromises the tranquillity of France; I have dissolved it, and I constitute the whole People a judge between it and me. The men who have ruined two monarchies wish to tie my hands in order to overthrow the Republic; my duty is to frustrate their treacherous schemes, to maintain the Republic, and to save the Country by appealing to the solemn judgment of France.

"Such is my firm conviction. If you share it, declare it by your votes. If, on the contrary, you prefer a government without strength, Monarchical or Republican, borrowed I know not from what past, or from what chimerical future, answer in the negative.

"But if you believe that the cause of which my name is the symbol--that is to say, France regenerated by the Revolution of '89, and organized by the Emperor, is to be still your own, proclaim it by sanctioning the powers which I ask from you.

"Then France and Europe will be preserved from anarchy, obstacles will be removed, rivalries will have disappeared, for all will respect, in the decision of the People, the decree of Providence.

"Given at the Palace of the Elysee, 2d December, 1851. LOUIS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE."

[Sidenote: The Second December]

[Sidenote: Summary executions]

[Sidenote: Proscription]

During the same day the Assembly was dissolved by troops. Attempts at public protests were roughly suppressed. A few barricades were thrown up, but the crowds were quickly dispersed, and those agitators who were caught were hurried off to prison. On December 4, the troops were ordered out in force, and proceeded to clear the streets. Nearly a thousand persons were shot during the course of the day. The insurrection was stamped out. A few days later, when the National Assembly tried to meet again, a hundred and eighty members were arrested. Then appeared two parallel lists of names. One contained the names of those who could be counted on for the purposes of Prince Napoleon. They were all created members of a consultative committee, which was to sit "until the reorganization of the legislative party." The other list contained the names of those who were proscribed from French territory, from Algeria, and from the colonies "for the sake of public safety." Among them were Victor Hugo, Thiers, Baune, Laboulaye, Theodore Bac, and Lamarque. Many hundreds of compromised Republicans fled before they were proscribed. Others were transported across the borders without any publication of the fact. Still others were summarily shot in the barrack courtyards.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us