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Differences Between Ranks in The French Revolution of 1848

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The French Revolution of 1848 was the first of the revolutions happening all across Europe during the year 1848. The goal of these revolutions was to remove the old governments and create independent nations throughout Europe. The French revolution ended the July Monarchy (Louis Philippe) and made the French Second Republic. There were two different periods: the June days and the February days. There was a lot of fighting between the different ranks in France. 

First, there were a ton of differences between the various ranks in France. There were multiple kinds of revolutionaries: the socialists, the bourgeois, and the peasants. The socialists were mostly popular with the working-class people of France. They wanted things like economic and social reforms along with an end to privately-owned property. The bourgeois, who were liberals, wanted political reforms. In the beginning, the workers and the bourgeois were friendly to each other and were working towards the common goal of overthrowing the current monarchy. However, once that goal was met, the bourgeois got rid of a whole bunch of worker’s jobs. The workers weren’t so chummy with the bourgeois after that, which led to the June days. There were also the peasants, who didn’t like and thus attacked the workers because they thought the socialists planned to take peasant land. That didn’t go well for the peasants. 

The February days. An interesting fact: since gatherings and demonstrations of political nature were banned in France, they held “fund-raising banquets” instead. This loophole worked, and attendees would successfully be able to criticize the current government. The banquets lasted from July 1847 to February 1848, when the government caught on to what they were doing and banned the banquets. As a consequence, the people revolted against Louis Philippe. The first fighting was the revolting populace versus the municipal guards of Paris, which began on February 22, 1848. This fighting caused the current prime minister, François Guizot, to step down the next day. When the revolting populace caught word of his resignation, they gathered outside of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building. Later that day, in an accidental shooting, Parisian guards shot and killed fifty-two of the gathered people. Sometime during the remainder of the fighting, Louis Philippe abdicated. A couple days after this, on February 26, 1848, the Second Republic was elected. 

After that, the June days. They happened from June 23 to June 26, 1848. The Second Republic, who was currently in control of France, wanted to close the National Workshops. The National Workshops were composed of various jobs provided to the surplus of unemployed French citizens. While successful, they cost the Second Republic too much to maintain, and attempted taxes did not help. Thus, after hearing about the Second Republic’s plans, the workers revolted. In response to their revolt, the National Guard was directed to quench the rebellion. The statistics for what the National Guard accomplished over these three days are astonishing. Ten thousand workers were injured or killed and another four thousand were deported to Algeria. Things didn’t only go badly for the workers, either. The National Guard and French army combined lost one thousand five hundred soldiers. In just three days, the liberals beat the radicals. 

As mentioned throughout this essay, the most common choice across groups for defending their ideals is revolting and fighting. Some examples are the peasants attacking the socialists because they thought they wanted to take peasant land or the workers revolting against the Second Republic to keep their jobs. However, some ranks used peaceful methods of supporting their ideals as well. The people of France held nonviolent political banquets in which they would criticize the current government. 

All in all, there were plenty of differences between the different ranks in the French Revolution of 1848. Eventually they succeeded in removing the old government in France. This story ended happily, but not all of the revolutions across Europe were successful.

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