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Full text of "The eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte"

KARL MARX 

THE 

EIGHTEENTH 

BRUMAIRE 

OF LOUIS 

BONAPARTE 



FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS 
PEKING 




First Edition 1978 



Prepared ©for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@cruzio.com (January 1998) 
PDF created by dudemanS 6 85 @ yahoo.com 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

The present English edition of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte substantially follows 
previous English translations. Certain adjustments of wording and style based on a check with the 
original have been made. 

The footnotes and the notes at the end of the book are based on those in the Chinese and 
previous English editions. 



CONTENTS 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE SECOND 
EDITION 

F. ENGELS' PREFACE TO THE THIRD 
GERMAN EDITION 

EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE OF LOUIS 
BONAPARTE 

I 9 

n 21 

m 37 

IV 57 

V 70 

VI 94 

Vn 119 

NOTES 140 



THE EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE 
OF LOUIS BONAPARTEm 



Written between December 1851 Original in German 

and March 1852 

Published as the first issue of the 
magazine Die Revolution, New 
York, 1852 



AUTHOR S PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 



My friend Joseph Weydemeyer,[n whose death was so untimely, intended to 
pubhsh a pohtical weekly in New York starting from January 1, 1852. He invited 
me to provide this magazine with a history of the coup d'etat. So, until the middle 
of February, I wrote him weekly articles under the title: The Eighteenth Brumaire 
of Louis Bonaparte. Meanwhile Weydemeyer's original plan had fallen through. 
Instead, in the spring of 1852 he began to publish a monthly. Die Revolution, the 
first number of which consists of my Eighteenth Brumaire. A few hundred copies 
of this found their way into Germany at that time, without, however, getting into 
the actual book trade. A German bookseller of extremely radical pretensions 
whom I approached for sales was filled with righteous horror at such an "ill-timed 
proposition." 

From the above facts it will be seen that the present work took shape under the 
immediate pressure of events and its historical material does not extend beyond 
the month of 



* Military commandant of the St. Louis district during the American Civil War. [Note by Marx.] 
page 4 

February (1852). Its re-publication now is due partly to the demand of the book 
trade, and partly to the urgent requests of my friends in Germany. 

Among the writings dealing with the same subject at approximately the same 
time as mine, there are only two which deserve notice: Victor Hugo's 
Napol&eacuteon le Petit [Napoleon the Little ] and Proudhon's Coup dEtat. 

Victor Hugo confines himself to bitter and witty invective against the man who 
was responsible for the coup d'etat. The event itself appears in his work like a bolt 
from the blue. He sees in it only the violent act of a single individual. He does not 
notice that he makes this individual great instead of little by ascribing to him a 
personal power of initiative, which would be unparalleled in world history. 
Proudhon, for his part, seeks to represent the coup d'etat as the result of the 
preceding historical development. Unnoticeably, however, his historical 
construction of the coup d'etat becomes a historical apologia for its hero. Thus he 
falls into the error of our so-called objective historians. I, on the contrary, 
demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and 
relationships that made it possible for a grotesque and mediocre personality to 
play a hero's part. 



A revision of the present work would have robbed it of its pecuhar colouring. I 
have therefore confined myself to the mere correction of printer's errors and to 
striking out allusions now no longer intelligible. 

The concluding words of my work: "But when the imperial mantle finally falls 
on the shoulders of Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue of Napoleon will crash 
from the top of the Vendome Column," have already been fulfilled. 

Colonel Charras opened the attack on the Napoleon cult in his work on the 
campaign of 1815. m Subsequently, particu- 

pageS 

larly in the last few years, French literature has put an end to the Napoleon legend 
with the weapons of historical research, criticism, satire and wit. Outside France 
this violent breach with traditional popular belief, this tremendous mental 
revolution, has hardly been noticed and still less understood. 

Lastly, I hope that my work will contribute towards eliminating the school- 
taught phrase now current, particularly in Germany, of so-called Caesarism. In 
this superficial historical analogy the main point is forgotten, namely, that in 
ancient Rome the class struggle took place only within a privilegged minority, 
between the free rich and the free poor, while the great productive mass of the 
population, the slaves, was merely the passive pedistal for these combatants. 
People forget Sismondi 's significant saying: The Roman proletariat lived at the 
expense of society, while modern society lives at the expense of the proletariat, m 
The difference between the material, economic conditions of the ancient and the 
modern class struggles is so complete that the political figures produced by them 
can likewise have no more in common with one another that the Archbishop of 
Canterbury has with the High Priest Samuel. 

Karl Marx 

London, June 23, 1869 

Published in the second edition Original in German 

of Marx's The Eighteenth Bru- 
maire of Louis Bonaparte, Ham- 
burg, July 1869 



page 6 



F. ENGELS' PREFACE 
TO THE THIRD GERMAN EDITION 



The fact that a new edition of The Eighteenth Brumaire has become necessary, 
33 years after its first appearance, proves that even today this httle book has lost 
none of its value. 

It was in truth a work of genius. Immediately after the event that struck the 
whole political world like a thunderbolt from the blue, that was condemned by 
some with loud cries of moral indignation and accepted by others as salvation 
from the revolution and as punishment for its errors, but was only wondered at by 
all and understood by none ~ immediately after this event, Marx came out with a 
concise, epigrammatic exposition that laid bare the whole course of French 
history since the February days in its inner connection, reduced the miracle of 
December 2[4] to a natural necessary result of this connection and in so doing did 
not even need to treat the hero of the coup d'etat with anything other than the 
contempt he so well deserved. And the picture was drawn with such a masterly 
hand that every fresh disclosure since made has only provided fresh proofs 

page? 

of how faithfully it reflected reality. This eminent understanding of the living 
history of the day, this clear-sighted appraisal of events at the moment of 
happening, is indeed without parallel. 

But to achieve this, Marx's thorough knowledge of French history was needed. 
France is the country where, more than anywhere else, the historical class 
struggles were fought out to a decisive conclusion every time, and where, 
consequently, the changing political forms within which they move and in which 
their results are summarized have been stamped in the sharpest outlines. The 
centre of feudalism in the Middle Ages, the model of a unified monarchy based 
on social estates since the Renaissance, France demolished feudalism in the Great 
Revolution and established the rule of the bourgeoisie in a classical purity 
unequalled by any other European land. And the struggle of the aspiring 
proletariat against the ruling bourgeoisie appeared here in an acute form unknown 
elsewhere. This was the reason why Marx not only studied the past history of 
France with particular predilection, but also followed her current history in every 
detail, stored up the material for future use and, consequently, events never took 
him by surprise. 

In addition to this, however, there was yet another factor. It was precisely Marx 
who had first discovered the great law of the motion of history, the law according 
to which all historical struggles, whether they occur in the political, religious, 
philosophical or some other ideological domain, are in fact only the more or less 
clear expression of the struggles of social classes, and that the existence of, and 
thereby the collisions, too, between these classes are in turn conditioned by the 



degree of development of their economic position, by the mode of their 
production and exchange determined by it. 

pages 

This law, which has the same significance for history as the law of the 
transformation of energy has for natural science ~ this law gave him here, too, the 
key to an understanding of the history of the Second French Republic. He put his 
law to the test on these historical events, and even after 33 years we must still say 
that it has stood the test brilliantly. 

Frederick Engels 



Written in 1885 

Published in the third edition of 
Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire 
of Louis Bonaparte, Hamburg, 
1885 



Translated from the German 



page 9 



THE EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE 
OF LOUIS BONAPARTE 



I 



Hegel remarks somewhere that all the events and personalities of great 
importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first 
time as tragedy, the second as farce. Caussidiere for Danton, Louis Blanc for 
Robespierre, the Montague of 1848-51 for the Montague of 1793-95, the Nephew 
for the Uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances attending the 
second edition of the eighteenth Brumaire! 



Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they 
do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under given 
circumstances directly encountered and inherited from the past. The tradition of 
all the generations of the dead weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. 
And just when they seem involved in revolutionizing themselves and things, in 
creating something that has never before existed, it is precisely in such periods of 
revolutionary crisis that they anxiously conjure up the spirits 



page 10 

of the past to their service and borrow names, battle cries and costumes from them 
in order to act out the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise 
and this borrowed language. Thus Luther donned the mask of the Apostle Paul, 
the Revolution of 1789-1814 draped itself alternately as the Roman repubhc and 
the Roman empire, and the Revolution of 1848 could do nothing better than 
parody 1789 one minute, and the revolutionary tradition of 1793-95 the next. In a 
similar way a beginner who has learned a new language always translates it back 
into his mother tongue, but he has assimilated the spirit of the new language and 
can freely express himself in it only when he can use it without recalling the old 
and forgets his native tongue in the use of the new. 

If we consider this conjuring up of the dead of world history, a salient 
difference is revealed immediately. Camille Desmoulins, Danton, Robespierre, 
Saint- Just, Napoleon, the heroes as well as the parties and the masses of the old 
French Revolution, performed the task of their time in Roman costume and with 
Roman phrases, the task of unchaining and setting up modern bourgeois society. 
The first ones smashed the feudal basis to pieces and mowed down the feudal 
heads which had grown on it. The other created inside France the only conditions 
under which free competition could be developed, parcelled landed property 
exploited and the unchained industrial productive power of the nation employed; 
and everywhere beyond the French borders he swept the feudal institutions away, 
to the extent necessary to provide bourgeois society in France with a suitable up- 
to-date environment on the European Continent. Once the new social formation 
was established, the antediluvian Colossi disappeared and with them resurrected 
Romanity ~ the Brutuses, 

page 11 

Gracchi, Publicolas, the tribunes, the senators, and Caesar himself. Bourgeois 
society in its sober reality had begotten its true interpreters and mouthpieces in the 
Says, Cousins, Royer-CoUards, Benjamin Constants and Guizots; its real military 
leaders sat behind the office desks, and the hog-headed Louis XVIII was its 
political chief. Wholly absorbed in the production of wealth and in the peaceful 
struggle of competition, it no longer comprehended that the ghosts of Roman 
times had watched over its cradle. But unheroic as bourgeois society is, it 
nevertheless took heroism, sacrifice, terror, civil war and the battles of nations to 
bring it into being. And in the classically austere traditions of the Roman republic 
its gladiators found the ideals and the art forms, the self-deceptions that they 
needed in order to conceal from themselves the bourgeois limitations of the 
content of their struggles and to keep their zeal on the high plane of the great 
historical tragedy. Similarly, at another stage of development, a century earlier, 
Cromwell and the English people had borrowed speech, passions and illusions 
from the Old Testament for their bourgeois revolution. When the real aim had 
been achieved, when the bourgeois transformation of English society had been 
accomplished, Locke supplanted Habakkuk. 



Thus the awakening of the dead in those revolutions served the purpose of 
glorifying the new struggles, not of parodying the old; of magnifying the given 
task in the imagination, not of fleeing from its solution in reality; of finding the 
spirit of revolution once more, not of making its ghost walk about again. 

From 1848 to 1851 only the ghost of the old revolution walked about, from 
Marrast, the r&eacutepublicain en gants 

page 12 

jaunes,[n who disguised himself as the old Bailly, down to the adventurer, who 
hides his commonplace repulsive features under the iron death mask of Napoleon. 
An entire people, which had imagined that by means of a revolution it had 
imparted to itself an accelerated power of motion, suddenly finds itself set back 
into a defunct epoch and, in order that no doubt as to the relapse may be possible, 
the old dates arise again, the old chronology, the old names, the old edicts, which 
had long become a subject of antiquarian erudition, and the old minions of the 
law, who had seemed long decayed. The nation feels like that mad Englishman in 
Bedlam, who fancies that he lives in the times of the ancient Pharaohs and daily 
bemoans the hard labour that he must perform in the Ethiopian mines as a gold 
digger, immured in this subterranean prison, a dimly burning lamp fastened to his 
head, the overseer of the slaves behind him with a long whip, and at the exits a 
confused welter of barbarian mercenaries, who understand neither the forced 
labourers in the mines nor one another, since they speak no common language. 
"And all this is expected of me," sighs the mad Englishman, "of me, a free-born 
Briton, in order to make gold for the old Pharaohs." "In order to pay the debts of 
the Bonaparte family," sighs the French nation. The Englishman, so long as he 
was in his right mind, could not get rid of his fixation on making gold. The 
French, so long as they were engaged in revolution, could not get rid of the 
memory of Napoleon, as the election of December 10[5] proved They hankered to 
return from the perils of revolution to the fleshpots of Egypt,[6] and December 2, 
1851 was the answer. They have not only a caricature of the old Napoleon, they 



* Republican in kid gloves. --Ed. 

page 13 

have caricatured the old Napoleon himself as he must appear in the middle of the 
19th century. 

The social revolution of the 19th century cannot draw its poetry from the past, 
but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped off all 
superstition with regard to the past. Earlier revolutions required recollections of 
past world history in order to drug themselves against their own content. In order 
to arrive at its own content, the revolution of the 19th century must let the dead 



bury their dead. Then the words went beyond the content; now the content goes 
beyond the words. 

The February Revolution was a surprise attack, a taking of the old society 
unawares, and the people proclaimed this unexpected stroke as a deed of world 
importance, ushering in a new epoch. On December 2 the February Revolution is 
conjured away by a cardsharper's trick, and what seems overthrown is no longer 
the monarchy but the liberal concessions that were wrung from it by a century of 
struggle. Instead of society having conquered a new content for itself, it seems 
that the state only returned to its oldest form, to the shamelessly simple 
domination of the sabre and the cowl. Such is the reply of the coup de t&ecircte < 
FONT SIZE=-2>[*] of December 1851 to the coup de main [**] of February 1848. 
Easy come, easy go. Meanwhile time has not been entirely wasted. During the 
years 1848-51 French society has made up for the studies and experiences ~ 
albeit by a method which is condensed because it is revolutionary ~ which, in a 
regular, so to speak, textbook course of development should have preceded the 
February Revolution, if it was to be more than a ruffling of the surface. Society 



* Rash act. —Ed. 

** Unexpected stroke. --Ed. 

page 14 

how seems to have fallen back behind its point of departure; it has in truth first to 
create for itself the revolutionary point of departure, the situation, the relations, 
the conditions under which alone modern revolution becomes serious. 

Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the 18th century, storm swiftly from 
success to success; their dramatic effects outdo each other; men and things seem 
set in sparkling brilliants; ecstasy is the everyday spirit; but they are short-lived; 
soon they have attained their zenith, and a long crapulent depression lays hold of 
society before it learns soberly to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress 
period. On the other hand, proletarian revolutions, like those of the 19th century, 
criticize themselves constantly, interrupt themselves continually in their own 
course, come back to the apparently accomplished in order to begin it afresh, 
deride with unmerciful thoroughness the inadequacies, weaknesses and 
paltrinesses of their first attempts, seem to throw down their adversary only in 
order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them again 
even more gigantic, recoil ever and anon from the indefinite prodigiousness of 
their own aims, until a situation has been created which makes all turning back 
impossible, and the conditions themselves cry out: 

Hie Rhodus, hie salta! 

Here is the rose, here dance! m 



For the rest, every fairly competent observer, even if he had not followed the 
course of French developments step by step, must have had a presentiment that an 
unheard-of fiasco was in store for the revolution. It was enough to hear the self- 
complacent howl of victory with which Messieurs the Democrats congratulated 
each other on the expected favour- 
page 15 

able consequences of the second Sunday in May 1852.[8] In their minds, the 
second Sunday in May 1852 had become a fixed idea, a dogma, like the day on 
which Christ should reappear and the millennium begin, in the minds of the 
Chiliasts. As ever, weakness had taken refuge in a belief in miracles, fancied the 
enemy overcome when he was only conjured away in the imagination, and it lost 
all understanding of the present in a passive glorification of the future that was in 
store and of the deeds it had in petto but which it merely did not want to carry out 
as yet. Those heroes who seek to disprove their demonstrated incompetence by 
offering each other their sympathy and by ganging together had tied up their 
bundles, collected their laurel wreaths in advance and were just then engaged on 
the exchange market in discounting the republics in partibus m for which they had 
already providently organized the government personnel with all the calm of their 
unassuming disposition. December 2 struck them like a thunderbolt from the blue, 
and the peoples, who in periods of pusillanimous depression gladly let their 
inward apprehension be drowned by the loudest bawlers, will perchance have 
convinced themselves that the times are past when the cackle of geese could save 
the Capitol. [10] 

The Constitution, the National Assembly, the dynastic parties, the blue and the 
red republicans, the heroes of Africa,[n] the thunder from the platform, the sheet 
lightning of the daily press, the entire literature, the political names and the 
intellectual reputations, the civil law and the penal code, the liberte, 
&eacutegalite, fraternite and the second Sunday in May 1852 ~ all has vanished 
like a phantasmagoria before the spell of a man whom even his enemies do not 
make out to be a sorcerer. Universal suffrage seems to have survived only for a 
moment, in order that with its own hand it may make its 

page 16 

last will and testament for all the world to see and declare in the name of the 
people itself: All that exists deserves to perish. [i2] 

It is not enough to say, as the French do, that their nation was taken unawares. 
A nation and a woman are not forgiven the unguarded hour in which the first 
adventurer that came along could violate them. The riddle is not solved by such 
turns of speech, but merely formulated differently. It remains to be explained how 
a nation of 36 millions can be surprised and delivered unresisting into captivity by 
three swindlers. 



Let us briefly retrace the phases that the French Revolution went through from 
February 24, 1848 to December 1851. 

Three main periods are unmistakable: the February period ; May 4, 1848 to 
May 28, 1849: the period of the constitution of the republic, or of the Constituent 
National Assembly ; May 28, 1849 to December 2, 1851: tht period of the 
constitutional republic or of the Legislative National Assembly. 

Tht first period, from February 24, or the overthrow of Louis Philippe, to May 
4, 1848, the meeting of the Constituent Assembly, the February period iproiptY, 
may be described as the prologue to the revolution. Its character was officially 
expressed in the fact that the government improvised by it itself declared that it 
was provisional and, like the government, everything that was mooted, attempted 
or enunciated during this period proclaimed itself to be only provisional. Nothing 
and nobody ventured to lay claim to the right of existence and of concrete action. 
All the elements that had prepared or determined the revolution, the dynastic 
opposition,[i3] the republican bourgeoisie, the democratic-republican petty 
bourgeoisie and the social-democratic workers, provisionally found their place in 
the February government. 

page 17 

It could not be otherwise. The February days originally intended an electoral 
reform, by which the circle of the politically privileged among the propertied 
class itself was to be widened and the exclusive domination of the financial 
aristocracy overthrown. When it came to the actual conflict, however, when the 
people mounted the barricades, the National Guard remained passive, the army 
offered no serious resistance and the monarchy ran away, the republic appeared to 
be a matter of course. Every party construed it in its own way. Having secured it 
arms in hand, the proletariat impressed its stamp upon it and proclaimed it to be a 
social republic. In this way the general content of the modern revolution was 
indicated, a content which was in the strangest contradiction to everything that, 
with the material available, with the degree of education attained by the masses, 
under the given circumstances and relations, could be immediately realized in 
practice. On the other hand, the claims of all the remaining elements that had 
collaborated in the February Revolution were recognized by the lion's share that 
they obtained in the government. In no period do we, therefore, find a more 
confused mixture of high-flown phrases and actual uncertainty and clumsiness, of 
more enthusiastic striving for innovation and more deeply rooted domination of 
the old routine, of more apparent harmony of the whole of society and more 
profound alienation of its elements. While the Paris proletariat still revelled in the 
vision of the wide vistas that had opened before it and indulged in earnest 
discussions on social problems, the old powers of society had grouped 
themselves, assembled, reflected and found unexpected support in the mass of the 
nation, the peasants and petty bourgeois, who all at once stormed on to the 
political stage, after the barriers of the July Monarchy had fallen. 



page 18 

The second period, from May 4, 1848 to the end of May 1849, is the period of 
the constitution, the foundation, of the bourgeois republic. Immediately after the 
February days not only had the dynastic opposition been surprised by the 
republicans and the republicans by the Socialists, but all France by Paris. The 
National Assembly, which met on May 4, 1848, had emerged from the national 
elections and represented the nation. It was a living protest against the pretensions 
of the February days and was to reduce the results of the revolution to the 
bourgeois scale. In vain the Paris proletariat, which immediately grasped the 
character of this National Assembly, attempted on May 15, a few days after it 
met, to forcibly negate its existence, to dissolve it, to disintegrate again into its 
constituent parts the organic form in which the proletariat was threatened by the 
reacting spirit of the nation. As everybody knows, the only result of May 15 was 
the removal of Blanqui and his comrades, that is, of the real leaders of the 
proletarian party, from the public stage for the entire duration of the cycle we are 
considering. [14] 

The bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe can be followed only by a 
bourgeois republic, that is to say, whereas a limited section of the bourgeoisie 
ruled in the name of the king, the whole of the bourgeoisie will now rule in the 
name of the people. The demands of the Paris proletariat are Utopian nonsense, to 
which an end must be put. The Paris proletariat replied to this declaration of the 
Constituent National Assembly with the June Insurrection, the most colossal 
event in the history of European civil wars. The bourgeois republic triumphed. On 
its side stood the financial aristocracy, the industrial bourgeoisie, the middle class, 
the petty bourgeois, the army, the lumpenproletariat organized as the Mobile 
Guard, the intellectual lights, the clergy and the ru- 

page 19 

ral population. On the side of the Paris proletariat stood none but itself. More than 
3,000 insurgents were butchered after the victory, and 15,000 were transported 
without trial. With this defeat the proletariat passes into the background of the 
revolutionary stage. It attempts to press forward again on every occasion, as soon 
as the movement appears to make a fresh start, but with ever decreased 
expenditure of strength and always slighter results. As soon as one of the social 
strata situated above it gets into revolutionary ferment, the proletariat enters into 
an alliance with it and so shares all the defeats that the different parties suffer, one 
after another. But these subsequent blows become the weaker, the greater the 
surface of society over which they are distributed. The more important leaders of 
the proletariat in the Assembly and in the press successively fall victims to the 
courts, and ever more equivocal figures come to head it. Part of the proletariat 
throws itself into doctrinaire experiments, exchange banks and workers' 
associations, hence into a movement in which it renounces the revolutionizing of 
the old world by means of the latter' s own great, combined resources, and seeks, 
rather, to achieve its salvation behind society's back, in private fashion, within its 



limited conditions of existence, and hence necessarily suffers shipwreck. It seems 
unable either to rediscover revolutionary greatness in itself or to gain renewed 
energy from recently formed alliance, until all classes with which it contended in 
June themselves lie prostrate beside it. But at least it succumbs with the honours 
of the great, world-historic struggle; not only France, but all Europe trembles at 
the June earthquake, while the ensuing defeats of the upper classes are so cheaply 
bought that they require bare-faced exaggeration by the victorious party to be able 
to pass for events at all, and become the more ignom- 

page 20 

inious the further the defeated party is removed from the proletariat. 

The defeat of the June insurgents, to be sure, had now prepared and levelled the 
ground on which the bourgeois republic could be founded and built up, but it had 
shown at the same time that in Europe the questions at issue are other than that of 
"republic or monarchy." It had revealed that here bourgeois republic signifies the 
unlimited despotism of one class over other classes. It had proved that in countries 
with an old civilization, with a developed formation of classes, with modern 
conditions of production and with an intellectual consciousness in which all 
traditional ideas have been dissolved by the work of centuries, the republic 
signifies in general only the political form of revolution of bourgeois society and 
not its conservative form of life, as, for example, in the United States of North 
America, where, though classes already exist, they have not yet become fixed, but 
continually change and interchange their elements in constant flux, where the 
modern means of production, instead of coinciding with a stagnant surplus 
population, rather compensate for the relative deficiency of heads and hands, and 
where, finally, the feverish, youthful movement of material production, which has 
to make a new world its own, has left neither time nor opportunity for abolishing 
the old spirit world. 

During the June days all classes and parties had united in the party of order 
against the proletarian class as tht party of anarchy, of socialism, of communism. 
They had "saved" society from ''the enemies of society.'' They had given out the 
watchwords of the old society, "property, family, religion, order," to their army as 
passwords and had proclaimed to the counter-revolutionary crusaders: "In this 
sign thou shalt con- 
page 21 

quer!" From that moment, as soon as one of the numerous parties which had 
gathered under this sign against the June insurgents seeks to hold the 
revolutionary battlefield in its own class interest, it goes down before the cry: 
"Property, family, religion, order." Society is saved just as often as the circle of its 
rulers contracts, as a more exclusive interest is maintained against a wider one. 
Every demand of the simplest bourgeois financial reform, of the most ordinary 
liberalism, of the most formal republicanism, of the most shallow democracy, is 



simultaneously castigated as an "attempt on society" and branded as "socialism." 
And, finally, the high priests of "religion and order" themselves are driven with 
kicks from their Pythian tripods, hauled out of their beds in the darkness of night, 
bundled into prison vans, thrown into dungeons or sent into exile; their temple is 
razed to the ground, their mouths are sealed, their pens broken, their law torn to 
pieces in the name of religion, of property, of the family, of order. Bourgeois 
fanatics for order are shot down on their balconies by mobs of drunken soldiers, 
their domestic sanctuaries profaned, their houses bombarded for amusement ~ in 
the name of property, of the family, of religion and of order. Finally, the scum of 
bourgeois society forms the holy phalanx of order and the hero Crapulinski 
installs himself in the Tuileries as the ''saviour of society ." 



n 

Let us pick up the threads of the development once more. The history of the 
Constituent National Assembly since the June days is the history of the 
domination and the dis- 

page 22 

integration of the republican faction of the bourgeoisie, of that faction which is 
known by the names of tricolour republicans, pure republicans, political 
republicans, formalist republicans, etc. 

Under the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe it had formed the official 
republican opposition and consequently a recognized component part of the 
political world of the day. It had its representatives in the Chambers and a 
considerable sphere of influence in the press. Its Paris organ, the NationaUvm was 
considered just as respectable in its way as the Journal des D&eacutebats. [i6] Its 
character corresponded to this position under the constitutional monarchy. It was 
not a faction of the bourgeoisie held together by great common interests and 
marked off by specific conditions of production. It was a clique of republican- 
minded members of the bourgeoisie, writers, lawyers, officers and officials that 
owed its influence to the personal antipathies of the country against Louis 
Philippe, to memories of the old republic, to the republican faith of a number of 
enthusiasts, above all, however, to French nationalism, whose hatred of the 
Vienna treaties[n] and of the alliance with England it stirred up perpetually. A 
large part of the following that the National had under Louis Philippe was due to 
this concealed imperialism, which could consequently confront it later, under the 
republic, as a deadly rival in the person of Louis Bonaparte. It fought the financial 
aristocracy, as did all the rest of the bourgeois opposition. Polemics against the 
budget, which were closely connected in France with fighting the financial 
aristocracy, procured popularity too cheaply and material for puritanical leading 
articles too plentifully not to be exploited. The industrial bourgeoisie was grateful 



to it for its slavish defence of the French protectionist system, which it accepted, 
however, more on na- 

page 23 

tional grounds than on grounds of national economy; the bourgeoisie as a whole, 
for the paper's vicious denunciation of communism and socialism. For the rest, 
the party of the National was purely republican, that is, it demanded a republican 
instead of a monarchist form of bourgeois rule and, above all, the lion's share of 
this rule. It was by no means clear in its own mind about the conditions of this 
transformation. On the other hand, what was clear as daylight to it and was 
publicly acknowledged at the reform banquets in the last days of Louis Philippe, 
was its unpopularity with the democratic petty bourgeois and, in particular, with 
the revolutionary proletariat. These pure republicans, as is, indeed, the way with 
pure republicans, were already on the point of contenting themselves in the first 
instance with a regency of the Duchess of Orleans, when the February Revolution 
broke out and assigned their best-known representatives a place in the Provisional 
Government. From the start, they naturally had the confidence of the bourgeoisie 
and a majority in the Constituent National Assembly. The socialist elements of 
the Provisional Government were excluded forthwith from the Executive 
Commission[i8] which the National Assembly formed when it met, and the party 
of the National took advantage of the outbreak of the June Insurrection to 
discharge the Executive Commission also, and thereby to get rid of its closest 
rivals, i\\Q petty -bourgeois, or democratic, republicans (Ledru-RoUin, etc.). 
Cavaignac, the general of the bourgeois republican party who commanded the 
June massacre, took the place of the Executive Commission with a sort of 
dictatorial power. Marrast, former editor-in-chief of the National, became 
president in perpetuity of the Constituent National Assembly, and the ministries, 
as well as all other important posts, went to the pure republicans. 

page 24 

The republican bourgeois faction, which had long regarded itself as the 
legitimate heir of the July Monarchy, thus found its fondest hopes exceeded; it 
attained power, however, not as it had dreamed under Louis Philippe, through a 
liberal revolt of the bourgeoisie against the throne, but through a rising of the 
proletariat against capital, a rising laid low with grape-shot. What it had 
conceived as the most revolutionary event turned out in reality to be the most 
counter-revolutionary. The fruit fell into its lap, but it fell from the tree of 
knowledge, not from the tree of life. 

The exclusive rule of the bourgeois republicans lasted only from June 24 to 
December 10, 1848. It is summed up in the drafting of a republican constitution 
and in the state of siege of Paris. 

The new Constitution was basically only the republicanized edition of the 
constitutional Charter of 1830.[i9] The narrow electoral qualification of the July 



Monarchy, which excluded even a large part of the bourgeoisie from political 
rule, was incompatible with the existence of the bourgeois republic. The February 
Revolution had at once proclaimed direct universal suffrage in place of this 
qualification. The bourgeois republicans could not undo this event. They had to 
content themselves with adding the limiting proviso of a six months' residence in 
the constituency. The old organization of the administration, of the municipal 
system, of the judicial system, of the army, etc., remained intact, or, where the 
Constitution changed them, the change concerned the table of contents, not the 
contents; the name, not the subject matter. 

The inevitable general staff of the liberties of 1848, personal liberty, liberty of 
the press, of speech, of association, of assembly, of education and religion, etc., 
received a constitutional uniform, which made them invulnerable. For each of 

page 25 

these liberties is proclaimed as the absolute right of the French citoyen, but 
always with the marginal note that it is unlimited so far as it is not limited by the 
''equal rights of others and tht public safety " or by "laws" which are intended to 
mediate just this harmony of the individual liberties with one another and with the 
public safety. For example: "The citizens have the right of association, of peaceful 
and unarmed assembly, of petition and of expressing their opinions, whether in 
the press or in any other way. The enjoyment of these rights has no limit save the 
equal rights of others and the public safety,'' (Chapter II of the French 
Constitution, §8.) ~ "Education is free. Freedom of education shall be enjoyed 
under the conditions fixed by law and under the supreme control of the state." 
(Ibid., §9.) ~ "The home of every citizen is inviolable except in the forms 
prescribed by law." (Chapter II, §3.) Etc., etc. ~ The Constitution, therefore, 
constantly refers to future organic laws, which are to put into effect those 
marginal notes and regulate the enjoyment of these unrestricted liberties in such a 
manner that they will conflict neither with one another nor with the public safety. 
And later, these organic laws were brought into being by the friends of order and 
all those liberties regulated in such a manner that the bourgeoisie finds itself 
unhampered in its enjoyment of them by the equal rights of the other classes. 
Where it forbids these liberties entirely to "others" or permits enjoyment of them 
under conditions that are just so many police traps, this always happens solely in 
the interest of "public safety," that is, the safety of the bourgeoisie, as the 
Constitution prescribes. Consequently, both sides appeal with complete justice to 
the Constitution: the friends of order, who abrogated all these liberties, as well as 
the democrats, who demanded all of them. For each paragraph of the Con- 
page 26 

stitution contains its own antithesis, its own Upper and Lower House, namely, 
liberty in the general text, abrogation of liberty in the marginal note. Thus, so long 
as the name of freedom was respected and only its actual realization prevented, in 



a legal way of course, the constitutional existence of liberty remained intact, 
inviolate, however mortal the blows dealt to its existence in actual life. 

This Constitution, made inviolable in so ingenious a manner, was nevertheless, 
like Achilles, vulnerable in one point, not in the heel, but in the head, or rather in 
the two heads where it ended up ~ the Legislative Assembly, on the one hand, the 
President, on the other. Glance through the Constitution and you will find that 
only the paragraphs in which the relationship of the President to the Legislative 
Assembly is defined are absolute, positive, non-contradictory, and can not be 
distorted. For here it was a question of the bourgeois republicans safeguarding 
themselves. §§45-70 of the Constitution are so worded that the National 
Assembly can remove the President constitutionally, whereas the President can 
only remove the National Assembly unconstitutionally by setting aside the 
Constitution itself. Here, therefore, it provokes its forcible destruction. It not only 
sanctifies the division of powers, like the Charter of 1830, it widens it into an 
intolerable contradiction. The game of the constitutional powers, as Guizot called 
the parliamentary squabble between the legislative and executive power, is 
continually played va-banque * in the Constitution of 1848. On one side are 750 
representatives of the people, elected by universal suffrage and eligible for re- 
election; they form an uncontrollable indissoluble, indivisible National Assembly, 
a National Assembly that enjoys legislative omnipotence, decides in the 



* Staking one's all. --Ed. 

page 27 

last instance on war, peace and commercial treaties, that alone possesses the right 
of amnesty and, by its permanence, perpetually holds the front of the stage. On 
the other side is the President, with all the attributes of royal power, with authority 
to appoint and dismiss his ministers independently of the National Assembly, with 
all the resources of executive power in his hands, bestowing all posts and deciding 
thereby on the livelihood of at least 1.5 million people in France, for that is how 
many depend on the 500,000 officials and officers of every rank. He has the 
whole of the armed forces behind him. He enjoys the privilege of pardoning 
individual criminals, of suspending National Guards, of discharging, with the 
concurrence of the Council of State, general, cantonal and municipal councils 
elected by the citizens themselves. Initiative and direction are reserved to him in 
all treaties with foreign countries. While the Assembly constantly performs on the 
boards and is exposed to daily public criticism, he leads a secluded life in the 
Elysian Fields, and that with Article 45 of the Constitution before his eyes and in 
his heart, crying to him daily: ''Fr&egravere, ilfaut mourir! "[20] Your power 
ceases on the second Sunday of the lovely month of May in the fourth year after 
your election! Then your glory is at an end, there won't be a repeat performance 
and if you have debts, look to it in the meantime that you pay them off with the 
600,000 francs granted you by the Constitution, unless, perchance, you should 
prefer to go to Clichy[2i] on the second Monday of the lovely month of May! — 



Thus, whereas the Constitution assigns actual power to the President, it seeks to 
secure moral power for the National Assembly. Apart from the fact that it is 
impossible to create a moral power by paragraphs of law, the Constitution here 
abrogates itself once more by having the President elected by all Frenchmen 
through direct suf- 

page 28 

frage. While the votes of France are split up among the 750 members of the 
National Assembly, they are here, on the contrary, concentrated on a single 
individual. While each separate representative of the people represents only this 
or that party, this or that town, this or that bridgehead, or even only the mere 
necessity of electing some one as the 750th without examining too closely either 
the cause or the man, he is the nation's choice and the act of his election is the 
trump that the sovereign people plays once every four years. The elected National 
Assembly stands in a metaphysical relation, but the elected President in a personal 
relation, to the nation. The National Assembly, indeed, exhibits in its individual 
representatives the manifold aspects of the national spirit, but in the President this 
national spirit finds its incarnation. In contrast with the Assembly, he possesses a 
sort of divine right; he is President by the grace of the people. 

Thetis, the sea goddess, had prophesied to Achilles that he would die in the 
bloom of youth. The Constitution, which like Achilles, had its weak spot, had 
also, like Achilles, its presentiment that it must go to an early death. It was 
sufficient for the constitution-making pure republicans to cast a glance from the 
lofty heaven of their ideal republic at the profane world to perceive how the 
arrogance of the royalists the Bonapartists, the Democrats, the Communists as 
well as their own discredit grew daily in proportion as they approached the 
completion of their great legislative work of art, without Thetis having to leave 
the sea and communicate the secret to them. They sought to cheat destiny by a 
catch in the Constitution, through § 1 1 1 of it, according to which every motion for 
a revision of the Constitution must be supported by at least three-quarters of the 
votes, cast in three successive debates at intervals of an entire month, with the 
added pro- 
page 29 

viso that not less than 500 members of the National Assembly must vote. Thereby 
they merely made the impotent attempt still to exercise a power ~ when only a 
parliamentary minority, as which in their mind's eye they already saw themselves 
prophetically ~ a power which at the time, when they commanded a 
parliamentary majority and all the resources of governmental authority, was 
slipping daily more and more from their feeble hands. 

Finally the Constitution, in a melodramatic paragraph, entrusts itself "to the 
vigilance and the patriotism of the whole French people and every single 
Frenchman," after it had previously entrusted in another paragraph the "vigilant" 



and "patriotic" to the tender, most painstaking care of the High Court of Justice, 
the ''haute cour,'' invented by it for the purpose. 

Such was the Constitution of 1848, which on December 2, 1851, was not 
overthrown by a head, but fell at the touch of a mere hat; this hat, to be sure, was 
a three-cornered Napoleonic hat. 

While the bourgeois republicans in the Assembly were busy devising, 
discussing and voting this Constitution, outside the Assembly Cavaignac 
maintained the state of siege of Paris. The state of siege of Paris was the midwife 
of the Constituent Assembly in its labour of republican creation. If the 
Constitution is subsequently put out of existence by bayonets, it must not be 
forgotten that it was likewise by bayonets, turned against the people, that it had to 
be protected in its mother's womb and by bayonets that it had to be brought into 
existence. The forefathers of the "respectable republicans" had sent their symbol, 
the tricolour, on a tour of Europe. They in turn produced an invention that of itself 
made its way over the whole Continent, but returned to France with 

page 30 

ever renewed love until it has now become naturalized in half her departments ~ 
the state of siege. A splendid invention periodically employed in every ensuing 
crisis in the course of the French Revolution. But barrack and bivouac, which 
were thus periodically laid on French society's head to squeeze its brain and 
quieten it; sabre and musket, which were periodically allowed to act as judges and 
administrators, as guardians and censors, to play policeman and do night 
watchman's duty; moustache and uniform, which were periodically trumpeted 
forth as the highest wisdom of society and as its rector ~ were not barrack and 
bivouac, sabre and musket, moustache and uniform finally bound to hit upon the 
idea of rather saving society once and for all by proclaiming their own regime as 
the highest, and freeing civil society completely from the trouble of governing 
itself? Barrack and bivouac, sabre and musket, moustache and uniform were 
bound to hit upon this idea all the more as they might then also expect better cash 
payment for their higher services, whereas little of substance was gleaned from 
the merely periodical state of siege and the temporary reprieves of society at the 
bidding of this or that bourgeois faction, save some killed and wounded and some 
friendly bourgeois leers. Should not the military at last one day play state of siege 
in their own interest and for their own benefit, and at the same time besiege the 
citizens' purses? Moreover, we should not forget in passing that Colonel Bernard, 
the same military commission president who under Cavaignac had 15,000 
insurgents deported without trial, is at this moment again at the head of the 
military commissions active in Paris. 

Whereas, with the state of siege in Paris, the respectable, the pure 
republicans[22] planted the nursery in which the praetorians of December 2, 1851 
were to grow, they on the other 



page 31 

hand deserve praise because, instead of exaggerating the national sentiment as 
under Louis Phihppe, with the national power at their command, they now 
crawled before foreign countries, and, instead of setting Italy free, let her be 
reconquered by Austrians and Neapolitans. [23] Louis Bonaparte's election as 
President on December 10, 1848 put an end to the dictatorship of Cavaignac and 
to the Constituent Assembly. 

In §44 of the Constitution it is stated: "The President of the French republic 
must never have lost his status of a French citizen." The first President of the 
French republic, L. N. Bonaparte, had not merely lost his status of a French 
citizen, had not only been an English special constable, he was even a naturalized 

Swiss. [24] 

I have worked out elsewhere the significance of the election of December 
10. [25] I will not revert to it here. Suffice it to remark here that it was a reaction of 
the peasants, who had had to pay the costs of the February Revolution, against the 
remaining classes of the nation, a reaction of the country against the town. It met 
with great approval in the army, for which the republicans of the National had 
provided neither glory nor additional pay, among the big bourgeoisie, which 
hailed Bonaparte as a bridge to monarchy, among the proletarians and petty 
bourgeois, who hailed him as a scourge for Cavaignac. I shall have an opportunity 
later of going more closely into the relationship of the peasants to the French 
Revolution. 

The period from December 20, 1848 until the dissolution of the Constituent 
Assembly, in May 1849, comprises the history of the downfall of the bourgeois 
republicans. After having founded a republic for the bourgeoisie, driven the 
revolutionary proletariat out of the field and reduced the democratic petty 
bourgeoisie to silence for the time being, they are them- 

page 32 

selves thrust aside by the mass of the bourgeoisie, which justly impounds this 
republic as its property. This bourgeois mass was, however, royalist. One section 
of it, the large landowners, had ruled during the Restoration and was therefore 
Legitimist. [26] The other, the aristocrats of finance and big industrialists, had ruled 
during the July Monarchy and was consequently Orleanist. vm The high 
dignitaries of the army, the university, the church, the bar, the academy and of the 
press were to be found on either side, though in various proportions. Here, in the 
bourgeois republic, which bore neither the name Bourbon nor the name Orleans, 
but the name Capital, they had found the form of state in which they could rule 
conjointly. The June Insurrection had already united them in the "party of 
Order. "[28] Now it was necessary, in the first place, to remove the coterie of 
bourgeois republicans who still occupied the seats of the National Assembly. 
Now, when it was a question of maintaining their republicanism and their 



legislative rights against the executive power and the royalists, these pure 
republicans were as cowardly, meek, broken spirited and incapable of fighting in 
beating a retreat, as they had been brutal in their misuse of physical force against 
the people. I need not relate here the ignominious history of their dissolution. 
They did not succumb; they faded out of existence. Their history has come to an 
end forever, and, both inside and outside the Assembly, they figure in the 
following period only as memories, memories that seem to come back to life 
whenever the mere name of Republic is once more the issue and as often as the 
revolutionary conflict threatens to sink down to the lowest level. I may remark in 
passing that the journal which gave its name to this party, the National, was 
converted to socialism in the following period. 

page 33 

Before we finish with this period we must still cast a retrospective glance at the 
two powers, one of which annihilated the other on December 2,1851, although 
from December 20, 1848 until the exit of the Constituent Assembly they had lived 
in conjugal relations. We mean Louis Bonaparte, on the one hand, and the party 
of the royalist coalition, the party of Order, of the big bourgeoisie, on the other. 
On acceding to the presidency, Bonaparte at once formed a ministry of the party 
of Order, and put Odilon Barrot at its head, the old leader, nota bene, of the most 
liberal faction of the parliamentary bourgeoisie. M. Barrot had at last secured the 
ministerial portfolio, the spectre of which had haunted him since 1830, and, what 
is more, the premiership in the ministry, but not, as he had imagined under Louis 
Philippe, as the most advanced leader of the parliamentary opposition, but with 
the task of putting a parliament to death, and as the confederate of all his arch- 
enemies, Jesuits and Legitimists. He brought the bride home at last, but only after 
she had been prostituted. Bonaparte seemed to efface himself completely. This 
party acted for him. 

The very first meeting of the council of ministers resolved on the expedition to 
Rome, which, it was agreed, should be undertaken behind the back of the National 
Assembly and the means for which were to be wrested from it by false pretences. 
Thus they began by swindling the National Assembly and secretly conspiring 
with the absolutist powers abroad against the revolutionary Roman republic. In 
the same manner and with the same manoeuvres Bonaparte prepared his coup of 
December 2 against the royalist Legislative Assembly and its constitutional 
republic. Let us not forget that the same party which formed Bonaparte's ministry 
on 

page 34 

December 20, 1848 formed the majority of the Legislative National Assembly on 
December 2, 1851. 

In August the Constituent Assembly had decided to dissolve only after it had 
worked out and promulgated a whole series of organic laws that were to 



supplement the Constitution. On January 6, 1849, the party of Order had a deputy 
named Rateau move that the Assembly should disregard the organic laws and 
rather decide on its own dissolution. Not only the ministry, with Odilon Barrot at 
its head, but all the royalist members of the National Assembly told it in bullying 
accents that its dissolution was necessary for the restoration of credit, for the 
consolidation of order, to put an end to the indefinite provisional arrangements 
and to establish a definitive state of affairs; that it hampered the productivity of 
the new government and sought to prolong its existence merely out of malice; that 
the country was tired of it. Bonaparte took note of all this invective against the 
legislative power, learned it by heart and proved to the parliamentary royalists, on 
December 2, 1851, that he had learned from them. He reiterated their own 
catchwords against them. 

The Barrot ministry and the party of Order went further. They called for 
petitions to the National Assembly to be made throughout France, in which this 
body was most politely requested to decamp. They thus led the unorganized 
popular masses into the fire of battle against the National Assembly, the 
constitutionally organized expression of the people. They taught Bonaparte to 
appeal against the parliamentary assemblies to the people. At last, on January 29, 
1849, the day had come on which the Constituent Assembly was to decide on its 
own dissolution. The National Assembly found the building where its sessions 
were held occupied by the military; Changarnier, the general of the party of 
Order, in 

page 35 

whose hands the supreme command of the National Guard and front-line troops 
had been united, held a great military review in Paris, as if a battle were 
impending, and the royalist coalition threateningly declared to the Constituent 
Assembly that force would be employed if it should prove unwilling. It was 
willing, and only bargained for a very short extra term of life. What else was 
January 29 but the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851, only carried out by the 
royalists with Bonaparte against the republican National Assembly? The 
gentlemen did not observe, or did not wish to observe, that Bonaparte availed 
himself of January 29, 1849 to have a portion of the troops march past him in 
front of the Tuileries, and eagerly seized on just this first public summoning of the 
military power against the parliamentary power to foreshadow Caligula. They, to 
be sure, saw only their Changarnier. 

A motive that particularly induced the party of Order to forcibly cut short the 
duration of the Constituent Assembly's life was the organic laws supplementing 
the Constitution, such as the education law, the law on religious worship, etc. To 
the royalist coalition it was most important that they themselves should make 
these laws and not let them be made by the republicans, who had grown 
mistrustful. Among these organic laws, however, was also a law on the 
accountability of the President of the republic. In 1851 the Legislative Assembly 
was occupied with the drafting of just such a law, when Bonaparte anticipated this 



coup with the coup of December 2. The royahst coahtion would have given 
anything to have found the Law of Accountabihty ready to hand in its 
parhamentary winter campaign of 1851, and drawn up, at that, by a mistrustful, 
hostile, republican Assembly! 

After the Constituent Assembly had itself shattered its last weapon on January 
29,1849, the Barrot ministry and the 

page 36 

friends of order hounded it to death, left nothing undone that could humiliate it 
and wrested from the impotent, self-despairing Assembly laws that cost it the last 
remnant of respect in the eyes of the public. Bonaparte, occupied with his fixed 
Napoleonic idea, was brazen enough to exploit publicly this degradation of the 
parliamentary power. For when, on May 8, 1849, the National Assembly passed a 
vote of censure of the ministry because of the occupation of Civitavecchia by 
Oudinot, and ordered it to bring the Roman expedition back to its alleged 
purpose,[29] the same evening Bonaparte published in the Moniteur vm a letter to 
Oudinot, in which he congratulated him on his heroic exploits and, in contrast to 
the ink-slinging parliamentarians, already posed as the generous protector of the 
army. The royalists smiled at this. They regarded him simply as their dupe. 
Finally, when Marrast, the President of the Constituent Assembly, believed for a 
moment that the safety of the National Assembly was endangered and, relying on 
the Constitution, requisitioned a colonel and his regiment, the colonel declined, 
cited discipline in his support and referred Marrast to Changarnier, who scornfully 
refused him with the remark that he did not like baionnettes intelligentes. * In 
November 1851, when the royalist coalition wanted to begin the decisive struggle 
with Bonaparte, they sought to put through in their notorious Quaestors' Bill vm 
the principle of the direct requisition of troops by the President of the National 
Assembly. One of their generals, Le Flo, had signed the bill. In vain did 
Changarnier vote for it and Thiers pay homage to the far-sighted wisdom of the 
former Constituent Assembly. The War Minister, Saint-Arnaud, answered him as 
Changarnier 



* Intellectual bayonets. --Ed. 

page 37 

had answered Marrast ~ and to the acclamation of the Montague! 

Thus tht party of Order, when it was not yet the National Assembly, when it 
was still only the ministry, had itself branded the parliamentary regime. And it 
makes an outcry when December 2, 1851 banished this regime from France! 

We wish it a happy journey. 



Ill 

On May 28, 1849, the Legislative National Assembly met. On December 2, 
1851, it was dispersed. This period covers the life span of the constitutional, or 
parliamentary, republic. 

In the first French Revolution the rule of the Constitutionalists is followed by 
the rule of the Girondists [32] and the rule of the Girondists by the rule of the 
Jacobins. [33] Each of these parties relies on the more progressive party for support. 
As soon as it has brought the revolution to the stage where it can no longer keep 
up with it and, still less, overtake it, it is thrust aside by the bolder ally that stands 
behind it and is sent to the guillotine. The revolution thus moves along an 
ascending line. 

It is the reverse with the Revolution of 1848. The proletarian party appears as 
an appendage of the petty-bourgeois democratic party. It is betrayed and dropped 
by the latter on April 16, May 15,[34] and in the June days. The democratic party, 
in its turn, leans on the shoulders of the bourgeois republican party. The bourgeois 
republicans no sooner believe themselves well established than they shake off the 
trouble some comrade and support themselves on the shoulders of 

page 38 

the party of Order. The party of Order hunches its shoulders, lets the bourgeois 
republicans tumble and throws itself on the shoulders of armed force. It fancies it 
is still sitting on its shoulders when, one fine morning, it perceives that the 
shoulders have transformed themselves into bayonets. Each party kicks from 
behind at the one driving forward and in front leans in the direction of the party 
which is backing away. No wonder that in this ridiculous posture it loses its 
balance and, having made the inevitable grimaces, collapses with curious capers. 
The revolution thus moves in a descending line. It finds itself in this state of 
retrogressive motion before the last February barricade has been cleared away and 
the first revolutionary authority constituted. 

The period that we have before us comprises a motley array of glaring 
contradictions: constitutionalists who conspire openly against the Constitution; 
revolutionaries who are avowed constitutionalists; a National Assembly that 
wants to be omnipotent but remains parliamentary; a Montague that finds its 
vocation in patience and counters its present defeats by prophesying future 
victories; royalists who form tho patres con scripti * of the republic and are 
forced by the situation to keep the hostile royal houses, which they support, 
abroad, and the republic, which they hate, in France; an executive power that 
finds its strength in its very weakness and its respectability in the contempt that it 
calls forth; a republic that is nothing but the combined infamy of two monarchies, 
the Restoration and the July Monarchy, with an imperial label ~ alliances whose 



first proviso is separation; struggles whose first law is indecision; wild, inane 
agitation in the name of tranquillity, most solemn preaching of tranquillity in the 
name of revolution; 



* "Elected fathers," honorific of the ancient Roman senators. --Ed. 

page 39 

passions without truth, truths without passion; heroes without heroic deeds, 
history without events; development, whose sole driving force seems to be the 
calendar, wearying with the constant repetition of the same tensions and 
relaxations; antagonisms that periodically seem to work themselves up to a climax 
only to lose their edge and fall away without being able to resolve themselves; 
pretentiously paraded exertions and bourgeois fears of the danger of the world 
coming to an end, and at the same time the pettiest intrigues and court comedies 
played by the saviours of the world, who in their laisser eller [*] remind us less of 
the Day of Judgement than of the times of the Fronde[35] ~ the official collective 
genius of France brought to naught by the artful stupidity of a single individual; 
the collective will of the nation, as often as it speaks through universal suffrage, 
seeking its appropriate expression through the inveterate enemies of the interests 
of the masses, until, at length, it finds it in the wilfulness of a filibuster. If any 
section of history has been painted grey on grey, it is this. Men and events appear 
as inverted Schlemihls,[36] as shadows that have lost their bodies. The revolution 
itself paralyses its own activists and endows only its adversaries with passionate 
forcefulness. When the "red spectre," which is continually conjured up and 
exorcised by the counter-revolutionaries, finally appears, it appears not with the 
Phrygian cap of anarchy on its head, but in the uniform of order, in red breeches. 

We have seen that the ministry which Bonaparte installed on December 20, 
1848, on his Ascension Day, was a ministry of the party of Order, of the 
Legitimist and Orleanist coalition. This Barrot-Falloux ministry had outlived the 
republican 



* Letting things take their course. —Ed. 
page 40 

Constituent Assembly, whose term of life it had more or less violently cut short, 
and found itself still at the helm. Changarnier, the general of the royalist alliance, 
continued to unite in his person the general command of the First Army Division 
and of the National Guard of Paris. Finally, the general elections had secured the 
party of Order a large majority in the National Assembly. Here the deputies and 
peers of Louis Philippe encountered a hallowed host of Legitimists, for whom 
many of the nation's ballots had become transformed into admission cards to the 
political stage. The Bonapartist representatives of the people were too few to form 



an independent parliamentary party. They appeared merely as the mauvaise queue 
[*] of the party of Order. Thus the party of Order was in possession of the 
governmental power, the army and the legislative body, in short, of the whole of 
the state power; it had been morally strengthened by the general elections, which 
made its rule appear as the will of the people, and by the simultaneous triumph of 
the counter-revolution on the whole continent of Europe. 

Never did a party open its campaign with greater resources or under more 
favourable auspices. 

The shipwrecked pure republicans found that they had dwindled to a clique of 
about 50 men in the Legislative National Assembly, the African generals 
Cavaignac, Lamoriciere and Bedeau at their head. The great opposition party, 
however, was formed by the Montague, as the parliamentary social-democratic 
party had christened itself. It commanded more than 200 of the 750 votes of the 
National Assembly and was consequently at least as powerful as any one of the 
three factions of the party of Order taken by itself. Its numerical 



* Evil appendage. —Ed. 

page 41 

inferiority in comparison with the entire royalist coalition seemed compensated by 
special circumstances. Not only did the elections in the departments show that it 
had gained a considerable following among the rural population. It counted in its 
ranks almost all the deputies from Paris; the army had made a confession of 
democratic faith by the election of three non-commissioned officers, and the 
leader of the Montague, Ledru-RoUin, in contrast with all the representatives of 
the party of Order, had been raised to the parliamentary peerage by five 
departments, which had pooled their votes for him. In view of the inevitable 
clashes of the royalists among themselves and of the whole party of Order with 
Bonaparte, the Montague thus seemed to have all the elements of success before it 
on May 28, 1849. A fortnight later it had lost everything, including its honour. 

Before we pursue parliamentary history further, some remarks are necessary to 
avoid common misconceptions regarding the whole character of the epoch that 
lies before us. Looked at through the eyes of democrats, the period of the 
Legislative National Assembly and the period of the Constituent Assembly are 
concerned with the same problem: the simple struggle between republicans and 
royalists. The movement itself, however, they sum up in the one shibboleth: 
''reaction " ~ night, when all cats are grey and which permits them to reel off their 
night watchman's commonplaces. And, to be sure, at first sight the party of Order 
reveals a maze of different royalist factions, which not only intrigue against each 
other ~ each seeking to elevate its own pretender to the throne and exclude the 
pretender of the opposing faction ~ but also all unite in common hatred of, and 



common onslaughts on, the "repubhc." In opposition to this royahst conspiracy 
the Montagne, for its part, appears as the representa- 

page 42 

tive of the "repubhc." The party of Order appears to be perpetually engaged in a 
"reaction," directed against press, association and the like, to the same extent as in 
Prussia, and which, as in Prussia, is carried out in the form of brutal police 
intervention by the bureaucracy, the gendarmerie and the law courts. The 
"Montagne," for its part, is just as continually occupied in warding off these 
attacks and thus defending the "eternal rights of man" as every so-called people's 
party has done, more or less, for a century and a half. If one looks at the situation 
and the parties more closely, however, this superficial appearance, which veils the 
class struggle and the peculiar physiognomy of this period, disappears. 

Legitimists and Orleanists, as we have said, formed the two great factions of 
the party of Order. Was it nothing but lily and tricolour. House of Bourbon and 
House of Orleans, different shades of royalism which held these factions fast to 
their pretenders and kept them apart from one another, was it at all the confession 
of faith of royalism? Under the Bourbons, big landed property had governed, with 
its priests and lackeys; under the Orleans, high finance, large-scale industry, 
large-scale trade, that is, capital, with its retinue of lawyers, professors and 
smooth-tongued orators. The Legitimate Monarchy was merely the political 
expression of the hereditary rule of the lords of the soil, as the July Monarchy was 
only the political expression of the usurped rule of the bourgeois parvenus. What 
kept the two factions apart, therefore, was not any so-called principles, it was their 
material conditions of existence, two different kinds of property, it was the old 
contrast between town and country, the rivalry between capital and landed 
property. Who can deny that at the same time old memories, personal enmities, 
fears and hopes, prejudices and illusions, sympathies and antipathies, convictions, 

page 43 

articles of faith and principles bound them to one or the other royal house? An 
entire superstructure of distinct and uniquely formed sentiments, illusions, modes 
of thought and views of life rises on the different forms of property, on the social 
conditions of existence. The entire class creates and forms them out of its material 
foundations and out of the corresponding social relations. The single individual, 
who derives them through tradition and upbringing, may imagine that they form 
the real motives and the starting point of his activity. While each faction of 
Orleanists and Legitimists sought to make itself and the other believe that it was 
loyalty to their two royal houses which separated them, facts later proved that it 
was rather their divided interests which forbade the uniting of the two royal 
houses. And as in private life one differentiates between what a man thinks and 
says of himself and what he really is and does, so in historical struggles one must 
distinguish still more the phrases and fancies of parties from their real organism 
and their real in terests, their conception of themselves, from their reality. 



Orleanists and Legitimists found themselves side by side in the repubhc, with 
equal claims. If each side wished to effect the restoration of its own royal house 
against the other, that merely signified that each of the two great interests into 
which the bourgeoisie is split ~ landed property and capital ~ sought to restore its 
own supremacy and the subordination of the other. We speak of two interests of 
the bourgeoisie, for large landed property, despite its feudal coquetry and pride of 
race, has been rendered thoroughly bourgeois by the development of modern 
society. Thus for a long time the Tories in England imagined that they were 
enthusiastic about monarchy, the church and the beauties of the old English 
Constitution, until the day of reckoning wrung the confes- 

page 44 

sion from them that they are enthusiastic only about ground rent. 

The royalist coalition carried on its internal intrigues in the press, in Ems, in 
Claremont,[37] outside parliament. Behind the scenes the royalists donned their old 
Orleanist and Legitimist liveries again and once more engaged in their old 
tourneys. But on the public stage, in their grand performances of state, as a great 
parliamentary party, they put off their respective royal houses with mere 
obeisances and adjourn the restoration of the monarchy in infinitum.^] They do 
their real business as the party of Order, that is, under a social, not under a 
political title; as representatives of the bourgeois world-order, not as knights of 
errant princesses; as the bourgeois class against other classes, not as royalists 
against the republicans. And as the party of Order they exercised more 
unrestricted and sterner domination over the other classes of society than ever 
before under the Restoration or under the July Monarchy, a domination which, in 
general, was only possible under the form of the parliamentary republic, for only 
under this form could the two great divisions of the French bourgeoisie unite, and 
make the rule of their class, instead of the regime of a privileged faction of it, the 
order of the day. If, nevertheless, they, as the party of Order, also insulted the 
republic and expressed their repugnance to it, this was not merely as a result of 
royalist memories. Instinct taught them that the republic, true enough, makes their 
political rule complete, but at the same time undermines its social foundation, 
since they must now confront the subjugated classes and contend against them 
without mediation, without the concealment afforded by the crown, without being 



* To infinity. --Ed. 

page 45 

able to divert the national interest by their subordinate struggles among 
themselves and with the monarchy. It was a feeling of weakness that caused them 
to recoil from the pure conditions of their own class rule and to yearn for the 
former more incomplete, more undeveloped and, precisely on that account, less 
dangerous forms of this rule. On the other hand, every time the royalist coalition 



comes into conflict with the pretender who confronts it, Bonaparte, every time it 
beheves its parhamentary omnipotence to be endangered by the executive power, 
every time, therefore, it must produce a pohtical title to its rule, it comes forward 
as republican and not royalist, from the Orleanist Thiers, who warns the National 
Assembly that the republic divides them least, to the Legitimist Berryer, who, on 
December 2, 1851, as a tribune swathed in a tricoloured sash, harangues the 
people assembled before the town hall of the tenth arrondissement in the name of 
the republic. To be sure, a mocking echo calls back to him: Henry V! Henry V! 

In contrast to the bourgeois coalition, a coalition between petty bourgeois and 
workers had been formed, the so-called social-democratic party. The petty 
bourgeois saw that they were badly rewarded after the June days of 1848, that 
their material interests were imperilled and that the democratic guarantees which 
were to ensure the realization of these interests were called into question by the 
counter-revolution, and so they came closer to the workers. On the other hand, 
their parliamentary representation, the Montague, thrust aside during the 
dictatorship of the bourgeois republicans, had in the last half of the life of the 
Constituent Assembly reconquered its lost popularity through the struggle with 
Bonaparte and the royalist ministers. It had concluded an alliance with the 
socialist leaders. In February 1849, banquets 

page 46 

celebrated the reconciliation. A joint programme was drafted, joint election 
committees were set up and joint candidates put forward. From the social 
demands of the proletariat the revolutionary point was broken off and a 
democratic turn given to them; from the democratic claims of the petty 
bourgeoisie the purely political form was stripped off and their socialist point 
thrust forward. From this grew Social-Democracy. The new Montague, the result 
of this combination, contained, apart from some supernumeraries from the 
working class and some socialist sectarians, the same elements as the old 
Montague, only in greater numbers. However, in the course of development, it 
had changed along with the class that it represented. The fact that democratic- 
republican institutions are required as a means, not of doing away with two 
extremes, capital and wage labour, but of weakening their antagonism and 
transforming it into harmony, epitomizes the peculiar character of Social- 
Democracy. However different the means proposed to achieve this end may be, 
however much it may be trimmed with more or less revolutionary notions, the 
content remains the same. This content is the transformation of society in a 
democratic way, but a transformation within the bounds of the petty bourgeoisie. 
Only one must not form the narrow-minded notion that the petty bourgeoisie, on 
principle, wishes to enforce an egoistic class interest. It believes, rather, that the 
special conditions of its emancipation are the general conditions within the frame 
of which alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle avoided. Nor 
should one imagine that the democratic representatives are all shopkeepers or 
enthusiastic champions of shopkeepers. According to their education and their 



individual position they may be as far apart as heaven and earth. What makes 
them representatives of the petty bourgeoisie is 

page 47 

the fact that in their minds they do not get beyond the hmits which the latter do 
not get beyond in life, that they are consequently driven, theoretically, to the same 
problems and solutions to which material interest and social position drive the 
latter in practice. This is, in general, the relationship between the political and 
literary representatives of a class and the class they represent. 

It is obvious from the above analysis that if the Montague continually contends 
with the party of Order for the republic and the so-called rights of man, neither the 
republic nor the rights of man are its final end, any more than an army, which one 
wants to deprive of its weapons and which resists, has taken to the field in order 
to remain in possession of its own weapons. 

As soon as the National Assembly met, the party of Order provoked the 
Montague. The bourgeoisie now felt it was necessary to make an end of the 
democratic petty bourgeois, just as a year before it had realized the necessity of 
settling with the revolutionary proletariat. Only the adversary's situation was 
different. The strength of the proletarian party lay in the streets, that of the petty 
bourgeois in the National Assembly itself. It was therefore a question of decoying 
them out of the National Assembly into the streets and causing them to smash 
their parliamentary power themselves, before time and circumstances could 
consolidate it. The Montague rushed headlong into the trap. 

The bombardment of Rome by the French troops was the bait that was thrown 
to it. It violated Article V of the Constitution which forbids the French republic to 
employ its military forces against the freedom of another people. In addition to 
this. Article 54 prohibited any declaration of war on the part of the executive 
power without the assent of the 

page 48 

National Assembly, and in its resolution of May 8, the Constituent Assembly had 
disapproved of the Roman expedition. On these grounds Ledru-RoUin brought in 
a bill of impeachment against Bonaparte and his ministers on June 11, 1849. 
Exasperated by the stinging gibes of Thiers, he actually let himself be carried 
away to the point of threatening that he would use every means ~ even armed 
force ~ to defend the Constitution. The Montague rose to a man and repeated this 
call to arms. On June 12, the National Assembly rejected the bill of impeachment, 
and the Montague left the parliament. The events of June 13 are well known: the 
proclamation issued by a section of the Montague, declaring Bonaparte and his 
ministers "outside the Constitution"; the street procession of the democratic 
National Guards, who, unarmed as they were, dispersed on encountering the 
troops of Changarnier, etc., etc. One section of the Montague fled abroad; another 



was arraigned before the High Court at Bourges, and a parhamentary regulation 
subjected the remainder to the schoolmasterly surveillance of the President of the 
National Assembly. Paris was again declared in a state of siege and the 
democratic section of its National Guard dissolved. Thus the influence of the 
Montague in parliament and the power of the petty bourgeois in Paris were 
broken. 

Lyons, where June 13 had been the signal for a bloody insurrection of the 
workers, was, along with the five surrounding departments, also declared in a 
state of siege, a condition that has continued up to the present moment. 

The bulk of the Montague had left its vanguard in the lurch, having refused to 
subscribe to its proclamation. The press had deserted, only two journals having 
dared to publish the pronunciamento. The petty bourgeois betrayed their 
representatives, in that the National Guards either stayed 

page 49 

away or, where they appeared, hindered the erection of barricades. The 
representatives had duped the petty bourgeois, in that the alleged allies from the 
army were nowhere to be seen. Finally, instead of gaining an accession of 
strength from it, the democratic party had infected the proletariat with its own 
weakness and, as is usual with the great deeds of democrats, the leaders had the 
satisfaction of being able to charge their "people" with desertion, and the people 
the satisfaction of being able to charge its leaders with deceiving it. 

Seldom had an action been announced with more noise than the impending 
campaign of the Montague, seldom had an event been trumpeted with greater 
certainty or longer in advance than the inevitable victory of democracy. The 
democrats certainly believe in the trumpets whose blasts blew the walls of Jericho 
down. And as often as they stand before the ramparts of despotism, they seek to 
imitate the miracle. If the Montague wished to triumph in parliament, it should 
not have called to arms. If it called to arms in parliament, it should not have acted 
in parliamentary fashion in the streets. If the peaceful demonstration was meant 
seriously, then it was folly not to foresee that it would be given a warlike 
reception. If a real struggle was intended, then it was a queer idea to lay down the 
weapons with which it would have to be waged. But the revolutionary threats of 
the petty bourgeois and their democratic representatives are mere attempts to 
intimidate the antagonist. And when they have run into a blind alley, when they 
have compromised themselves to such an extent that they are forced to carry out 
their threats, then this is done in an ambiguous fashion that avoids nothing so 
much as the means to the end and tries to find excuses for giving in. The blaring 
overture that announced the contest 

page 50 



dies away in a pusillanimous snarl as soon as the struggle has to begin, the actors 
cease to take themselves au s&eacuterieux, and the action collapses completely, 
like a pricked bubble. 

No party exaggerates its resources or deludes itself more light-headedly over 
the situation than the democratic party. Since a section of the army had voted for 
it, the Montague was now convinced that the army would revolt for it. And on 
what occasion? On an occasion which, from the point of view of the troops, meant 
only that the revolutionaries sided with the Roman soldiers against the French 
soldiers. On the other hand, memories of June 1848 were still too fresh for 
anything to exist but a profound aversion on the part of the proletariat towatds the 
National Guard and a thorough-going mistrust of the democratic chiefs on the part 
of the chiefs of the secret societies. To iron out these differences, it was necessary 
for great, common interests to be at stake. The violation of an abstract paragraph 
of the Constitution could not provide these interests. Had not the Constitution 
been repeatedly violated, according to the assurance of the democrats themselves? 
Had not the most popular journals branded it as counter-revolutionary botch- 
work? But the democrat, because he represents the petty bourgeoisie, that is, a 
transition class, in which the interests of two classes simultaneously mutually 
blunt each other, imagines himself elevated above class antagonism generally. 
The democrats concede that a privileged class confronts them, but they, along 
with all the rest of the nation, form the people. What they represent is the people's 
rights ; what interests them is tho people's interests. Accordingly, when a struggle 
is impending, they do not need to examine the interests and positions of the 
different classes. They do not need to weigh their own resources too critically. 
They have merely to give the signal and the peo- 

page 51 

pie, with all its inexhaustible resources, will fall upon the oppressors. Now, if, 
when it comes to the actual performance, their interests prove to be uninteresting 
and their potency impotence, then either the fault lies with pernicious sophists, 
who split the indivisible people into different hostile camps, or the army was too 
brutalized and blinded to comprehend that the pure aims of democracy are the 
best thing for it itself, or the whole thing has been wrecked by a detail in its 
execution, or else an unforeseen accident has this time spoilt the game. In any 
case, the democrat comes out of the most disgraceful defeat just as immaculate as 
he was innocent when he went into it, with the newly won conviction that he is 
bound to win, not that he himself and his party have to give up the old standpoint, 
but, on the contrary, that conditions have to ripen to suit him. 

One must not, therefore, imagine the Montague, decimated and broken though 
it was, and humiliated by the new parliamentary regulation, as being particularly 
miserable. If June 13 had removed its chiefs, it made room, on the other hand, for 
men of lesser calibre, whom this new position flattered. If their impotence in 
parliament could no longer be doubted, they were entitled now to confine their 
actions to outbursts of moral indignation and blustering declamation. If the party 



of Order affected to see embodied in them, as the last official representatives of 
the revolution, all the terrors of anarchy, they could in reality be all the more 
insipid and modest. They consoled themselves, however, for June 13 with the 
profound utterance: But if they dare to attack universal suffrage, well then ~ then 
we'll show them what we are made of! Nous verrons! * 



* We shall see ! —Ed. 
page 52 

So far as the Montagnards who fled abroad are concerned, it is sufficient to 
remark here that Ledru-RoUin, because, in barely a fortnight, he had succeeded in 
ruining irretrievably the powerful party which he led, now found himself called 
upon to form a French government in partibus ; that the lower the level of the 
revolution sank and the more dwarf-like the official bigwigs of official France 
became, the bigger his figure seemed to grow in the distance, removed from the 
scene of action; that he could figure as the republican pretender for 1852, and that 
he issued periodical circulars to the Wallachians and other peoples, in which the 
despots of the Continent are threatened with his own and his confederates' actions. 
Was Proudhon altogether wrong when he cried to these gentlemen: ''Vous 
n'&eacutetes que des blagueurs "?[*] 

On June 13, the party of Order had not only broken the Montague, it had 
effected the subordination of the Constitution to the majority decisions of the 
National Assembly. And it understood the republic like this: that the bourgeoisie 
rules here in parliamentary forms, without, as in a monarchy, any restrictions such 
as the veto power of the executive or the right to dissolve parliament. This was a 
parliamentary republic, as Thiers termed it. But whereas on June 13 the 
bourgeoisie secured its omnipotence within the house of parliament, did it not 
afflict parliament itself, as against the executive authority and the people, with 
incurable weakness by expelling its most popular part? By surrendering numerous 
deputies without further ado on the demand of the courts, it abolished its own 
parliamentary immunity. The humiliating regulations to which it subjected the 
Montague exalted the President of the republic in the same measure as it degraded 



* "You are nothing but windbags." —Ed. 

page 53 

the individual representatives of the people. By branding an insurrection for the 
protection of the constitutional charter an anarchic act aimed at the subversion of 
society, it precluded the possibility of an appeal to insurrection, should the 
executive authority violate the Constitution in relation to it. It is one of the ironies 
of history that the general who bombarded Rome on Bonaparte's instructions and 
thus provided the immediate occasion for the constitutional revolt of June 13, that 



Oudinot had to be the man offered by the party of Order imploringly and in vain 
to the people as the general of the Constitution against Bonaparte on December 2, 
1851. Another hero of June 13, Vieyra, who was lauded from the tribune of the 
National Assembly for the brutalities that he had committed in the democratic 
newspaper offices at the head of a gang of National Guards belonging to high 
finance circles ~ this same Vieyra had been initiated into Bonaparte's conspiracy 
and he essentially contributed to depriving the National Assembly in the hour of 
its death of any protection by the National Guard. 

June 13 had still another meaning. The Montague had wanted to force the 
impeachment of Bonaparte. Its defeat was, therefore, a direct victory for 
Bonaparte, his personal triumph over his democratic enemies. The party of Order 
gained the victory; Bonaparte had only to cash in on it. He did so. On June 14 a 
proclamation could be read on the walls of Paris in which the President, 
reluctantly, against his will, as it were, compelled by the sheer force of events, 
comes forth from his cloistered seclusion and, posing as misunderstood virtue, 
complains of the calumnies of his opponents and, while he seems to identify his 
person with the cause of order, rather identifies the cause of order with his person. 
Moreover, the 

page 54 

National Assembly had, it is true, subsequently approved the expedition against 
Rome, but Bonaparte had taken the initiative in the matter. After having re- 
installed the High Priest Samuel in the Vatican, he could hope to enter the 
Tuileries as King David. [38] He had won the priests over to his side. 

The revolt of June 13 was confined, as we have seen, to a peaceful street 
procession. No war laurels were, therefore, to be won against it. Nevertheless, at a 
time as poor as this in heroes and events, the party of Order transformed this 
bloodless battle into a second Austerlitz.[39] Platform and press praised the army 
as the power of order, in contrast to the popular masses who represented the 
impotence of anarchy, and extolled Changarnier as the "mainstay of society," a 
deception in which he himself finally came to believe. Surrepticiously, however, 
the corps that seemed doubtful were transferred from Paris, the regiments which 
had shown the most democratic sentiments at the elections were banished from 
France to Algiers, the disruptive spirits among the troops were relegated to penal 
detachments, and the systematic isolation of the press from the barracks and of the 
barracks from bourgeois society was finally carried out. 

Here we have reached the decisive turning point in the history of the French 
National Guard. In 1830 it was decisive in the overthrow of the Restoration. 
Under Louis Philippe every rebellion miscarried in which the National Guard 
stood on the side of the troops. When in the February days of 1848 it displayed a 
passive attitude towards the insurrection and an equivocal one towards Louis 
Philippe, he gave himself up for lost ~ which indeed he was. Thus the conviction 



took root that the revolution could not be victorious without the National Guard, 
nor the army against it. This was the superstition of the army in regard to civilian 

page 55 

omnipotence. The June days of 1848, when the entire National Guard, with the 
front-line troops, put down the insurrection, had strengthened the superstition. 
After Bonaparte's assumption of office, the position of the National Guard was to 
some extent weakened by the unconstitutional union, in the person of 
Changarnier, of the command of its forces with the command of the First Army 
Division. 

Just as the command of the National Guard appeared here as an attribute of the 
military commander-in-chief, so the National Guard itself appeared as only an 
appendage of the front-line troops. Finally, on June 13 its power was broken, and 
not only by its partial disbandment, which from this time on was periodically 
repeated all over France, until mere fragments of it were left behind. The 
demonstration of June was, above all, a demonstration of the democratic National 
Guards. They had not, to be sure, carried arms, but worn their uniforms against 
the army; precisely in this uniform, however, lay the talisman. The army 
convinced itself that this uniform was a piece of woollen cloth like any other. The 
spell was broken. In the June days of 1848, bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie had 
united as the National Guard with the army against the proletariat; on June 13, 
1849, the bourgeoisie let the petty-bourgeois National Guard be dispersed by the 
army; on December 2, 1851, the National Guard of the bourgeoisie itself had 
vanished, and Bonaparte merely registered this fact when he subsequently signed 
the decree for its disbandment. Thus the bourgeoisie had itself smashed its last 
weapon against the army, it had to smash it the moment the petty bourgeoisie no 
longer stood behind it as a vassal, but before it as a rebel, as, in general, it was 
bound to destroy all its means of defence against absolutism with its own hand as 
soon as it had itself become absolute. 

page 56 

Meanwhile, the party of Order celebrated the reconquest of a power that 
seemed lost in 1848 only to be found again, freed from its restraints, in 1849, 
celebrated with invectives against the republic and the Constitution, with curses 
on all future, present and past revolutions, including that which its own leaders 
had made, and with laws which muzzled the press, destroyed association and 
regulated the state of siege as an organic institution. The National Assembly then 
adjourned from the middle of August to the middle of October, after having 
appointed a permanent commission for the period of its absence. During this 
recess the Legitimists intrigued with Ems, the Orleanists with Claremont, 
Bonaparte by means of princely tours, and the Departmental Councils in 
deliberations on a revision of the Constitution: incidents which regularly recur in 
the periodic recesses of the National Assembly and which I propose to discuss 
only when they become events. Here we shall just add that it was impolitic for the 



National Assembly to disappear for considerable intervals from the stage and 
leave only a single, albeit a sorry, figure to be seen at the head of the republic, that 
of Louis Bonaparte, while to the scandal of the public the party of Order fell 
asunder into its royalist component parts and followed its conflicting desires for 
Restoration. As often as the confused noise of parliament grew silent during these 
recesses and its body dissolved into the nation, it became unmistakably clear that 
only one thing was still wanting to complete the true form of this republic: to 
make tht former's recess permanent and replace the latter's inscription: Liberte, 
&Eacutegalite, Fraternite by the unambiguous words: Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery! 

page 57 



IV 

In the middle of October 1849, the National Assembly met again. On 
November 1, Bonaparte surprised it with a message in which he announced the 
dismissal of the Barrot Falloux ministry and the formation of a new ministry. No 
one has ever sacked lackeys with less ceremony than Bonaparte did his ministers. 
The kicks that were intended for the National Assembly were given in the 
meantime to Barrot & Co. 

The Barrot ministry, as we have seen, had been composed of Legitimists and 
Orleanists, a ministry of the party of Order. Bonaparte had needed it to dissolve 
the republican Constituent Assembly, to bring about the expedition against Rome 
and to break the democratic party. He had seemingly effaced himself behind this 
ministry, surrendered governmental power into the hands of the party of Order 
and donned the modest character mask that the responsible editor of a newspaper 
wore under Louis Philippe, the mask of the homme de paille.^ He now threw off 
the mask which was no longer a light veil behind which he could hide his 
physiognomy, but an iron mask which prevented him from displaying a 
physiognomy of his own. He had appointed the Barrot ministry in order to blast 
the republican National Assembly in the name of the party of Order, he dismissed 
it in order to declare his own name independent of the National Assembly of the 
party of Order. 

There was no lack of plausible pretexts for this dismissal. The Barrot ministry 
ignored even the conventions that would 



* Man of straw. —Ed. 
page 58 



have let the President of the republic appear as a power side by side with the 
National Assembly. During the recess of the National Assembly Bonaparte 



published a letter to Edgar Ney in which he seemed to disapprove of the Pope's[*] 
illiberal attitude, just as in opposition to the Constituent Assembly he had 
published a letter in which he commended Oudinot for the attack on the Roman 
republic. So when the National Assembly voted the budget for the Roman 
expedition, Victor Hugo, out of alleged liberalism, brought up this letter for 
discussion. The party of Order poured scorn on the suggestion, with exclamations 
of disbelief, that Bonaparte's ideas could have any political importance. Not one 
of the ministers took up the gauntlet for him. On another occasion Barrot, with his 
well-known hollow rhetoric, let fall from the platform words of indignation 
concerning the "abominable intrigues" that, he asserted, went on in the immediate 
entourage of the President. Finally, while the ministry obtained from the National 
Assembly a widow's pension for the Duchess of Orleans it rejected any proposal 
to increase the Civil List of the President. And in Bonaparte the imperial 
pretender was so intimately bound up with the adventurer down on his luck that 
the one great idea, that he was called to restore the empire, was always 
supplemented by the other, that it was the mission of the French people to pay his 
debts. 

The Barrot-Falloux ministry was the first and last parliamentary ministry that 
Bonaparte brought into being. Its dismissal, therefore, forms a decisive turning 
point. With it the party of Order lost, never to reconquer it, an indispensable post 
for the maintenance of the parliamentary r&eacutegime, the lever of executive 
power. It is immediately obvious that 



* Pius IX. -Ed. 

page 59 

in a country like France, where the executive power commands an army of 
officials numbering more than half a million individuals and, therefore, constantly 
maintains an immense mass of interests and livelihoods in total dependence; 
where the state enmeshes, controls, regulates, superintends and tutors civil society 
from its most comprehensive manifestations of life down to its most insignificant 
stirrings, from its most general modes of being to the private existence of 
individuals; where through the most extraordinary centralization this parasitic 
body acquires a ubiquity, an omniscience, a capacity for accelerated mobility and 
an elasticity which finds a counterpart only in the helpless dependence, in the 
loose shapelessness of the actual body politic ~ it is obvious that in a country like 
this the National Assembly forfeits all real influence when it loses command of 
the ministerial posts, if it does not at the same time simplify the administration of 
the state, reduce the army of officials as far as possible and, finally, let civil 
society and public opinion create organs of their own, independent of the 
governmental power. But it is precisely with the maintenance of that extensive 
state machine in its numerous ramifications that the material interests of the 
French bourgeoisie are interwoven in the closest fashion. Here it finds posts for its 
surplus population and makes up in the form of state salaries for what it cannot 



pocket in the form of profit, interest, rents and honorariums. On the other hand, its 
political interests compelled it to increase daily the repressive measures and, 
therefore, the resources and the personnel of the state power, while at the same 
time it had to wage an uninterrupted war against public opinion and mistrustfully 
mutilate and cripple the independent organs of the social movement, where it did 
not succeed in amputating them entirely. Thus the French bourgeoisie was 
compelled 

page 60 

by its class position to annihilate, on the one hand, the vital conditions of all 
parliamentary power, including its own, and to render irresistible, on the other 
hand, the executive power hostile to it. 

The new ministry was called the d'Hautpoul ministry. Not in the sense that 
General d'Hautpoul had received the rank of Prime Minister. Rather, Bonaparte 
abolished this office along with Barrot's dismissal, for true enough, it condemned 
the President of the republic to the status of the legal nonentity of a constitutional 
monarch, but of a constitutional monarch without throne or crown, without 
sceptre or sword, without unaccountability, without the inalienable possession of 
the highest office of state, and, worst of all, without a Civil List. The d'Hautpoul 
ministry contained only one man of parliamentary standing, the Jewish 
moneylender Fould, one of the most notorious of the high financiers. The ministry 
of finance fell to his lot. Look up the quotations on the Paris bourse and you will 
find that from November 1, 1849 onwards the Vx^nc\\ fonds * rise and fall with 
the rise and fall of Bonapartist stocks. While Bonaparte had thus found his ally in 
the bourse, he at the same time took possession of the police by appointing 
earlier Police Prefect of Paris. 

However, the consequences of the ministerial reshuffle could only come to 
light in the course of development. In the first place, Bonaparte had taken a step 
forward only to be rebuffed all the more conspicuously. His brusque message was 
followed by the most servile declaration of allegiance to the National Assembly. 
Every time the ministers dared to make a diffident attempt to introduce his 
personal fads as legislative proposals, they seemed to be performing, reluctantly 



* Government securities. --Ed. 

page 61 

and compelled by their position, comical tasks of whose fruitlessness they were 
persuaded in advance. Every time Bonaparte blurted out his intentions behind the 
ministers' backs and played with his 'Hd&eacutees napol&eacuteoniennes,'\m his 
own ministers disavowed him from the tribune of the National Assembly. His 
usurpatory ambitions seemed to make themselves heard only in order that the 
malicious laughter of his opponents might not be drowned. He behaved like an 



unrecognized genius, whom all the world takes for a simpleton. Never did he 
enjoy the contempt of all classes in fuller measure than during this period. Never 
did the bourgeoisie rule more absolutely, never did it display more ostentatiously 
the insignia of domination. 

It's not for me to write the history of its legislative activity here, which is 
summarized during this period in two laws: in the law re-establishing the wine tax 
and the education law abolishing religious unbelief. If wine drinking was made 
harder for the French, they were presented all the more plentifully with the water 
of true life. If with the law on the wine tax the bourgeoisie declared the old, 
hateful French tax system to be inviolable, it sought through the education law to 
ensure among the masses the old state of mind that put up with the tax system. 
One is astonished to see the Orleanists, the liberal bourgeois, these old apostles of 
Voltairianism and eclectic philosophy, entrust their hereditary enemies, the 
Jesuits, with the supervision of the French mind. However the Orleanists and 
Legitimists could part company over the pretender to the throne, they understood 
that to secure their united rule they needed to combine the means of repression of 
two epochs, that the methods of subjugation of the July Monarchy had to be 
supplemented and strengthened by the methods of subjugation of the Restoration. 

page 62 

The peasants, all their hopes disappointed, crushed more than ever by the low 
level of grain prices on the one hand, and by the growing burden of taxes and 
mortgage debts on the other, began to rouse themselves in the departments. The 
response to this was a drive against the schoolmasters, who were made subject to 
the clergy, a drive against the maires^m who were made subject to the prefects, 
and a system of espionage, to which all were subjected. In Paris and the large 
towns reaction itself has the physiognomy of its epoch and challenges more than 
it smashes. In the countryside it becomes dull, coarse, petty, tiresome and 
vexatious, in a word, the gendarme. One can understand how three years of the 
regime of the gendarme, consecrated by the regime of the priest, were bound to 
demoralize the immature masses. 

However much the party of Order might declaim passionately against the 
minority from the tribune of the National Assembly, its speech remained as 
monosyllabic as that of the Christians, whose words were to be: Yea, or nay! As 
monosyllabic on the platform as in the press. Flat as a riddle whose answer is 
known in advance. Whether it was a question of the right of petition or the tax on 
wine, freedom of the press or free trade, the clubs or the municipal charter, 
protection of personal liberty or regulation of the state budget, the watchword 
constantly recurs, the theme remains always the same, the verdict is ever ready 
and invariably reads: ''Socialism! " Even bourgeois liberalism is declared 
socialistic, bourgeois enlightenment socialistic, bourgeois financial reform 
socialistic. It was socialistic to build a railway where a canal already existed, and 
it was socialistic to defend oneself with a cane when one was attacked with a 
rapier. 



* Mayors. --Ed. 

page 63 

This was not merely a figure of speech, fashion or party tactics. The 
bourgeoisie had a true insight into the fact that all the weapons which it had 
forged against feudalism were turned against itself, that all the means of education 
which it had produced rebelled against its own civilization, that all the gods which 
it had created had deserted it. It understood that all the so-called bourgeois 
liberties and organs of progress were attacking and menacing its class rule at its 
social foundation and its political summit simultaneously, and had, therefore, 
become ''socialistic.'' In this menace and this attack it rightly discerned the secret 
of socialism, whose import and tendency it judges more correctly than so-called 
socialism knows how to judge itself; the latter cannot, therefore, comprehend why 
the bourgeoisie callously hardens its heart against it, whether it sentimentally 
bewails the sufferings of mankind, or in Christian spirit prophesies the 
millennium and universal brotherly love, or in humanistic style prattles about 
mind, education and freedom, or in doctrinaire fashion hatches a system for the 
conciliation and welfare of all classes. What the bourgeoisie did not grasp, 
however, was the logical conclusion that its own parliamentary r&eacutegime, its 
political rule in general, was now also bound to meet with the general verdict of 
condemnation as being socialistic. As long as the rule of the bourgeois class had 
not been organized completely, as long as it had not acquired its pure political 
expression, the antagonism of the other classes, likewise, could not appear in its 
pure form, and where it did appear could not take the dangerous turn that 
transforms every struggle against the state power into a struggle against capital. If 
it saw "tranquillity" imperilled by every sign of life in society, how could it want 
to maintain at the head of society a r&eacutegime of unrest, its own 
r&eacutegime, the parliamentary r&eacutegime, this r&eacutegime that, 

page 64 

in the words of one of its spokesmen, lives in struggle and by struggle? The 
parliamentary r&eacutegime lives by discussion; how can it forbid discussion? 
Every interest, every social institution, is here transformed into general ideas, 
debated as ideas; how can any interest, any institution, maintain itself above 
thought and impose itself as an article of faith? The controversies on the platform 
provoke the controversies among the press hacks; the debating club in parliament 
is necessarily annexed by debating clubs in the salons and alehouses; the 
representatives, who constantly appeal to public opinion, give public opinion the 
right to speak its real mind in petitions. The parliamentary regime leaves 
everything to the decision of majorities; aren't the great majorities outside 
parliament bound to want to decide? When you play the fiddle at the top of the 
state, aren't the lower orders bound to dance? 



Thus, by now branding as ''socialistic " what it had previously extolled as 
''liberal,'' the bourgeoisie confesses that its own interests dictate that it should be 
delivered from the danger of its own rule ; that, in order to restore tranquillity to 
the country, its bourgeois parliament must, first of all, be silenced; that in order to 
preserve its social power intact, its political power must be broken; that the 
individual bourgeois can continue to exploit the other classes and to enjoy 
undisturbed property, family, religion and order only on condition that their class 
be condemned along with the other classes to a similar position of political 
insignificance; that in order to save its purse, it must forfeit the crown, and the 
sword that is to safeguard it must at the same time be hung over its own head as a 
sword of Damocles. 

In the domain of the interests of the general citizenry, the National Assembly 
proved to be so unproductive that, for example, the discussions on the Paris- 
Avignon railway, which 

page 65 

began in the winter of 1850, were still not ripe for conclusion on December 2, 
1851. Where it did not repress or pursue a reactionary course it was stricken with 
incurable barrenness. 

While Bonaparte's ministry partly took the initiative in framing laws in the 
spirit of the party of Order, and partly even outdid that party's harshness in their 
execution and administration, he, on the other hand, sought to win popularity by 
childishly silly proposals, to manifest his opposition to the National Assembly, 
and to hint at a secret reserve that was only temporarily prevented by conditions 
from making its hidden treasures available to the French people. The proposal to 
decree an increase in pay of four sous a day to the non-commissioned officers was 
in this spirit, as was the proposal of an honour system loan bank for the workers. 
Money as a gift and money as a loan, it was with prospects such as these that he 
hoped to allure the masses. Donations and loans ~ the financial science of the 
lumpenproletariat, of high degree or low, is restricted to this. These were the only 
strings which Bonaparte knew how to pull. Never has a pretender speculated more 
stupidly on the stupidity of the masses. 

The National Assembly flared up repeatedly over these unmistakable attempts 
to gain popularity at its expense, over the growing danger that this adventurer, 
spurred on by his debts and unrestrained by an established reputation, would 
attempt a desperate coup. The discord between the party of Order and the 
President had taken on a threatening character when an unexpected event threw 
him back repentant into its arms. We mean the by-elections of March 10, 1850. 
These elections were held for the purpose of filling the Representatives' seats that 
had been left vacant by imprisonment or exile after June 13. Paris elected only 
social-democratic candidates. It even concentrated most of the votes on an in- 
page 66 



surgent of June 1848, on Deflotte. The Parisian petty bourgeoisie, in alliance with 
the proletariat, revenged itself for its defeat on June 13, 1849. It seemed to have 
disappeared from the battlefield at the crucial moment only to reappear there on a 
more propitious occasion with reinforcements and a bolder battle cry. One 
circumstance seemed to heighten the peril of this election victory. The army voted 
in Paris for the June insurgent against La Hitte, a minister of Bonaparte's, and in 
the departments largely for the Montagnards, who here, too, though indeed not so 
decisively as in Paris, maintained the ascendancy over their adversaries. 

Bonaparte saw himself suddenly confronted with revolution once more. As he 
had done on January 29, 1849, and on June 13, 1849, so on March 10, 1850, he 
disappeared behind the party of Order. He made obeisance, he pusillanimously 
begged pardon, he offered to appoint any ministry it pleased at the behest of the 
parliamentary majority, he even implored the Orleanist and Legitimist party 
leaders, the Thiers, the Berryers, the Broglies, the Moles, in brief, the so-called 
burgraves,[4i] to take the helm of state themselves. The party of Order proved 
unable to take advantage of this opportunity that would never return. Instead of 
boldly taking possession of the power offered, it did not even compel Bonaparte 
to reinstate the ministry dismissed on November 1 ; it contented itself with 
humiliating him by its forgiveness and attaching M. Baroche to the d'Hautpoul 
ministry. As public prosecutor this Baroche had stormed and raged before the 
High Court at Bourges, the first time against the revolutionists of May 15, the 
second time against the democrats of June 13, both times because of an attempt 
on the life of the National Assembly. None of Bonaparte's ministers subsequently 
contributed more to the degradation of the National Assembly, and after De- 
page 67 

cember 2, 1851, we meet him once more as the comfortably installed and highly 
paid Vice-President of the Senate. He had spat in the revolutionists' soup so that 
Bonaparte might eat it up. 

The social-democratic party, for its part, seemed only to be casting around for 
excuses for putting its own victory in question again and for taking the edge off it. 
Vidal, one of the newly elected Representatives of Paris, had been elected at the 
same time in Strasbourg. He was induced to decline the election in Paris and 
accept it in Strasbourg. And so, instead of making its victory at the polls 
conclusive and compelling the party of Order at once to contest it in parliament, 
instead of forcing the adversary to fight at the moment of popular enthusiasm and 
favourable mood in the army, the democratic party wearied Paris during the 
months of March and April with a new election campaign, let the aroused popular 
passions wear themselves out in this repeated provisional election game, let the 
revolutionary energy satiate itself with constitutional successes, dissipate itself in 
petty intrigues, hollow declamations and sham movements, let the bourgeoisie 
rally and make its preparations, and, lastly, weakened the significance of the 
March elections by a sentimental comment in the April by-election, the election 
of Eugene Sue. In a word, it made an April Fool of March 10. 



The parliamentary majority understood the weakness of its antagonist. Its 17 
burgraves ~ for Bonaparte had left the direction of and responsibility for the 
attack to it ~ drew up a new electoral law, the introduction of which was entrusted 
to M. Faucher, who solicited this honour for himself. On May 8 he introduced the 
law by which universal suffrage was to be abolished, a residence qualification of 
three years in the locality of the election to be imposed on the electors and, 

page 68 

finally, the proof of this residence was to depend in the case of workers on a 
certificate from their employers. 

Just as the democrats had, in revolutionary fashion, agitated and raged during 
the constitutional election contest, so now, when it was imperative to prove the 
serious nature of that victory with armed force, did they in constitutional fashion 
preach order, majestic calm (calme majestueux ), lawful action, that is to say, 
blind subjection to the will of the counter-revolution, which imposed itself as the 
law. During the debate the Mountain put the party of Order to shame by asserting, 
against the latter's revolutionary passion, the dispassionate attitude of the 
Philistine who keeps within the law, and by crushing that party with the fearful 
reproach that it acted in a revolutionary manner. Even the newly elected deputies 
were at pains to prove by their decorous and discreet actions what a 
misconception it was to decry them as anarchists and construe their election as a 
victory for revolution. On May 31, the new electoral law went through. The 
Montague contented itself with smuggling a protest into the pocket of the 
President. The electoral law was followed by a new press law, which 
suppressed[42] the revolutionary newspaper press entirely. It had deserved its fate. 
The National and La Presse.vm two bourgeois organs, were left behind after this 
deluge as the most advanced outposts of the revolution. 

We have seen how during March and April the democratic leaders had done 
everything to embroil the people of Paris in a sham fight, how after May 8 they 
did everything to restrain them from a real fight. In addition to this, we must not 
forget that the year 1850 was one of the most splendid years of industrial and 
commercial prosperity, and the Paris proletariat was therefore fully employed. But 
the election law of May 31, 1850 excluded it from any participation in po- 

page 69 

litical power. It cut it off from the very arena of the struggle. It threw the workers 
back into the position of pariahs which they had occupied before the February 
Revolution. By letting themselves be led by the democrats in the face of such an 
event and forgetting the revolutionary interests of their class for momentary ease 
and comfort, they renounced the honour of being a conquering power, 
surrendered to their fate, proved that the defeat of June 1848 had put them out of 
the fight for years and that the historical process would for the present again have 
to go on over their heads. So far as the petty-bourgeois democracy is concerned. 



which on June 13 had cried: "But if universal suffrage is attacked, we'll show 
them!", it now consoled itself with the contention that the counter-revolutionary 
blow which had struck it was no blow and the law of May 31 no law. On the 
second Sunday in May 1852, every Frenchman would appear at the polling place 
with ballot in one hand and sword in the other. It was content with this prophecy. 
Lastly, the army was disciplined by its superior officers for the elections of March 
and April 1850, just as it had been disciphned for those of May 28, 1849. This 
time, however, it resolved: "The revolution shall not dupe us a third time." 

The law of May 31, 1850 was the coup d'etat of the bourgeoisie. All its 
conquests over the revolution until now had had only a provisional character. 
They were endangered as soon as the existing National Assembly retired from the 
stage. They depended on the hazards of a new general election, and the history of 
elections since 1848 irrefutably proved that the bourgeoisie lost moral sway over 
the mass of the people in the same measure as its actual domination developed. 
On March 10, universal suffrage declared itself directly against the domination of 
the bourgeoisie; the bourgeoisie answered 

page 70 

by outlawing universal suffrage. The law of May 31 was, therefore, one of the 
necessities of the class struggle. On the other hand, the Constitution required a 
minimum of two million votes to make an election of the President of the republic 
valid. If none of the candidates for the presidency received this minimum, the 
National Assembly was to choose the President from among the three candidates 
with the largest number of votes. At the time when the Constituent Assembly 
made this law, ten million electors were registered on the rolls of voters. In its 
view, therefore, a fifth of the people entitled to vote was sufficient to make the 
presidential election valid. The law of May 3 1 struck at least three million votes 
off the electoral rolls, reduced the number of people entitled to vote to seven 
million and, nevertheless, retained the legal minimum of two million for the 
presidential election. It, therefore, raised the legal minimum from a fifth to nearly 
a third of the effective votes, that is, it did everything to smuggle the election of 
the President out of the hands of the people and into the hands of the National 
Assembly. Thus through the electoral law of May 31 the party of Order seemed to 
have made its rule doubly secure, by surrendering the election of the National 
Assembly and that of the President of the republic to the stationary section of 
society. 



As soon as the revolutionary crisis had been weathered and universal suffrage 
abolished, the struggle between the National Assembly and Bonaparte broke out 
again. 



The Constitution had fixed Bonaparte's salary at 600,000 francs. Barely six 
months after his installation he succeeded 

page 71 

in increasing this sum to twice as much, for Odilon Barrot wrung from the 
Constituent National Assembly an extra, allowance of 600,000 francs a year for 
so-called representation moneys. After June 13, Bonaparte had had similar 
requests voiced, this this time without eliciting any response from Barrot. Now, 
after May 3 1 , he immediately availed himself of the favourable moment and had 
his ministers propose a Civil List of three millions in the National Assembly. A 
long life of adventurous vagabondage had endowed him with highly developed 
antennae for sensing the weak moments when he might squeeze money from his 
bourgeois. He practised regular chantage.in The National Assembly had violated 
the sovereignty of the people with his assistance and his cognizance. He 
threatened to denounce its crime to the tribunal of the people unless it loosened its 
purse strings and purchased his silence with three million a year. It had robbed 
three million Frenchmen of their franchise. He demanded, for every Frenchman 
out of circulation, a franc in circulation, precisely three million francs. He, the 
elect of six millions, claimed damages for the votes out of which he said he had 
retrospectively been cheated. The Commission of the National Assembly refused 
the importunate man. The Bonapartist press threatened. Could the National 
Assembly break with the President of the republic at a moment when in principle 
it had made a definitive break with the mass of the nation? It rejected the annual 
Civil List, it is true, but it granted, for this once, an extra allowance of 2.16 
million francs. It was thus guilty of the double weakness of granting the money 
and of showing at the same time by its vexation that it granted it unwillingly. We 
shall see later why Bona- 



* Blackmail. --Ed. 
page 72 

parte needed the money. After this vexatious sequel, which followed on the heels 
of the abolition of universal suffrage and in which Bonaparte exchanged his 
humble attitude during the crisis of March and April for challenging impudence 
towards the usurpatory parliament, the National Assembly adjourned for three 
months, from August 1 1 to November 1 1 it left a Permanent Commission of 28 
members in its place, which contained no Bonapartists, but did contain some 
moderate republicans. The Permanent Commission of 1849 had included only 
Order men and Bonapartists. But at that time the party of Order declared itself 
permanently against the revolution. This time the parliamentary republic declared 
itself permanently against the President. After the law of May 31, this was the 
only rival that still confronted the party of Order. 



When the National Assembly met once more in November 1850, it seemed 
that, instead of the petty skirmishes it had hitherto had with the President, a great 
and ruthless struggle, a life-and-death struggle between the two powers, had 
become inevitable. 

The party of Order had broken up into its separate factions during this year's 
parliamentary recess, as it had done in 1849, each occupied with its own 
Restoration intrigues, which had been refuelled by the death of Louis Philippe. 
The Legitimist king, Henry V, had even nominated a formal ministry which 
resided in Paris and in which members of the Permanent Commission held seats. 
Bonaparte, in his turn, was, therefore, entitled to make tours of the French 
departments, and, according to the disposition of the town that he favoured with 
his presence, now more or less covertly, now more or less overtly, to divulge his 
own restoration plans and canvass votes for himself. He was constantly 
accompanied on these 

page 73 

processions, which the great official Moniteur and the lesser private Moniteurs of 
Bonaparte naturally had to celebrate as triumphal processions, by people affiliated 
with the December 10 Society. This society dates from the year 1849. On the 
pretext of founding a benevolent society, the lumpenproletariat of Paris had been 
organized into secret sections, each section being led by Bonapartist agents, with 
a Bonapartist general at the head of the whole organization. Decayed rou&eacutes 
with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, ruined and adventurous 
offshoots of the bourgeoisie, rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged 
soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mounte-banks, 
lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux,[n brothel keepers, 
portes, literati, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knige grinders, tinkers, beggars ~ in 
short, the whole of the nebulous, disintegrated mass, scattered hither and thither, 
which the French call la boh&egraveme ; from this kindred element Bonaparte 
formed the core of the December 10 Society. A "benevolent society" ~ in so far 
as, like Bonaparte, all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the 
expense of the labouring nation. This Bonaparte, who constitutes himself chief of 
the lumpenproletariat, who here alone rediscovers in mass form the interests 
which he personally pursues, who recognizes in the scum, offal and refuse of all 
classes the only class upon which he can base himself unconditionally, is the real 
Bonaparte, the Bonaparte sans phrase. An old crafty roue, he conceives the 
historical life of the nations and their performances of state as comedy in the most 
vulgar sense, as a masquerade where the grand costumes, words and postures 
merely serve to mask the pettiest knavery. 



* Procurers. --Ed. 
page 74 



This was the case on his expedition to Strasbourg, where a trained Swiss vulture 
had played the part of the Napoleonic eagle. For his irruption into Boulogne he 
puts some London lackeys into French uniforms. They represent the army. [44] In 
his December 10 Society, he assembles 10,000 rascally fellows, who are to play 
the part of the people, as Nick Bottom played the lion. At a moment when the 
bourgeoisie itself was acting out a perfect comedy, but in the most serious manner 
in the world, without infringing any of the pedantic conditions of French dramatic 
etiquette, and was itself half deceived, half convinced of the solemnity of its own 
performance of state, the adventurer, who took the comedy as plain comedy, was 
bound to win. Only when he has eliminated his solemn opponent, when he 
himself takes his imperial role seriously and under the Napoleonic mask imagines 
he is the real Napoleon, does he become the victim of his own conception of the 
world, the serious buffoon who no longer takes world history for a comedy but his 
comedy for world history. What the national ateliers were for the socialist 
workers, what the Gardes mobiles were for the bourgeois republicans, the 
December 10 Society was for Bonaparte, his very own party fighting force. On 
his journeys the detachments of this society packing the railways had to improvise 
a public for him, put on a show of public enthusiasm, roar vive VEmpereur, insult 
and thrash republicans, of course, under the protection of the police. On his return 
journeys to Paris they had to form the advance guard, forestall counter- 
demonstrations or disperse them. The December 10 Society belonged to him, it 
was his work, his very own idea. Whatever else he appropriates is put into his 
hands by the force of circumstances, whatever else he does, the circumstances do 
for him or he is content to copy from the deeds of others. But Bonaparte with his 
official 

page 75 

maxims about order, religion, family and property in public, before the citizens, 
and with the secret society of the Schufterles and Spiegelbergs,[45] the society of 
disorder, prostitution and theft, behind him ~ that is Bonaparte himself as original 
author, and the history of the December 10 Society is his own history. Now it had 
happened by way of exception that People's Representatives belonging to the 
party of Order came under the cudgels of the Decembrists. And there was more. 
Yon, the Police Commissioner assigned to the National Assembly and with the 
task of watching over its safety, acting on the allegations of a certain Alais, 
advised the Permanent Commission that a section of the Decembrists had decided 
to assassinate General Changarnier and Dupin, the President of the National 
Assembly, and had already designated the individuals who were to perpetrate the 
deed. One understands M. Dupin's terror. A parliamentary inquiry into the 
December 10 Society, that is, the profanation of the Bonapartist secret world, 
seemed inevitable. Just before the meeting of the National Assembly Bonaparte 
providently disbanded his society, naturally only on paper, for in a detailed 
memoir at the end of 1851 the Police Prefect Carlier still sought in vain to 
persuade him to really disband the Decembrists. 



The December 10 Society was to remain Bonaparte's private army until he 
succeeded in transforming the public army into a December 10 Society. 
Bonaparte made the first attempt at this shortly after the adjournment of the 
National Assembly, and with the money just wrested from it. As a fatalist, he 
lives by the conviction that there are certain higher powers which man, and the 
soldier in particular, cannot withstand. Among these powers he counts, first and 
foremost, cigars and champagne, cold poultry and garlic sausage. With this in 
mind, to begin with, he treats officers and non-commissioned 

page 76 

officers in his Elys&eacutee apartments to cigars and champagne, to cold poultry 
and garlic sausage. On October 3 he repeats this manoeuvre with the assembled 
troops at the St. Maur review, and on October 10 the same manoeuvre on a still 
larger scale at the Satory army parade. The Uncle remembered the campaigns of 
Alexander in Asia, the Nephew the triumphal marches of Bacchus in the same 
land. Alexander was a demigod, to be sure, but Bacchus was a god and moreover 
the tutelary deity of the December 10 Society. 

After the review of October 3, the Permanent Commission summoned the 
Minister of War d'Hautpoul. He promised that these breaches of discipline would 
not recur. We know how Bonaparte kept d'Hautpoul's word on October 10. As 
Commander-in-Chief of the Paris army, Changarnier had been in command at 
both reviews. He, at the same time a member of the Permanent Commission, chief 
of the National Guard, the "saviour" of January 29 and June 13, the "mainstay of 
society," the party of Order's candidate for the presidential honours, the expected 
Monk[46] of two monarchies, had hitherto never thought of himself as the War 
Minister's subordinate, had always openly derided the republican Constitution and 
had pursued Bonaparte with an ambiguous lordly protection. Now he was 
consumed with zeal for discipline against the Minister of War and for the 
Constitution against Bonaparte. While on October 10 a section of the cavalry 
raised the cry: "Vive Napol&eacuteon! Vivent les saucissons! "* Changarnier 
arranged that at least the infantry marching past under the command of his friend 
Neumayer should preserve an icy silence. As a punishment, the Minister of War 
relieved General Neumayer of his post in Paris at Bonaparte's 



* "Hurrah for Napoleon! Hurrah for the sausages!" —Ed. 

page 77 

instigation, on the pretext of appointing him commanding general of the 14th and 
15th military divisions. Neumayer refused this exchange of posts and so had to 
resign. Changarnier, for his part, published an order of the day on November 2, in 
which he forbade the troops to indulge in political declarations or demonstrations 
of any kind while under arms. The Elys&eacutee newspapers[47] attacked 
Changarnier; the papers of the party of Order attacked Bonaparte; the Permanent 



Commission held repeated secret sessions in which it was repeatedly proposed to 
declare the country in danger; the army seemed divided into two hostile camps, 
with two hostile general staffs, one in the Elys&eacutee, where Bonaparte resided, 
the other in the Tuileries, Changarnier's quarters. It seemed that only the meeting 
of the National Assembly was needed to give the signal for battle. The French 
public judged this friction between Bonaparte and Changarnier like that English 
journalist who characterized it in the following words: 

"The political housemaids of France are sweeping away the glowing lava of the revolution with 
old brooms and bickering with one another while they do their work." 

Meanwhile, Bonaparte hastened to remove the Minister of War, d'Hautpoul, to 
pack him off in all haste to Algiers and to appoint General Schramm Minister of 
War in his place. On November 12, he sent to the National Assembly a message 
of American prolixity, overladen with detail, redolent of order, desirous of 
reconciliation, in accordance with the Constitution, dealing with all and sundry, 
except the questions br&ucirclantes * of the moment. As if in passing, he made 
the remark that according to the express provisions of the Constitution 



* Burning questions. --Ed. 
page 78 

the President alone could dispose of the army. The message closed with the 
following words of great solemnity: 

''Above all, France needs tranquillity. . . . But bound by oath, I shall keep within the narrow 
limits that it has set for me. ... As far as I am concerned, elected by the people and owing my 
power to it alone, I shall always bow to its lawfully expressed will. Should you resolve at this 
session on a revision of the Constitution, a Constituent Assembly will regulate the position of the 
executive power. If not, then the people will solemnly pronounce its decision in 1852. But 
whatever the solutions of the future may be, let us come to an understanding, so that passion, 
surprise or violence may never decide the destiny of a great nation. . . . Above all, my main 
concern is not who will rule France in 1852, but how to employ the time which remains at my 
disposal so that the intervening period may pass by without agitation or disturbance. I have opened 
my heart to you with sincerity; you will answer my frankness with your trust, my good endeavours 
with your co-operation, and God will do the rest." 

The respectable, hypocritically moderate, virtuously commonplace language of 
the bourgeoisie reveals its deepest meaning in the mouth of the autocrat of the 
December 10 Society and the picnic hero of St. Maur and Satory. 

The burgraves of the party of Order did not delude themselves for a moment 
concerning the trust that this opening of the heart deserved. They had long been 
blase about oaths; they numbered in their midst veterans and virtuosos of political 
perjury. Nor had they missed the passage about the army. They observed with 
annoyance that in its lengthy enumeration of recently enacted laws the message 
passed over the most important law, the electoral law, in studied silence, and. 



moreover, in the event of there being no revision of the Constitution, left the 
election of the President in 1852 to the people. The electoral law was the leaden 
ball chained to the feet of the party of Order, which prevented it from walking and 
so much the more from charging forward! Moreover, by the official disbandment 
of the December 10 

page 79 

Society and the dismissal of the Minister of War d'Hautpoul, Bonaparte had with 
his own hand sacrificed the scapegoats on the altar of the country. He had taken 
the edge off the expected collision. Finally, the party of Order itself anxiously 
sought to avoid, to mitigate, to gloss over any decisive conflict with the executive 
power. For fear of losing their conquests over the revolution, they allowed their 
rival to carry off the fruits thereof. "Above all, France needs tranquillity" This 
was what the party of Order had cried to the revolution since February,[*] this was 
what Bonaparte's message cried to the party of Order. "Above all, France needs 
tranquillity." Bonaparte committed acts that aimed at usurpation, but the party of 
Order committed "a breach of the peace" if it made a fuss about these acts and 
misconstrued them like hypochondriacs. The sausages of Satory were quiet as 
mice when no one spoke of them. "Above all, France needs tranquillity." 
Bonaparte demanded, therefore, that he be left in peace to do as he liked and the 
parliamentary party was paralysed by a double fear, by the fear of again 
provoking revolutionary unrest and by the fear of itself appearing as the 
troublemaker in the eyes of its own class, in the eyes of the bourgeoisie. 
Consequently, since France demanded tranquillity above all things, the party of 
Order dared not answer "war" after Bonaparte had talked "peace" in his message. 
The public, which had anticipated scenes of great scandal at the opening of the 
National Assembly, was cheated of its expectations. The opposition deputies, who 
demanded the submission of the Permanent Commission's minutes on the October 
events, were outvoted by the majority. On principle, all debates that might cause 
excitement were eschewed. The proceedings of the 



*1848. --^J. 

page 80 



National Assembly during November and December 1850 were devoid of 
interest. 

At last, towards the end of December, guerrilla warfare began over a number of 
parliamentary prerogatives. The movement got bogged down in petty squabbles 
regarding the prerogatives of the two powers, since the bourgeoisie had done 
away with the class struggle for the moment by abolishing universal suffrage. 

A judgement of debt had been obtained from the court against Mauguin, one of 
the People's Representatives. In answer to the President of the Court's inquiry, the 



Minister of Justice, Rouher, declared that a capias should be issued against the 
debtor without further ado. Mauguin was thus thrown into the debtors' jail. The 
National Assembly flared up when it learned of the assault. Not only did it order 
his immediate release, but it even had him fetched forcibly from Clichy the same 
evening, by its greffier.^ In order, how ever, to confirm its faith in the sanctity of 
private property and with the idea at the back of its mind of opening, in case of 
need, an asylum for Montagnards who had become troublesome, it declared 
imprisonment of People's Representatives for debt permissible after previously 
obtaining its consent. It forgot to decree that the President might also be locked up 
for debt. It destroyed the last semblance of the immunity that enveloped the 
members of its own body. 

It will be remembered that, acting on the information given by a certain Alais, 
Police Commissioner Yon had denounced a section of the Decembrists for 
planning the murder of Dupin and Changarnier. At the very first sitting the 
quaestors made the proposal in reference to this that parliament should 



* Clerk. -Ed. 



page 81 



form a police force of its own, paid out of the private budget of the National 
Assembly and absolutely independent of the police prefect. The Minister of the 
Interior, Baroche, protested against this invasion of his domain. Eventually, they 
came to a miserable compromise on this matter, by which the police 
commissioner of the Assembly was to be paid out of its private budget and to be 
appointed and dismissed by its quaestors, but only after previous agreement with 
the Minister of the Interior. Meanwhile criminal proceedings had been taken by 
the government against Alais, and here it was easy to represent his information as 
a hoax and using the public prosecutor as a mouthpiece to cast ridicule upon 
Dupin, Changarnier, Yon and the whole National Assembly. On December 29, 
Minister Baroche writes a letter to Dupin in which he demands Yon's dismissal. 
The Bureau of the National Assembly decides to retain Yon in his position, but 
the National Assembly, alarmed by its violence in the Mauguin affair and 
accustomed when it has ventured a blow at the executive power to receive two 
blows from it in return, does not sanction this decision. It dismisses Yon as a 
reward for his official zeal and robs itself of a parliamentary prerogative 
indispensable against a man who does not decide by night in order to act by day, 
but who decides by day and acts by night. 

We have seen how on certain notable occasions during the months of 
November and December the National Assembly avoided or quashed the struggle 
with the executive power. Now we see it compelled to take it up on the pettiest 
occasions. In the Mauguin affair it confirms the principle of imprisoning People's 
Representatives for debt, but reserves the right to have it applied only to 



Representatives out of favour with it and wrangles over this infamous privilege 
with the 

page 82 

Minister of Justice. Instead of availing itself of the alleged murder plot to decree 
an inquiry into the December 10 Society and irredeemably unmasking Bonaparte 
before France and Europe in his true character of chief of the Paris 
lumpenproletariat, it lets the conflict sink to a point where the only issue between 
it and the Minister of the Interior is which of them has the authority to appoint and 
dismiss a police commissioner. Thus, during the whole of this period, we see the 
party of Order compelled by its equivocal position to dissipate and disintegrate its 
struggle with the executive power in petty jurisdictional squabbles, petty- foggery, 
legalistic hairsplitting, and delimitation disputes, and to make the most ridiculous 
matters of form the substance of its activity. It does not dare to take up the 
conflict at the moment when it becomes a question of principle, when the 
executive power has really exposed itself and the cause of the National Assembly 
would be the cause of the nation. By so doing it would give the nation its 
marching orders, and it fears nothing more than that the nation should be roused. 
On such occasions it accordingly rejects the motions of the Montague and 
proceeds to the order of the day. The wider implications of the question at issue 
having thus been dropped, the executive power calmly bides its time until it can 
again take up the same question on petty and insignificant occasions, when it is, 
so to speak, of only local parliamentary interest. Then the repressed rage of the 
party of Order breaks out, then it tears away the curtain from the wings, then it 
denounces the President, then it declares the republic in danger, but then, also, its 
fervour appears absurd and the occasion for the struggle seems a hypocritical 
pretext or altogether not worth fighting about. The parliamentary storm becomes a 
storm in a teacup, the fight becomes an intrigue, the conflict a scandal. 

page 83 

While the revolutionary classes gloat with malicious joy over the humiliation of 
the National Assembly, for they are just as enthusiastic about the parliamentary 
prerogatives of this Assembly as the latter is about public liberties, the 
bourgeoisie outside parliament does not understand how the bourgeoisie inside 
parliament can waste time over such petty squabbles and imperil tranquillity by 
such pitiful rivalries with the President. It becomes confused by a strategy that 
makes peace at the moment when all the world is expecting battles, and attacks at 
the moment when all the world believes peace has been made. 

On December 20, Pascal Duprat interpellated the Minister of the Interior 
concerning the Gold Bars Lottery. This lottery was a "daughter of Elysium. "[48] 
Bonaparte and his faithful followers had brought her into the world and Police 
Prefect Carlier had placed her under his official protection, although French law 
forbids all lotteries with the exception of raffles for charitable purposes. Seven 
million lottery tickets at a franc apiece, the profits ostensibly to go to shipping 



Parisian vagabonds to California. On the one hand, golden dreams were to 
supplant the socialist dreams of the Paris proletariat; the seductive prospect of the 
first prize, the doctrinaire right to work. Naturally, the Paris workers did not 
notice in the glitter of the California gold bars the francs that were enticed 
inconspicuously out of their pockets. However, the matter was essentially nothing 
short of a downright swindle. The vagabonds who wanted to open California gold 
mines without bothering to leave Paris were Bonaparte himself and his debt 
ridden Round Table. The three millions voted by the National Assembly had been 
squandered in riotous living; in one way or another the coffers had to be 
replenished. Bonaparte had opened a national subscription for the building of 

page 84 

so-called cit&eacutes ouvri&egraveres.m and figured at the head of the list 
himself with a considerable sum. In vain. The hard-hearted bourgeois waited 
mistrustfully for him to pay up his share and since this, naturally, did not ensue, 
the speculation in socialist castles in the air fell straightway to the ground. The 
gold bars proved a better draw. Bonaparte & Co. were not content to pocket part 
of the excess of the seven millions over the bars to be allotted in prizes; they 
manufactured false lottery tickets; they issued 10, 15 and even 20 tickets with the 
same number ~ a financial operation in the spirit of the December 10 Society! 
Here the National Assembly was confronted not with the fictitious President of 
the republic, but with Bonaparte in the flesh. Here it could catch him in the act, in 
conflict not with the Constitution but with the Code p&eacutenal. If on Duprat's 
interpellation it proceeded to the order of the day, this did not happen merely 
because Girardin's motion that it should declare itself ''satisfait " reminded the 
party of Order of its own systematic corruption. The bourgeois and, above all, the 
bourgeois inflated into a statesman, supplements his practical meanness by 
theoretical extravagance. As a statesman he becomes, like the state power that 
confronts him, a higher being that can only be fought in a higher, consecrated 
fashion. 

Bonaparte, who precisely because he was a Bohemian, a princely 
lumpenproletarian, had the advantage over a rascally bourgeois in that he could 
conduct the struggle meanly, now saw, after the Assembly had itself guided him 
with its own hand across the slippery ground of the military banquets, the 
reviews, the December 10 Society, and, finally, the Code p&eacutenal, that the 
moment had come when he could pass from an 



* Workers' settlements. —Ed. 

page 85 

apparent defensive to the offensive. The minor defeats meanwhile sustained by 
the Minister of Justice, the Minister of War, the Minister of the Navy and the 
Minister of Finance, through which the National Assembly signified its snarling 



displeasure, troubled him little. He not only prevented the ministers from 
resigning and thus recognizing the sovereignty of parliament over the executive 
power, but could now consummate what he had begun during the recess of the 
National Assembly: the severance of the military power from parliament, the 
removal of Changarnier. 

An Elys&eacutee paper published an order of the day alleged to have been 
addressed during the month of May to the First Military Division, and therefore 
proceeding from Changarnier, in which the officers were recommended, in the 
event of an insurrection, to give no quarter to the traitors in their own ranks, but to 
shoot them immediately and refuse the National Assembly the troops, should it 
requisition them. On January 3, 1851, the Cabinet was interpellated concerning 
this order of the day. For the investigation of this matter it requests a breathing 
space, first of three months, then of a week, finally of only 24 hours. The 
Assembly insists on an immediate explanation. Changarnier rises and declares 
that there never was such an order of the day. He adds that he will always hasten 
to comply with the demands of the National Assembly and that in case of a clash 
it can count on him. It receives his declaration with tumultuous applause and 
passes a vote of confidence in him. It abdicates, it decrees its own impotence and 
the omnipotence of the army by placing itself under the private protection of a 
general; but the general deceives himself when he puts at its command against 
Bonaparte a power that he only holds as a fief from the same Bonaparte and 
when, in his turn, he expects to be protected 

page 86 

by this parliament, by his own prot&eacutege in need of protection. Changarnier, 
however, believes in the mysterious power with which the bourgeoisie has 
endowed him since January 29, 1849. He considers himself the third power, 
existing side by side with both the other state powers. He shares the fate of the 
rest of this epoch's heroes, or rather saints, whose greatness consists precisely in 
the biassed great opinion of them that their party creates in its own interests and 
who shrink to everyday figures as soon as circumstances call on them to perform 
miracles. Scepticism is, in general, the mortal enemy of these reputed heroes and 
real saints. Hence their majestically moral indignation at the dearth of enthusiasm 
displayed by wits and scoffers. 

The same evening, the ministers were summoned to the Elys&eacutee; 
Bonaparte insists on the dismissal of Changarnier; five ministers refuse to sign it; 
the Moniteur announces a ministerial crisis, and the press of the party of Order 
threatens to form a parliamentary army under Changarnier's command. The party 
of Order had constitutional authority to take this step. It merely had to appoint 
Changarnier President of the National Assembly and requisition any number of 
troops it pleased for its protection. It could do so all the more safely as 
Changarnier still actually stood at the head of the army and the Paris National 
Guard and was only waiting to be requisitioned together with the army. The 
Bonapartist press did not as yet even dare to question the right of the National 



Assembly to requisition troops directly, a legal scruple that under the 
circumstances did not promise any success. It is probable that the army would 
have obeyed the orders of the National Assembly when one bears in mind that 
Bonaparte had to search all Paris for eight days in order, finally, to find two 
generals -- Baraguay d'HiUiers and Saint- 
page 87 

Jean dAng&eacutely ~ who declared themselves ready to counter-sign 
Changarnier's dismissal. It is more than doubtful that the party of Order, however, 
would have found in its own ranks and in parliament the necessary number of 
votes for such a resolution, when one considers that eight days later 286 votes 
detached themselves from the party and that in December 1 85 1 , in the final hour 
of decision, the Montague still rejected a similar proposal. Nevertheless, the 
burgraves might, perhaps, still have succeeded in spurring the mass of their party 
to a heroism that consisted in feeling secure behind a forest of bayonets and 
accepting the services of an army that had deserted to their camp. Instead of this, 
on the evening of January 6, Messrs. the Burgraves betook themselves to the 
Elys&eacutee in order to make Bonaparte desist from dismissing Changarnier by 
using statesmanlike phrases and urging considerations of state. Whomever one 
seeks to persuade, one acknowledges as master of the situation. On January 12, 
Bonaparte, reassured by this step, appoints a new ministry which retains the 
leaders of the old ministry, Fould and Baroche. Saint- Jean dAng&eacutely 
becomes Minister of War, the Moniteur publishes the decree dismissing 
Changarnier, and his command is divided between Baraguay d'HiUiers, who 
receives the First Army Division, and Perrot, who receives the National Guard. 
The mainstay of society has been discharged, and while this does not cause any 
tiles to fall from the roofs, quotations on the bourse are, on the other hand, going 
up. 

The party of Order declares that the bourgeoisie has forfeited its vocation to 
rule by rejecting the army, which places itself in the person of Changarnier at its 
disposal, and surrendering it irrevocably to the President. A parliamentary 
ministry no longer existed. Having now indeed lost its grip 

page 88 

on the army and National Guard, what forcible means remained to it with which 
simultaneously to maintain the usurped authority of parliament over the people 
and its constitutional authority against the President? None. It only had recourse 
to powerless principles now to principles that it had itself always interpreted 
merely as general rules, which one prescribes for others in order to be able to 
move all the more freely oneself. The dismissal of Changarnier and the falling of 
the military power into Bonaparte's hands closes the first part of the period we are 
considering, the period of struggle between the party of Order and the executive 
power. War between the two powers has now been openly declared, is openly 
waged, but only after the party of Order has lost both arms and soldiers. Without 



the ministry, without the army, without the people, without pubhc opinion, after 
its Electoral Law of May 3 1 no longer the representative of the sovereign nation, 
sans eyes, sans ears, sans teeth, sans everything, the National Assembly had 
undergone a gradual transformation into an ancient French Parliament[49] that has 
to leave action to the government and content itself with grumbled protests post 
festum. * 

The party of Order receives the new ministry with a storm of indignation. 
General Bedeau recalls to mind the mildness of the Permanent Commission 
during the recess, and the excessive consideration it had shown by waiving the 
publication of its minutes. The Minister of the Interior himself now insists on the 
publication of these minutes, which by this time have naturally become as dull as 
ditch-water, disclose no fresh facts and have not the slightest effect on the blase 
public. On Remusat's proposal the National Assembly retires into its 



* After the feast, that is, belatedly. --Ed. 

page 89 

bureaux and appoints a "Committee for Extraordinary Measures." Paris departs 
even less from the rut of its every day routine, since at this moment trade is 
prosperous, manufactories are busy, corn prices low, foodstuffs overflowing and 
the savings banks receive fresh deposits daily. The "extraordinary measures" that 
parliament has announced with so much noise fizzle out on January 18 in a no- 
confidence vote against the ministry without General Changarnier even being 
mentioned. The party of Order had been forced to frame its motion in this way in 
order to secure the votes of the republicans, as, of all the ministry's measures, 
Changarnier's dismissal is precisely the only one which the republicans approve 
of, while the party of Order is in fact not in a position to censure the other 
ministerial acts, which it had itself dictated. 

The no-confidence vote of January 18 was passed by 415 votes to 286. Thus, it 
was carried only by a coalition of the extreme Legitimists and Orleanists with the 
pure republicans and the Montague. Thus it proved that the party of Order had 
lost not only the ministry and the army in its conflicts with Bonaparte, but also its 
independent parliamentary majority, that a squad of Representatives had deserted 
from its camp, out of fanaticism for conciliation, out of fear of the struggle, out of 
lassitude, out of considerations of kin for the state salaries so near and dear to 
them, out of speculation on ministerial posts becoming vacant (Odilon Barrot), 
out of sheer egoism, which makes the ordinary bourgeois always inclined to 
sacrifice the general interest of his class for this or that private motive. From the 
first, the Bonapartist Representatives adhered to the party of Order only in the 
struggle against revolution. The leader of the Catholic party, Montalembert, had 
already at that time thrown his influence into the Bonapartist scale, since he 
despaired of the parlia- 



page 90 

mentary party's prospects of life. Lastly, the leaders of this party, Thiers and 
Berryer, the Orleanist and the Legitimist, were compelled to proclaim themselves 
republicans openly, to confess that their hearts were royalist but their heads 
republican, that the parliamentary republic was the sole possible form for the rule 
of the bourgeoisie as a whole. Thus they were compelled, before the eyes of the 
bourgeois class itself, to stigmatize the Restoration plans, which they continued 
indefatigably to pursue behind parliament's back, as an intrigue as dangerous as it 
was brainless. 

The no-confidence vote of January 18 affected the ministers and not the 
President. But it was not the ministry, it was the President who had dismissed 
Changarnier. Should the party of Order impeach Bonaparte himself? On account 
of his restoration ambitions? The latter merely complemented their own. On 
account of his conspiracy in connection with the military reviews and the 
December 10 Society? They had buried these themes long since under simple 
orders of the day. On account of the dismissal of the hero of January 29 and June 
13, the man who in May 1850 threatened to set fire to all four corners of Paris in 
the event of a rising? Their allies of the Montague and Cavaignac did not even 
allow them to raise the fallen mainstay of society by means of an official 
attestation of sympathy. They themselves could not deny the President the 
constitutional authority to dismiss a general. They only raged because he made an 
unparliamentary use of his constitutional right. Had they not continually made an 
unconstitutional use of their parliamentary prerogative, particularly in regard to 
the abolition of universal suffrage? They were therefore reduced to moving within 
strictly parliamentary limits. And it took that peculiar malady which since 1848 
has raged all over the Continent, parliamentary cretinism, 

page 91 

which holds those infected by it fast in an imaginary world and robs them of all 
sense, all memory, all understanding of the rude external world ~ it took this 
parliamentary cretinism for those who had destroyed all the conditions of 
parliamentary power with their own hands, and were bound to destroy them in 
their struggle with the other classes, still to regard their parliamentary victories as 
victories and to believe they hit the President by striking at his ministers. They 
merely gave him the opportunity to humiliate the National Assembly afresh in the 
eyes of the nation. On January 20 the Moniteur announced that the resignation of 
the entire ministry had been accepted. On the pretext that no parliamentary party 
any longer had a majority, as the vote of January 18, this fruit of the coalition 
between Montague and royalists, proved, and pending the formation of a new 
majority, Bonaparte appointed a so-called transition ministry, not one member of 
which was a member of parliament, all being absolutely unknown and 
insignificant individuals, a ministry of mere clerks and copyists. The party of 
Order could now wear itself out playing with these puppets; the executive power 
no longer thought it worth while to be seriously represented in the National 



Assembly. The more his ministers were pure dummies, the more openly 
Bonaparte concentrated the whole executive power in his own person and the 
more scope he had to exploit it for his own ends. 

The party of Order, in coalition with the Montague, revenged itself by rejecting 
the grant to the President of 1.8 million francs, which the chief of the December 
10 Society had compelled his ministerial clerks to propose. This time a majority 
of only 102 votes decided the matter; thus 27 fresh votes had fallen away since 
January 18; the dissolution of the party of Order was making progress. At the 
same time, in 

page 92 

order that there might not for a moment be any mistake about the meaning of its 
coalition with the Montague, it scorned even to consider a proposal signed by 189 
members of the Montague calling for a general amnesty of political offenders. It 
sufficed for the Minister of the Interior, a certain Va&iumlsse, to declare that the 
tranquillity was only apparent, that in secret great unrest prevailed, that in secret 
ubiquitous societies were being organized, the democratic papers were preparing 
to come out again, the reports from the departments were unfavourable, the 
Geneva refugees were directing a conspiracy spreading by way of Lyons over all 
the south of France, France was on the verge of an industrial and commercial 
crisis, the manufacturers of Roubaix had reduced working hours, that the 
prisoners of Belle Isle[50] were in revolt ~ it sufficed for even a mere Va&iumlsse 
to conjure up the red spectre and the party of Order rejected without discussion a 
motion that would certainly have won the National Assembly immense popularity 
and thrown Bonaparte back into its arms. Instead of letting itself be intimidated by 
the executive power with the prospect of fresh disturbances, it ought rather to 
have allowed the class struggle a little elbowroom, so as to keep the executive 
power dependent on itself. But it did not feel equal to the task of playing with fire. 

Meanwhile, the so-called transition ministry continued to vegetate until the 
middle of April. Bonaparte wearied and teased the National Assembly with 
continual new ministerial combinations. One minute he seemed to want to form a 
republican ministry with Lamartine and Billault, the next a parliamentary one 
with the inevitable Odilon Barrot, whose name may never be missing when a 
dupe is necessary, then a Legitimist ministry with Vatimesnil and Benoist dAzy, 
and then again an Orleanist one with Maleville. While he thus 

page 93 

kept the different factions of the party of Order in a state of mutual tension and 
alarmed them as a whole with the prospect of a republican ministry and the 
consequent inevitable restoration of universal suffrage, he at the same time 
engendered in the bourgeoisie the conviction that his honest efforts to form a 
parliamentary ministry were being frustrated by the irreconcilability of the 
royalist factions. The bourgeoisie, however, cried out all the louder for a "strong 



government," it found it all the more unpardonable to leave France "with out 
administration," the more a general commercial crisis seemed now to be 
approaching and won recruits for socialism in the towns just as the ruinously low 
price of corn did in the countryside. Trade became slacker daily, the unemployed 
hands increased perceptibly, 10,000 workers, at least, were without their daily 
bread in Paris, innumerable factories stood idle in Rouen, Mulhouse, Lyons, 
Roubaix, Tourcoing, St. Etienne, Elbeuf, etc. Under these circumstances 
Bonaparte could venture, on April 1 1, to restore the ministry of January 18: 
Messrs. Rouher, Fould, Baroche, etc., reinforced by M. Leon Faucher, whom the 
Constituent Assembly during its last days had, with the exception of five votes 
cast by ministers, unanimously stigmatized by a vote of no-confidence for sending 
out false telegrams. The National Assembly had, therefore, gained a victory over 
the ministry on January 18, had struggled with Bonaparte for three months, only 
to have Fould and Baroche on April 1 1 admit the puritan Faucher as a third party 
into their ministerial alliance. 

In November 1849, Bonaparte had contented himself with an unparliamentary 
ministry, in January 1851 with an extra-parliamentary one, and on April 1 1 he 
felt strong enough to form an anti-parliamentary ministry, which harmoniously 
combined in itself the no-confidence votes of both Assemblies, 

page 94 

the Constituent and the Legislative, the republican and the royalist. This gradation 
of ministries was the thermometer with which parliament could measure the 
decrease of its own vital heat. By the end of April the latter had fallen so low that 
Persigny, in a personal interview, could urge Changarnier to go over to the camp 
of the President. Bonaparte, he assured him, regarded the influence of the 
National Assembly as completely destroyed, and the proclamation was already 
prepared that was to be published after the coup d'etat, which was kept steadily in 
view but was by chance again postponed. Changarnier informed the leaders of the 
party of Order of the obituary notice, but who believes that bedbug bites are fatal? 
And parliament, stricken, disintegrated and tainted with death as it was, could not 
prevail upon itself to see in its duel with the grotesque chief of the December 10 
Society anything but a duel with a bedbug. But Bonaparte answered the party of 
Order as Agesilaus did King Agis: 

"/ seem to thee an ant, but one day I shall be a lion, "[sjj 



VI 

The coalition with the Montague and the pure republicans, to which the party of 
Order saw itself condemned in its unavailing efforts to maintain possession of the 
military power and to reconquer supreme control of the executive power, proved 
incontrovertibly that it had forfeited its independent parliamentary majority. On 



May 28, the mere power of the calendar, of the hour hand of the clock, gave the 
signal for its complete disintegration. With May 28, the last year of the life of the 
National Assembly began. It now had to decide whether to continue with the 
Constitution as it was or to 

page 95 

revise it. But revision of the Constitution did not only imply rule of the 
bourgeoisie or of the petty-bourgeois democracy, democracy or proletarian 
anarchy, parliamentary republic or Bonaparte, it implied at the same time Orleans 
or Bourbon! So the apple of discord fell in the midst of parliament, which was 
bound to inflame openly the conflict of interests which split the party of Order 
into hostile factions. The party of Order was a combination of heterogeneous 
social substances. The question of revision generated a political temperature at 
which the product again decomposed into its original constituents. 

The interest of the Bonapartists in a revision was simple. For them it was above 
all a question of abolishing Article 45, which forbade Bonaparte's re-election and 
the prolongation of his authority. The position of the republicans seemed no less 
simple. They unconditionally rejected any revision; they saw in it a universal 
conspiracy against the republic. Since they commanded more than a quarter of 
the votes in the National Assembly and, according to the Constitution, three 
quarters of the votes were required for a resolution for revision to be legally valid 
and for the convocation of a revising Assembly, they only needed to count their 
votes to be sure of victory. And they were sure of victory. 

As against these clear positions, the party of Order found itself caught in 
inextricable contradictions. If it rejected revision, it would imperil the status quo, 
since it would leave Bonaparte only one way out, that of force, and since on the 
second Sunday in May 1852, at the decisive moment, it would be surrendering 
France to revolutionary anarchy, with a President who had lost his authority, with 
a parliament which for a long time had not possessed it and with a people that 
meant to reconquer it. If it voted for constitutional revision, it knew 

page 96 

that it voted in vain and would be bound to fail constitution ally because of the 
veto of the republicans. If it unconstitutionally declared a simple majority vote to 
be binding, then it could hope to dominate the revolution only if it subordinated 
itself unconditionally to the sovereignty of the executive power, then it would 
make Bonaparte master of the Constitution, of its revision and of itself. Only a 
partial revision which prolonged the authority of the President would pave the 
way for imperial usurpation. A general revision which shortened the existence of 
the republic would bring the dynastic claims into unavoidable conflict, for the 
conditions of a Bourbon and the conditions of an Orleanist Restoration were not 
only different, they were mutually exclusive. 



The parliamentary republic was more than the neutral territory on which the 
two factions of the French bourgeoisie, Legitimists and Orleanists, large landed 
property and industry, could dwell side by side with equal rights. It was the 
unavoidable condition of their common rule, the sole form of state in which their 
general class interest subjected to itself at the same time both the claims of their 
particular factions and all the remaining classes of society. As royalists they fell 
back into their old antagonism, into the struggle for the supremacy of landed 
property or of money, and the highest expression of this antagonism, its 
personihcation, was their kings themselves, their dynasties. Hence the resistance 
of the party of Order to the recall of the Bourbons. 

The Orleanist and People's Representative Creton had in 1849,1850 and 1851 
periodically introduced a motion to revoke the decree exiling the royal families. 
Just as regularly parliament presented the spectacle of an Assembly of royalists 
that obdurately barred the gates through which their exiled kings might return 
home. Richard III had murdered Henry VI, 

page 97 

with the remark that he was too good for this world and belonged in heaven. They 
declared France too bad to possess her kings again. Constrained by force of 
circumstances, they had become republicans and repeatedly sanctioned the 
popular decision that banished their kings from France. 

A revision of the Constitution ~ and circumstances compelled taking it into 
consideration ~ called into question, along with the republic, the joint rule of the 
two bourgeois factions, and revived, with the possibility of a monarchy, the 
rivalry of interests which it had predominantly represented by turns, the struggle 
for the supremacy of one faction over the other. The diplomats of the party of 
Order believed they could settle the struggle by an amalgamation of the two 
dynasties, by a ^o-cdXl^d fusion of the royalist parties and their royal houses. The 
real fusion of the Restoration and the July Monarchy was the parliamentary 
republic, in which Orleanist and Legitimist colours were obliterated and the 
various species of bourgeois disappeared in the bourgeois as such, in the 
bourgeois genus. Now, however, Orleanist was to become Legitimist and 
Legitimist Orleanist. Royalty, in which their antagonism was personified, was to 
embody their unity; the expression of their exclusive factional interests was to 
become the expression of their common class interest; the monarchy was to do 
that which only the abolition of two monarchies, the republic, could do and had 
done. This was the philosopher's stone, which the doctors of the party of Order 
racked their brains to produce. As if the Legitimist Monarchy could ever become 
the monarchy of the industrial bourgeois or the bourgeois monarchy ever become 
the monarchy of the hereditary landed aristocracy. As if landed property and 
industry could fraternize under one crown, when the crown could only descend to 
one head, the head of the elder brother or of the 

page 98 



younger. As if industry could in any way come to terms with landed property, so 
long as landed property itself does not decide to become industrial. If Henry V 
died tomorrow, the Count of Paris would not become the king of the Legitimists 
unless he ceased to be the king of the Orleanists. The philosophers of fusion, 
however, who became more vociferous the more the question of revision came to 
the fore, who had provided themselves with an official daily organ in the 
Assembl&eacutee Nationale [52] and who are again at work even at this very 
moment (February 1852), considered the main difficulty to be due to the 
opposition and rivalry of the two dynasties. The attempts to reconcile the Orleans 
family with Henry V, begun since the death of Louis Philippe, but, like the 
dynastic intrigues generally, played at only while the National Assembly was in 
recess, during the entr'actes, behind the scenes, sentimental coquetry with the old 
superstition rather than seriously meant business, now became grand 
performances of state, enacted by the party of Order on the public stage, instead 
of in amateur theatricals, as hitherto. The couriers sped from Paris to Venice,[53] 
from Venice to Claremont, from Claremont to Paris. The Count of Chambord 
issues a manifesto in which "with the help of all the members of his family" he 
announces not his, but the "national" Restoration. The Orleanist Salvandy throws 
himself at the feet of Henry V. The Legitimist chiefs, Berryer, Benoist dAzy, 
Saint-Priest, travel to Claremont to persuade the Orleans faction, but in vain. The 
fusionists realize too late that the interests of the two bourgeois factions neither 
lose exclusiveness nor gain pliancy when they become accentuated in the form of 
family interests, the interests of two royal houses. If Henry V were to recognize 
the Count of Paris as his successor ~ at best the sole success that the fusion could 

page 99 

achieve ~ the House of Orleans would not win any claim that the childlessness of 
Henry V had not already secured it, but it would lose all claims that it had gained 
through the July Revolution. It would waive its original claims, all the titles that it 
had wrested from the older branch of the Bourbons in almost 100 years of 
struggle; it would barter away its historical prerogative, the prerogative of the 
modern kingdom, for the prerogative of its genealogical tree. The fusion, 
therefore, would be nothing but a voluntary abdication of the House of Orleans, 
its resignation to Legitimacy, repentant withdrawal from the Protestant state 
church into the Catholic. A withdrawal, moreover, that would not even bring it to 
the throne which it had lost, but to the throne's steps, on which it had been born. 
The old Orleanist ministers, Guizot, Duchatel, etc., who likewise hastened to 
Claremont to advocate the fusion, in fact represented merely the Kalzenjammer [*] 
of the July Revolution, the despair felt in regard to the bourgeois kingdom and the 
kingliness of the bourgeois, the superstitious belief in Legitimacy as the last 
charm against anarchy. Imagining themselves mediators between Orleans and 
Bourbons, they were in reality merely Orleanist renegades, and the prince of 
Joinville received them as such. On the other hand, the viable, bellicose section of 
the Orleanists, Thiers, Baze, etc., convinced Louis Philippe's family all the more 
easily that if any directly monarchist restoration presupposed the fusion of the two 
dynasties and if any such fusion, however, presupposed abdication of the House 



of Orleans, it was, on the contrary, wholly in accord with the tradition of their 
forefathers to recognize the republic for the moment and wait until events 
permitted the con- 



* The "morning- after" feeling. —Ed. 
page 100 

version of the presidential chair into a throne. Rumours of Joinville's candidature 
were circulated, public curiosity was kept in suspense and, a few months later, in 
September, after the rejection of revision, his candidature was publicly 
proclaimed. 

The attempt at a royalist fusion of Orleanists with Legitimists had thus not only 
failed; it had destroyed i\\^ir parliamentary fusion, their common republican form, 
and had broken up the party of Order into its original component parts; but the 
more the estrangement between Claremont and Venice grew, the more their 
settlement broke down and the Joinville agitation gained ground, the more eager 
and earnest became the negotiations between Bonaparte's minister Faucher and 
the Legitimists. 

The disintegration of the party of Order did not stop at its original elements. 
Each of the two great factions, in its turn, underwent a further stage of 
decomposition. It was as if all the old nuances that had formerly fought and 
jostled one another within each of the two circles, whether Legitimist or Orleanist, 
had thawed-out again like dry infusoria on contact with water, as if they had 
reacquired sufficient vital energy to form groups of their own and independent 
antagonisms. The Legitimists dreamed that they were back among the 
controversies between the Tuileries and the Pavilion Marsan, between Villele and 
Polignac.[54] The Orleanists relived the golden days of the tourneys between 
Guizot, Mole, Broglie, Thiers and Odilon Barrot. 

That section of the party of Order which was eager for revision, although it was 
divided again on the limits to revision, and which was composed of the 
Legitimists led by Berryer and Falloux, on the one hand, and by La 
Rochejaquelein, on the other, and of the battle- weary Orleanists led 

page 101 

by Mole, Broglie, Montalembert and Odilon Barrot, agreed with the Bonapartist 
Representatives on the following vague and broadly framed motion: 

"The undersigned Representatives move that, with the object of restoring to the nation the full 
exercise of its sovereignty, the Constitution be revised." 

At the same time, however, they unanimously declared through their reporter 
Tocqueville that the National Assembly had not the right to move the abolition of 



the republic, that this right was vested solely in the Revising Chamber. For the 
rest, the Constitution might be revised only in a "legal" manner, that is, only if the 
constitutionally prescribed three-quarters of the number of votes were cast in 
favour of revision. On July 19, after six days of stormy debate, revision was 
rejected, as was to be anticipated. Four hundred and forty-six votes were cast for 
it, but 278 against. The extreme Orleanists, Thiers, Changarnier, etc., voted with 
the repubhcans and the Montague. 

Thus the majority of parliament declared against the Constitution, but this 
Constitution itself declared for the minority and that its vote was binding. But had 
not the party of Order subordinated the Constitution to the parliamentary majority 
on May 31, 1850, and on June 13, 1849? Up to now, had not its whole policy 
been based on the subordination of the paragraphs of the Constitution to the 
decisions of the parliamentary majority? Had it not left to the democrats the 
antediluvian superstitious belief in the letter of the law, and castigated the 
democrats for it? At the present moment, however, revision of the Constitution 
meant nothing but continuation of the presidential authority, just as continuation 
of the Constitution meant nothing but Bonaparte's deposition. Parliament had 
declared for him, but the Constitution declared 

page 102 

against parliament. He, therefore, acted in the sense of par lament when he tore up 
the Constitution and he acted in the sense of the Constitution when he dispersed 
parliament. 

Parliament had declared the Constitution and, with the latter, its own rule to be 
"beyond the majority"; by its vote it had abolished the Constitution and prolonged 
the term of presidential power, while declaring at the same time that neither can 
the one die nor the other live so long as it itself continues to exist. Those who 
were to bury it were standing at the door. While it debated about revision, 
Bonaparte removed General Baraguay d'Hilliers, who had proved irresolute, from 
the command of the First Army Division and appointed in his place General 
Magnan, the victor of Lyons, the hero of the December days, one of his creatures, 
who under Louis Philippe had already compromised himself more or less in 
Bonaparte's favour on the occasion of the Boulogne expedition. 

The party of Order proved by its decision on revision that it knew neither how 
to rule nor how to serve; neither how to live nor how to die; neither how to suffer 
the republic nor how to overthrow it; neither how to uphold the Constitution nor 
how to throw it overboard; neither how to co-operate with the President nor how 
to break with him. Who, then, did it look to for the solution of all the 
contradictions? To the calendar, to the course of events. It ceased to presume it 
had sway over events. It, therefore, challenged the events to assume sway over it, 
and thereby challenged the power to which in the struggle against the people it 
had surrendered one attribute after another until it itself stood impotent before this 
power. In order that the head of the executive power might be able to draw up his 



plan of campaign against it in relative peace, strengthen his means of attack, 
select his 

page 103 

tools and fortify his positions, it resolved precisely at this critical moment to retire 
from the stage and adjourn for three months, from August 10 to November 4. 

The parliamentary party was not only dissolved into its two great factions, each 
of these factions was not only split up within itself, but the party of Order in 
parliament had fallen out with the party of Order outside parliament. The 
spokesmen and scribes of the bourgeoisie, its platform and its press, in short, the 
ideologists of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie itself, the representatives and 
the represented, faced one another estranged and no longer understood one 
another. 

The Legitimists in the provinces, with their limited horizon and their unlimited 
enthusiasm, accused their parliamentary leaders, Berryer and Falloux, of deserting 
to the Bonapartist camp and of defection from Henry V. Thtir fleur-de-lis minds 
believed in the fall of man, but not in diplomacy. 

Far more fateful and decisive was the breach of the commercial bourgeoisie 
with its politicians. It reproached them, not as the Legitimists reproached theirs, 
with having abandoned their principles, but, on the contrary, with clinging to 
principles that had become useless. 

I have already indicated above that since Fould's entry into the ministry the 
section of the commercial bourgeoisie which had held the lion's share of power 
under Louis Philippe, namely, tht financial aristocracy, had become Bonapartist. 
Fould represented not only Bonaparte's interests in the bourse, he represented at 
the same time the interests of the bourse before Bonaparte. The position of the 
financial aristocracy is most strikingly depicted in a passage from its European 
organ, the London Economist. [55] In its number of February 1, 1851, its Paris 
correspondent writes: 

page 104 

"Now we have it stated from numerous quarters that above all things France demands 
tranquillity. The President declares it in his message to the Legislative Assembly; it is echoed 
from the tribune, it is asserted in the journals; it is announced from the pulpit; it is demonstrated 
by the sensitiveness of the public funds at the least prospect of disturbance, and their firmness the 
instant it is made manifest that the executive is victorious.'' 

In its issue of November 29, 1851, The Economist declares in its own name: 

''The President is the guardian of order, and is now recognized as such on every Stock exchange 
of Europe." 



The financial aristocracy, therefore, condemned the parhamentary struggle of 
the party of Order with the executive power as a disturbance of order, and 
celebrated every victory of the President over its ostensible representatives as a 
victory of order. By the financial aristocracy here we do not only mean the great 
loan promoters and speculators in public funds, whose interests, it is immediately 
obvious, coincide with the interests of the state power. All modern finance, the 
whole of the banking business, is interwoven in the closest fashion with public 
credit. A part of their business capital is necessarily invested and put out at 
interest in quickly convertible public funds. Their deposits, the capital placed at 
their disposal and distributed by them among merchants and industrialists, are 
partly derived from the dividends of holders of government securities. If in every 
epoch the stability of the state power signified Moses and the prophets to the 
entire money market and to the priests of this money market why not all the more 
so today, when every deluge threatens to sweep away the old states, and the old 
state debts with them? 

The industrial bourgeoisie, too, in its fanaticism for order was angered by the 
squabbles of the parliamentary party of 

page 105 

Order with the executive power. After their vote of January 8 on the occasion of 
Changarnier's dismissal, Thiers, Angles, Sainte-Beuve, etc., received from their 
constituents, in the industrial districts themselves, public reproofs in which 
particularly their coalition with the Montague was scourged as high treason 
against order. If, as we have seen, the boastful taunts, the petty intrigues which 
marked the struggle of the party of Order with the President merited no better 
reception, then, on the other hand, this bourgeois party, which required its 
representatives to allow the military power to pass from its own parliament to an 
adventurous pretender without offering resistance, was not even worth the 
intrigues that were squandered in its interests. It proved that the struggle to 
maintain ii^ public interests, its own class interests, ii^ political power, only 
troubled and upset it, as it was a disturbance of private business. 

Almost without exception, the bourgeois dignitaries of the departmental towns, 
the municipal authorities, the judges of the Commercial Courts, etc., everywhere 
received Bonaparte on his tours in the most servile manner, even when, as in 
Dijon, he made an unrestrained attack on the National Assembly, and especially 
on the party of Order. 

When trade was good, as it still was at the beginning of 1 85 1 , the commercial 
bourgeoisie raged against any parliamentary struggle, in case it put trade out of 
humour. When trade was bad, as it continually was from the end of Febru ary 
1851, the commercial bourgeoisie accused the parliamentary struggles of being 
the cause of stagnation and cried out for them to stop so that trade could start 
again. The revision debates came on just in this bad period. Since the question 



here was whether the existing form of state was to be or not to be, the bourgeoisie 
felt itself all the more justified in de- 
page 106 

manding from its representatives the ending of this torturous provisional 
arrangement and at the same time the maintenance of the status quo. There was 
no contradiction in this. By the end of the provisional arrangement it understood 
precisely what its continuation meant, the postponement to the distant future of 
the moment when a decision had to be reached. The status quo could be 
maintained in only two ways: prolongation of Bonaparte's authority or his 
constitutional retirement and the election of Cavaignac. A section of the 
bourgeoisie desired the latter solution and could give its representatives no better 
advice than to keep silent and leave the burning question untouched. They were of 
the opinion that if their representatives did not speak, Bonaparte would not act. 
They wanted an ostrich parliament that would hide its head in order to remain 
unseen. Another section of the bourgeoisie wished to leave Bonaparte in the 
presidential chair because he was already sitting in it, so that everything might 
remain in the same old rut. They were indignant because their parliament did not 
openly infringe the Constitution and abdicate without ceremony. 

The General Councils of the Departments, those provincial representative 
bodies of the big bourgeoisie, which met from August 25 on during the recess of 
the National Assembly declared almost unanimously for revision, and thus against 
parliament and in favour of Bonaparte. 

The bourgeoisie displayed its wrath against its literary representatives, its own 
press even more unequivocally than in its falling out with its parliamentary 
representatives. The sentences to ruinous fines and shameless terms of 
imprisonment, on the verdicts of bourgeois juries, for every attack of bourgeois 
journalists on Bonaparte's usurpationist intentions, for every attempt of the press 
to defend the political 

page 107 

rights of the bourgeoisie against the executive power, not only astonished France, 
but all Europe. 

While the parliamentary party of Order, by its clamour for tranquillity, as I 
have shown, committed itself to quies cence, while it declared the political rule of 
the bourgeoisie to be incompatible with the safety and existence of the 
bourgeoisie, by destroying with its own hands in the struggle against the other 
classes of society all the conditions for its own regime, the parliamentary regime, 
the extra-parliamentary mass of the bourgeoisie, on the other hand, by its servility 
towards the President, by its vilification of parliament, by its brutal maltreatment 
of its own press, invited Bonaparte to suppress and annihilate its speaking and 
writing section, its politicians and its literati, its platform and its press, in order 



that it might then be able to pursue its private affairs with full confidence in the 
protection of a strong and unrestricted government. It declared unequivocally that 
it longed to get rid of its own political rule in order to get rid of the troubles and 
dangers of ruling. 

And this extra-parliamentary bourgeoisie, which had already rebelled against 
the purely parliamentary and literary struggle for the rule of its own class and 
betrayed the leaders of this struggle, now dares after the event to indict the 
proletariat for not having risen in a bloody struggle, a life-and-death struggle on 
its behalf! This bourgeoisie, which every moment sacrificed its general class 
interests, that is, its political interests, to the narrowest and most sordid private 
interests, and demanded a similar sacrifice from its representatives, now moans 
that the proletariat has sacrificed its [the bourgeoisie's] ideal political interests to 
its [the proletariat's] material interests. It poses as a lovely being that has been 
misunderstood and deserted in the decisive hour by 

page 108 

the proletariat, which has been led astray by Socialists. And it finds an echo in the 
bourgeois world. Naturally, I do not speak here of German shyster politicians and 
riffraff of the same persuasion. I refer, for example, to the already quoted 
Economist, which as late as November 29, 1851, that is, four days prior to the 
coup d'etat, had declared Bonaparte to be the "guardian of order," but the Thiers 
and Berryers to be "anarchists," and on December 27, 1851, after Bonaparte had 
appeased these anarchists, is already vociferous concerning the treason against 
"the skill, knowledge, discipline, mental influence, intellectual resources and 
moral weight of the middle and upper ranks" committed by the masses of 
"ignorant, untrained, and stupid proletarians." The stupid, ignorant and vulgar 
mass was none other than the bourgeoisie itself. 

In the year 1851, France, to be sure, had passed through a kind of minor trade 
crisis. The end of February showed a decline in exports compared with 1850, in 
March trade suffered and factories closed down; in April the position of the 
industrial departments appeared as desperate as after the February days; in May 
business had still not revived; as late as June 28 the holdings of the Bank of 
France showed, by the enormous growth of deposits and the equally great 
decrease in advances on bills of exchange, that production was at a standstill, and 
it was not until the middle of October that a progressive improvement of business 
again set in. The French bourgeoisie attributed this trade stagnation to purely 
political causes, to the struggle between parliament and the executive power, to 
the precariousness of a merely provisional form of state, to the terrifying prospect 
of the second Sunday in May 1852. 1 will not deny that all these circumstances 
had a depressing effect on some branches of industry in Paris 

page 109 



and the departments. But in any case this influence of the pohtical conditions was 
only local and inconsiderable. Does this require further proof than the fact that the 
improvement of trade set in towards the middle of October, at the very moment 
when the political situation grew worse, the political horizon darkened and a 
thunderbolt from Elysium was expected at any moment? For the rest, the French 
bourgeois, whose "skill, knowledge, spiritual insight and intellectual resources" 
reach no further than his nose, could throughout the period of the Industrial 
Exhibition in London[56] have found the cause of his commercial misery right 
under his nose. While factories were closed down in France, in England 
commercial bankruptcies broke out. While in April and May the industrial panic 
reached a climax in France, in April and May the commercial panic reached a 
climax in England. As the French woollen industry suffered, so did the English 
woollen industry, and as French silk manufacture suffered, so did English silk 
manufacture. True, the English cotton mills continued working, but no longer at 
the same profits as in 1849 and 1850. The only difference was that the crisis in 
France was industrial, in England commercial; that while in France the factories 
stood idle, in England they extended operations, but under less favourable 
conditions than in preceding years; that in France it was exports which were 
hardest hit, in England imports. The common cause, which is naturally not to be 
found within the bounds of the French political horizon, was obvious. The years 
1849 and 1850 were years of the greatest material prosperity and of an over- 
production that appeared as such only in 1851. At the beginning of this year it was 
given a further special impetus by the prospect of the Industrial Exhibition. In 
addition there were the following special circumstances: first, the partial failure of 

page 110 

the cotton crop in 1850 and 1851, then the certainty of a bigger cotton crop than 
had been expected; first the rise, then the sudden fall, in short, the fluctuations in 
the price of cotton. The crop of raw silk, in France at least, had turned out to be 
even below the average yield. Woollen manufacture, finally, had expanded so 
much since 1848 that the production of wool could not keep pace with it and the 
price of raw wool rose out of all proportion to the price of woollen manufactures. 
Here, then, in the raw material of three industries for the world market, we have 
already threefold material for a stagnation in trade. Apart from these special 
circumstances, the apparent crisis of 1851 was nothing else but the halt which 
over-production and over- speculation invariably make in describing the industrial 
cycle, before they summon all their strength in order to rush feverishly through 
the final phase of this cycle and arrive once more at their starting-point, the 
general trade crisis. During such intervals in the history of trade, commercial 
bankruptcies break out in England, while in France industry itself is reduced to 
idleness, being partly forced into retreat by the competition, which is just 
becoming intolerable, of the English in all markets, and being partly singled out 
for attack as a luxury industry by every business standstill. Thus, besides the 
general crisis, France goes through national trade crises of her own, which are 
nevertheless determined and conditioned far more by the general state of the 
world market than by French local influences. It will not be without interest to 



contrast the judgement of the Enghsh bourgeois with the prejudice of the French 
bourgeois. In its annual trade report for 1851, one of the largest Liverpool houses 
writes: 

"Few years have more thoroughly belied the anticipations formed at their commencement than 
the one just closed; instead of the great 

page 111 

prosperity which was almost unanimously looked for it has proved one of the most discouraging 
that has been seen for the last quarter of a century ~ this, of course, refers to the mercantile, not to 
the manufacturing classes. And yet there certainly were grounds for anticipating the reverse at the 
beginning of the year ~ stocks of produce were moderate, money was abundant, and food was 
cheap, a plentiful harvest well secured, unbroken peace on the Continent, and no political or fiscal 
disturbances at home; indeed, the wings of commerce were never more unfettered. ... To what 
source, then, is this disastrous result to be attributed? We believe to over-trading both in imports 
and exports. Unless our merchants will put more stringent limits to their freedom of action, 
nothing but a triennial panic can keep us in check. "[57] 

Now picture to yourself the French bourgeois, how in the throes of this 
business panic his trade-crazy brain is tortured, set in a whirl and stunned by 
rumours of coups d'etat and the restoration of universal suffrage, by the struggle 
between parliament and the executive power, by the Fronde war between 
Orleanists and Legitimists, by the communist conspiracies in the south of France, 
by alleged Jacqueries in the Departments of Nievre and Cher, by the publicity of 
the different candidates for the presidency, by the cheapjack solutions offered by 
the journals, by the threats of the republicans to uphold the Constitution and 
universal suffrage by force of arms, by the gospel-preaching &eacutemigre heroes 
in partibus, who announced that the world would come to an end on the second 
Sunday in May 1852 ~ think of all this and you will comprehend why in this 
unspeakable, deafening chaos of fusion, revision, prorogation, constitution, 
conspiration, coalition, emigration, usurpation and revolution, the bourgeois 
madly snorts at his parliamentary republic: ''Rather an end with terror than terror 
without end! " 

Bonaparte understood this cry. His power of comprehension was sharpened by 
the growing turbulence of creditors who, with each sunset which brought the day 
of reckon- 

page 112 

ing, the second Sunday in May 1852, nearer, saw a movement of the stars 
protesting their earthly bills of exchange. They had become veritable astrologers. 
The National Assembly had blighted Bonaparte's hopes of a constitutional 
prolongation of his authority; the candidature of the Prince of Joinville forbade 
further vacillation. 

If ever an event has cast its shadow well in advance of its coming, it was 
Bonaparte's coup d'etat. As early as January 29, 1849, barely a month after his 



election, he had made a proposal about it to Changarnier. In the summer of 1849 
his own Prime Minister, Odilon Barrot, had covertly denounced the policy of 
coups d'etat ; in the winter of 1850 Thiers had openly done so. In May 1851, 
Persigny had sought once more to win Changarnier for the coup ; the Messager de 
VAssembl&eacutee [58] had published an account of these negotiations. During 
every parliamentary row, the Bonapartist journals threatened a coup d'etat, and 
the nearer the crisis drew, the louder grew their tone. In the orgies that Bonaparte 
kept up every night with men and women of the "swell mob," as soon as the hour 
of midnight approached and copious potations had loosened tongues and fired 
imaginations, the coup d'etat was fixed for the following morning. Swords were 
drawn, glasses clinked, the Representatives were thrown out of the window, the 
imperial mantle fell upon Bonaparte's shoulders, until the following morning 
banished the spook once more and astonished Paris learned, from vestals of little 
reticence and from indiscreet paladins, of the danger it had once again escaped. 
During the months of September and October rumours of a coup d'etat followed 
fast one on another. Simultaneously, the shadow took on colour, like a variegated 
daguerreotype. Look up the September and October copies of the organs of the 
European daily press and you will find, word for word, 

page 113 

intimations like the following: "Paris is full of rumours of a coup d'etat. The 
capital is to be filled with troops during the night, and the next morning is to bring 
decrees which will dissolve the National Assembly, declare the Department of the 
Seine in a state of siege, restore universal suffrage and appeal to the people. 
Bonaparte is said to be seeking ministers for the execution of these illegal 
decrees." The correspondence that brings these tidings always ends with the 
fateful word ''postponed^ The coup d'etat was ever Bonaparte's id&eacutee fixe. 
With this idea he had again set foot on French soil. He was so obsessed by it that 
he continually betrayed it and blurted it out. He was so weak that, just as 
continually, he gave it up again. The shadow of the coup d'etat had become so 
familiar to the Parisians as a spectre that they were not willing to believe in it 
when it finally appeared in the flesh. What allowed the coup d'etat to succeed 
was, therefore, neither the reticent reserve of the chief of the December 10 
Society nor the fact that the National Assembly was caught unawares. If it 
succeeded, it succeeded despite his indiscretion and with its fore-knowledge, a 
necessary, inevitable result of antecedent developments. 

On October 10, Bonaparte announced to his ministers his decision to restore 
universal suffrage; on the 16th, they handed in their resignations; on the 26th, 
Paris learned of the for mation of the Thorigny ministry. Police Prefect Carlier 
was simultaneously replaced by Maupas; the head of the First Military Division, 
Magnan, concentrated the most reliable regiments in the capital. On November 4, 
the National Assembly resumed its sittings. It had nothing better to do than to 
recapitulate in a short, succinct form the course it had gone through and to prove 
that it was buried only after it had died. 



page 114 

The first post that it forfeited in the struggle with the executive power was the 
ministry. It had to admit this loss solemnly by accepting at full value the Thorigny 
ministry, a mere shadow cabinet. The Permanent Commission had received M. 
Giraud with laughter when he presented himself in the name of the new ministers. 
Such a weak ministry for such strong measures as the restoration of universal 
suffrage! Yet the object was precisely to get nothing through in parliament, but 
everything against parliament. 

On the very first day of its re-opening, the National Assembly received the 
message from Bonaparte in which he demanded the restoration of universal 
suffrage and the abolition of the law of May 31, 1850. The same day his ministers 
introduced a decree to this effect. The National Assembly at once rejected the 
ministry's motion of urgency and rejected the law itself on November 13 by 355 
votes to 348. Thus, it tore up its mandate once more; it once more confirmed the 
fact that it had transformed itself from the freely elected representatives of the 
people into the usurpatory parliament of a class; it acknowledged once more that 
it had itself cut in two the muscles which connected the parliamentary head with 
the body of the nation. 

If by its motion to restore universal suffrage the executive power appealed from 
the National Assembly to the people, the legislative power appealed by its 
Quaestors' Bill from the people to the army. This Quaestors' Bill was to establish 
its right of directly requisitioning troops, of forming a parliamentary army. While 
it thus designated the army as the arbitrator between itself and the people, 
between itself and Bonaparte, while it recognized the army as the decisive state 
power, it had to confirm, on the other hand, the fact that it had long given up its 
claim to dominate this power. By de- 
page 115 

bating its right to requisition troops, instead of requisitioning them at once, it 
betrayed its doubts about its own powers. By rejecting the Quaestors' Bill, it made 
public confession of its impotence. This bill was defeated, gathering only a 
minority of 108 votes. The Montague thus decided the issue. It found itself in the 
position of Buridan's ass, not, indeed, between two bundles of hay with the 
problem of deciding which was the more attractive, but between two showers of 
blows with the problem of deciding which was the harder. On the one hand, there 
was the fear of Changarnier; on the other, the fear of Bonaparte. It must be 
confessed that the position was no heroic one. 

On November 18, an amendment was moved to the law on municipal elections 
introduced by the party of Order, to the effect that instead of three years', one 
year's domicile should suffice for municipal electors. The amendment was lost by 
a single vote, but this one vote immediately proved to be a mistake. By splitting 
up into its hostile factions, the party of Order had long ago forfeited its 



independent parliamentary majority. It showed now that there was no longer any 
majority at all in parliament. The National Assembly had become incapable of 
transacting business. Its atomic constituents were no longer held together by any 
force of cohesion; it had drawn its last breath; it was dead. 

Finally, a few days before the catastrophe, the extra-parliamentary mass of the 
bourgeoisie was solemnly to confirm once more its breach with the bourgeoisie in 
parliament. Thiers, as a parliamentary hero infected more than the rest with the 
incurable disease of parliamentary cretinism, had, after the death of parliament, 
hatched out, together with the Council of State, a new parliamentary intrigue, a 
Law of Accountability by which the President was to be firmly held 

page 116 

within the limits of the Constitution. Just as, on laying the foundation stone of the 
new market halls in Paris on September 15, Bonaparte, like a second Masaniello, 
had enchanted the dames des balles, the fishwives ~ to be sure, one fishwife 
outweighed 17 burgraves in real power; just as after the introduction of the 
Quaestors' Bill he enraptured the lieutenants he regaled in the Elys&eacutee, so 
now, on November 25, he swept off their feet the industrial bourgeoisie, who had 
gathered at the circus to receive from his hands prize medals for the London 
Industrial Exhibition. I shall give the significant portion of his speech as reported 
in the Journal des D&eacutebats : 

"With such unhoped-for successes, I am justified in reiterating how great the French republic 
would be if it were permitted to pursue its real interests and reform its institutions, instead of being 
constantly disturbed by demagogues, on the one hand, and by monarchist hallucinations, on the 
other. (Loud, stormy and repeated applause from every part of the amphitheatre.) The monarchist 
hallucinations hinder all progress and all important branches of industry. In place of progress 
nothing but struggle. One sees men who were formerly the most zealous supporters of the royal 
authority and prerogative become partisans of a Convention merely in order to weaken the 
authority that has sprung from universal suffrage. (Loud and repeated applause.) We see men who 
have suffered most from the Revolution, and have deplored it most, provoke a new one, and 
merely in order to fetter the nation's will. ... I promise you tranquillity for the future, etc., etc. 
(Bravo, bravo, a storm of bravos.) " 

Thus the industrial bourgeoisie applauds with servile bravos the coup d'etat of 
December 2, the annihilation of parliament, the downfall of its own rule, the 
dictatorship of Bonaparte. The thunder of applause on November 25 had its 
answer in the thunder of the cannon on December 4, and it was on the house of 
M. Sallandrouze, who had clapped most, that they clapped most of the bombs. 

Cromwell, when he dissolved the Long Parliament, went alone into its midst, 
drew out his watch in order that it should 



page 117 



not continue to exist a minute after the time limit fixed by him, and drove out 
each one of the members of parliament with hilariously humorous taunts. 



Napoleon, smaller than his prototype, at least betook himself on the eighteenth 
Brumaire to the legislative body and read out to it, though in a faltering voice, its 
sentence of death. The second Bonaparte, who, moreover, found himself in 
possession of an executive power very different from that of Cromwell or 
Napoleon, did not seek his model in the annals of world history, but in the annals 
of the December 10 Society, in the annals of the criminal courts. He robs the 
Bank of France of 25 million francs, buys General Magnan with a million, the 
soldiers with 15 francs apiece and liquor, secretly meets his accomplices like a 
thief in the night, has the houses of the most dangerous parliamentary leaders 
broken into and Cavaignac, Lamorici&egravere, Le Flo, Changarnier, Charras, 
Thiers, Baze, etc., dragged from their beds and put in prison, the chief squares of 
Paris and the parliamentary building occupied by troops, and cheapjack placards 
posted early in the morning on all the walls, proclaiming the dissolution of the 
National Assembly and the Council of State, the restoration of universal suffrage 
and the placing of the Seine Department in a state of siege. In like manner, he 
inserted a little later in the Moniteur a false document which asserted that 
influential parliamentarians had grouped themselves round him and formed a state 
consulta. 

The rump parliament, assembled in the mairie building of the 10th 
arrondissement and consisting mainly of Legitimists and Orleanists, votes the 
deposition of Bonaparte amid repeated cries of "Long live the Republic," 
unavailingly harangues the gaping crowds before the building and is finally led 
off in the custody of African sharpshooters, first to the 

page 118 

d'Orsay barracks, and later packed into prison vans and transported to the prisons 
of Mazas, Ham and Vincennes. Thus ended the party of Order, the Legislative 
Assembly and the February Revolution. Before hastening to a close, let us briefly 
summarize the latter's history: 

I. First period. From February 24 to May 4, 1848. February period. Prologue. 
Universal brotherhood swindle. 

II. Second period. Period of constituting the republic and of the Constituent 
National Assembly. 

1. May 4 to June 25, 1848. Struggle of all classes against the proletariat. Defeat 
of the proletariat in the June days. 

2. June 25 to December 10, 1848. Dictatorship of the pure bourgeois 
republicans. Drafting of the Constitution. Proclamation of a state of siege in Paris. 
The bourgeois dictatorship set aside on December 10 by the election of Bonaparte 
as President. 



3. December 20, 1848 to May 28, 1849. Struggle of the Constituent Assembly 
with Bonaparte and with the party of Order in alliance with him. Passing of the 
Constituent Assembly. Fall of the republican bourgeoisie. 

III. Third period. Period of the constitutional republic and of the Legislative 
National Assembly. 

1. May 28,1849 to June 13, 1849. Struggle of the petty bourgeoisie with the 
bourgeoisie and with Bonaparte. Defeat of the petty-bourgeois democracy. 

2. June 13, 1849 to May 31, 1850. Parliamentary dictatorship of the party of 
Order. It completes its rule by abolishing universal suffrage, but loses the 
parliamentary ministry. 

3. May 31, 1850 to December 2, 1851. Struggle between the parliamentary 
bourgeoisie and Bonaparte. 

(a) May 31, 1850 to January 12, 1851. Parliament loses the supreme command 
of the army. 

page 119 

(b) January 12 to April 11, 1851. It is worsted in its attempts to regain the 
administrative power. The party of Order loses its independent parliamentary 
majority. Its coalition with the republicans and the Montague. 

(c) April 11, 1851 to October 9, 1851. Attempts at revision, fusion, prorogation. 
The party of Order decomposes into its separate constituents. The breach between 
the bourgeois parliament and press and the mass of the bourgeoisie becomes 
definite. 

(d) October 9 to December 2, 1851. Open breach between parliament and the 
executive power. Parliament performs its dying act and succumbs, left in the lurch 
by its own class, by the army and by all the remaining classes. Passing of the 
parliamentary regime and of bourgeois rule. Victory of Bonaparte. Parody of 
restoration of empire. 



VII 

The social republic appeared as a phrase, as a prophecy on the threshold of the 
February Revolution. In the June days of 1848, it was drowned in the blood of the 
Paris proletariat, but it haunts the subsequent acts of the drama like a ghost. The 
democratic republic announces its arrival. On June 13, 1849, it fizzles out 
together with its petty bourgeois, who have taken to their heels, but in its flight it 
blows its own trumpet with redoubled boastfulness. T\\q parliamentary republic, 



together with the bourgeoisie, takes possession of the entire stage; it enjoys its 
existence to the full, but December 2, 1851 buries it to the accompaniment of the 
anguished cry of the royalist coalition: "Long live the Republic!" 

page 120 

The French bourgeoisie balked at the domination of the working proletariat; it 
has brought the lumpenproletariat to domination, with the chief of the December 
10 Society at the head. The bourgeoisie kept France in breathless fear of the 
future terrors of red anarchy; Bonaparte discounted this future for it when, on 
December 4, he had the eminent bourgeois of the Boulevard Montmartre and the 
Boulevard des Italiens shot down at their windows by the liquor-inspired army of 
order. It apotheosized the sword; the sword rules it. It destroyed the revolutionary 
press; its own press has been destroyed. It placed popular meetings under police 
supervision; its salons are under the supervision of the police. It disbanded the 
democratic National Guards, its own National Guard is disbanded. It imposed a 
state of siege; a state of siege is imposed upon it. It supplanted the juries by 
military commissions; its juries are supplanted by military commissions. It 
subjected public education to the sway of the priests; the priests subject it to their 
own education. It transported people without trial; it is being transported without 
trial. It repressed every stirring in society by means of the state power; every 
stirring in its society is suppressed by means of the state power. Out of 
enthusiasm for its purse, it rebelled against its own politicians and men of letters; 
its politicians and men of letters are swept aside, but its purse is being plundered 
now that its mouth has been gagged and its pen broken. The bourgeoisie never 
wearied of crying out to the revolution what Saint Arsenius cried out to the 
Christians ''Fuge, face, quiesce! Flee, be silent, keep still!" Bonaparte cries to the 
bourgeoisie: ''Fuge, face, quiesce! Flee, be silent, keep still!" 

The French bourgeoisie had long ago found the solution to Napoleon's 
dilemma: ''Dans cinquante ans V Europe sera 

page 121 

r&eacutepublicaine ou cosaque.'\n It had found the solution to it in the 
'' r&eacutepublique cosaque.'\^] No Circe has used black magic to distort that 
work of art, the bourgeois republic, into a monstrous shape. That republic has lost 
nothing but the semblance of respectability. Present-day Francer ***i was contained 
in a finished state within the parliamentary republic. It only required a bayonet 
thrust for the bubble to burst and the monster to spring forth before our eyes. 

Why did the Paris proletariat not rise in revolt after December 2? 

The overthrow of the bourgeoisie had as yet been only decreed; the decree had 
not been carried out. Any serious insurrection of the proletariat would at once 
have put fresh life into the bourgeoisie, would have reconciled it with the army 
and ensured a second June defeat for the workers. 



On December 4 the proletariat was incited by bourgeois and &eacutepicier to 
fight. On the evening of that day several legions of the National Guard promised 
to appear, armed and uniformed, on the scene of battle. For the bourgeois and the 
&eacutepicier had got wind of the fact that in one of his decrees of December 2 
Bonaparte abolished the secret ballot and enjoined them to record their "yes" or 
"no" in the official registers after their names. The resistance of December 4 
intimidated Bonaparte. During the night he had placards posted on all the street 
corners of Paris, announcing the restoration of the secret ballot. The bourgeois 
and the &eacutepicier believed that they had achieved their end. Those who failed 
to appear next morning were the bourgeois and the &eacutepicier. 



* "In 50 years Europe will be republican or Cossack." —Ed. 

** "Cossack republic." --Ed. 

*** I.e., France after the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851. —Ed. 

page 122 

By a coup de main during the night of December 1 to 2, Bonaparte had robbed 
the Paris proletariat of its leaders, the barricade commanders. An army without 
officers, averse to fighting under the banner of the Montagnards because of the 
memories of June 1848 and 1849 and May 1850, it left to its vanguard, the secret 
societies, the task of saving the insurrectionary honour of Paris, which the 
bourgeoisie had so unresistingly surrendered to the soldiery that, later on, 
Bonaparte could sneeringly give as his motive for disarming the National Guard - 
his fear that its arms would be turned against it itself by the anarchists! 

''C'est le triomphe complet et d&eacutefinitif du socialisme! "[*] Thus Guizot 
characterized December 2. But if the overthrow of the parliamentary republic 
contains within itself the germ of the triumph of the proletarian revolution, its 
immediate and palpable result was the victory of Bonaparte over parliament, of 
the executive power over the legislative power, of force without words over the 
force of words. In parliament the nation made its general will the law, that is, it 
made the law of the ruling class its general will. Before the executive power it 
renounces all will of its own and submits to the superior command of an alien 
will, to authority. The executive power, in contrast to the legislative power, 
expresses the heteronomy of a nation, in contrast to its autonomy. France, 
therefore, seems to have escaped the despotism of a class only to fall back 
beneath the despotism of an individual, and, what is more, beneath the authority 
of an individual without authority. The struggle seems to be settled in such a way 
that all classes, equally impotent and equally mute, fall on their knees before the 
rifle butt. 



"This is the complete and final triumph of socialism!" —Ed. 

page 123 



But the revolution is thorough-going. It is still journeying through purgatory. It 
does its work methodically. By December 2, 1851, it had completed one half of 
its preparatory work. It is now completing the other half. First it perfected the 
parliamentary power, in order to be able to overthrow it. Now that it has attained 
this, it is perfecting the executive power, reducing it to its purest expression, 
isolating it, setting it up against itself as the sole reproach, in order to concentrate 
all its forces of destruction against it. And when it has done this second half of its 
preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exultantly exclaim: Well 
grubbed, old mole! [59] 

This executive power with its enormous bureaucratic and military organization, 
with its vast and ingenious state machinery, with a host of officials numbering 
half a million, besides an army of another half million, this appalling parasitic 
body, which enmeshes the body of French society and chokes all its pores, sprang 
up in the days of the absolute monarchy, with the decay of the feudal system, 
which it helped to accelerate. The lordly privileges of the landowners and towns 
became transformed into so many attributes of the state power, the feudal 
dignitaries into paid officials and the motley pattern of conflicting mediaeval 
plenary powers into the regulated plan of a state authority whose work is divided 
and centralized as in a factory. The first French Revolution, with its task of 
breaking all separate local, territorial, urban and provincial powers in order to 
create the civil unity of the nation, was bound to develop what the absolute 
monarchy had begun: centralization, but at the same time the extent, the attributes 
and the number of agents of governmental power. Napoleon completed this state 
machinery. The Legitimist Monarchy and the July Monarchy added nothing 

page 124 

but a greater division of labour growing in the same measure as the division of 
labour within bourgeois society created new groups of interests, and, therefore, 
new material for state administration. Every common interest was straightway 
severed from society, counterposed to it as a higher, general interest, snatched 
from the activity of society's members themselves and made an object of 
government activity, from a bridge, a schoolhouse and the communal property of 
a village community to the railways, the national wealth and the national 
university of France. Finally, in its struggle against the revolution, the 
parliamentary republic found itself compelled to strengthen, with repressive 
measures, the resources and centralization of governmental power. All revolutions 
perfected this machine instead of smashing it. The parties that contended in turn 
for domination regarded the possession of this huge state edifice as the principal 
spoils of the victor. 

But under the absolute monarchy, during the first Revolution, under Napoleon, 
bureaucracy was only the means of preparing the class rule of the bourgeoisie. 
Under the Restoration, under Louis Philippe, under the parliamentary republic, it 
was the instrument of the ruling class, however much it strove for power of its 
own. 



Only under the second Bonaparte does the state seem to have made itself 
completely independent. As against civil society, the state machine has 
consolidated its position so thoroughly that the chief of the December 10 Society 
suffices for its head, an adventurer blown in from abroad, raised on the shield by a 
drunken soldiery, which he has bought with liquor and sausages, and which he 
must keep plying with sausages. Hence the downcast despair, the feeling of most 
dreadful humiliation and degradation that oppresses the 

page 125 

breast of France and makes her catch her breath. She feels dishonoured. 

And yet the state power is not suspended in midair. Bonaparte represents a 
class, and the most numerous class of French society at that, the small-holding 
[Parzellen] peasants. 

Just as the Bourbons were the dynasty of big landed property and just as the 
Orleans were the dynasty of money, so the Bonapartes are the dynasty of the 
peasants, that is, the mass of the French people. Not the Bonaparte who submitted 
to the bourgeois parliament, but the Bonaparte who dispersed the bourgeois 
parliament is the chosen of the peasantry. For three years the towns had succeeded 
in falsifying the meaning of the election of December 10 and in cheating the 
peasants out of the restoration of the empire. The election of December 10,1848 
has been consummated only by the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851. 

The small-holding peasants form a vast mass, the members of which live in 
similar conditions but without entering into manifold relations with one another. 
Their mode of production isolates them from one another instead of bringing them 
into mutual intercourse. The isolation is increased by France's poor means of 
communication and by the poverty of the peasants. Their field of production, the 
small holding, admits of no division of labour in its cultivation, no application of 
science and, therefore, no diversity of development, no variety of talent, no wealth 
of social relationships. Each individual peasant family is almost self-sufficient; it 
itself directly produces the major part of its consumption and thus acquires its 
means of life more through exchange with nature than in intercourse with society. 
A small holding, a peasant and his family; alongside them another small holding, 
another peasant and another family. A few score of these make up a village, 

page 126 

and a few score of villages make up a department. In this way, the great mass of 
the French nation is formed by simple addition of homologous magnitudes, much 
as potatoes in a sack form a sack of potatoes. In so far as millions of families live 
under economic conditions of existence that separate their mode of life, their 
interests and their culture from those of the other classes, and put them in hostile 
opposition to the latter, they form a class. In so far as there is merely a local 
interconnection among these small-holding peasants, and the identity of their 



interests begets no community, no national bond and no political organization 
among them, they do not form a class. They are consequently incapable of 
enforcing their class interest in their own name, whether through a parliament or 
through a convention. [60] They cannot represent themselves, they must be 
represented. Their representative must at the same time appear as their master, as 
an authority over them, as an unlimited governmental power that protects them 
against the other classes and sends them rain and sunshine from above. The 
political influence of the small-holding peasants, therefore, finds its final 
expression in the executive power subordinating society to itself. 

Historical tradition gave rise to the belief of the French peasants in the miracle 
that a man named Napoleon would bring all the glory back to them. And an 
individual turned up who passes himself off as the man because he bears the name 
of Napoleon, in consequence of the Code Napol&eacuteon.vm which lays down 
that la recherche de la paternite est interdite.^ After 20 years of vagabondage and 
after a series of grotesque adventures, the legend is fulfilled and the man be- 



* Enquiry into paternity is forbidden. —Ed. 

page 127 

comes Emperor of the French. The fixed idea of the Nephew was realized, 
because it coincided with the fixed idea of the most numerous class of the French 
people. 

But, you may object, what about the peasant risings in half of France, the raids 
on the peasants by the army, the mass incarceration and transportation of 
peasants? 

Since Louis XIV, France has not experienced a similar persecution of the 
peasants "in the name of demagogic practices." 

But let there be no misunderstanding. The Bonaparte dynasty represents not the 
revolutionary, but the conservative peasant; not the peasant that strikes out 
beyond the condition of his social existence, the small holding, but rather the 
peasant who wants to consolidate this holding, not the country folk who, linked 
up with the towns, want to overthrow the old order through their own energies, 
but on the contrary those who, in stupefied seclusion within this old order, want to 
see themselves and their small holdings saved and favoured by the ghost of the 
empire. It represents not the enlightenment, but the superstition of the peasant; not 
his judgement, but his prejudice; not his future, but his past; not his modern 
Cevennes, but his modern Vend&eacutee.[62] 

The three years' rigorous rule of the parliamentary republic had freed a part of 
the French peasants from the Napoleonic illusion and had revolutionized them, 
even if only superficially, but the bourgeoisie violently repressed them, every 



time they went into action. Under the parhamentary repubhc the modern and the 
traditional consciousness of the French peasant contended for mastery. This 
process took the form of an incessant struggle between the schoolmasters and the 
priests. The bourgeoisie struck down the schoolmasters. For the first time the 
peasants made efforts to behave independ- 

page 128 

ently in the face of the activity of the government. This was shown in the 
continual conflict between the maires and the prefects. The bourgeoisie deposed 
the maires. Finally, during the period of the parliamentary republic, the peasants 
of different localities rose against their own offspring, the army. The bourgeoisie 
punished them with states of siege and executions. And this same bourgeoisie 
now decries the stupidity of the masses, the vile multitude, that has betrayed it to 
Bonaparte. It has itself forcibly strengthened the empire sentiments 
[Imperialismus ] of the peasant class, it conserved the conditions that form the 
birthplace of this peasant religion. The bourgeoisie, to be sure, is bound to fear the 
stupidity of the masses as long as they remain conservative, and the in sight of the 
masses as soon as they become revolutionary. 

In the risings after the coup d'etat, a part of the French peasants protested, by 
force of arms, against their own vote of December 10, 1848. The schooling they 
had gone through since 1848 had sharpened their wits. But they had made 
themselves over to the underworld of history; history held them to their word, and 
the majority was still so prejudiced that it was in the reddest departments that the 
peasant population voted openly for Bonaparte. In its view, the National 
Assembly had hindered his progress. He had now merely broken the fetters that 
the towns had imposed on the will of the countryside. In some parts the peasants 
even entertained the grotesque notion of a convention side by side with Napoleon. 

After the first Revolution had transformed the peasants from semi-villeins into 
freeholders. Napoleon fixed and regulated the conditions on which they could 
exploit undisturbed the soil of France which had only just fallen to their lot and 
slake their youthful passion for property. But what is 

page 129 

now causing the ruin of the French peasant is his small holding itself, the division 
of the land, the form of property which Napoleon consolidated in France. It is 
precisely the material conditions which made the feudal peasant a small-holding 
peasant and Napoleon an emperor. Two generations have sufficed to produce the 
inevitable result: progressive deterioration of agriculture, progressive 
indebtedness of the agriculturist. The "Napoleonic" form of property, which at the 
beginning of the 19th century was the condition for the liberation and enrichment 
of the French country folk, has developed in the course of this century into the 
law of their enslavement and pauperization. And this law is the first of the 
"id&eacutees napol&eacuteoniennes" which the second Bonaparte has to uphold. 



If he still shares with the peasants the illusion that the cause of their ruin is to be 
sought, not in this small-holding property itself, but outside it, in the influence of 
secondary circumstances, his experiments will burst like soap bubbles when they 
come in contact with the relations of production. 

The economic development of small-holding property has radically changed 
the relation of the peasants to the other classes of society. Under Napoleon, the 
fragmentation of the land in the countryside supplemented free competition and 
the beginning of big industry in the towns. The peasant class was the ubiquitous 
protest against the landed aristocracy which had just been overthrown. The roots 
that small-holding property struck in French soil deprived feudalism of all 
nutriment. Its landmarks formed the natural fortifications of the bourgeoisie 
against any surprise attack on the part of its old overlords. But in the course of the 
19th century the feudal lords were replaced by urban usurers; the feudal 
obligation that went with the land was replaced by the mortgage; aristocratic 

page 130 

landed property was replaced by bourgeois capital. The small holding of the 
peasant is now only the pretext that allows the capitalist to draw profits, interest 
and rent from the soil, while leaving it to the tiller of the soil himself to see how 
he can extract his wages. The mortgage debt burdening the soil of France imposes 
on the French peasantry payment of an amount of interest equal to the annual 
interest on the entire British national debt. Small-holding property, in this 
enslavement by capital to which its development inevitably pushes forward, has 
transformed the mass of the French nation into troglodytes. Sixteen million 
peasants (including women and children) dwell in hovels, a large number of 
which have but one opening, others only two and the most favoured only three. 
And windows are to a house what the five senses are to the head. The bourgeois 
order, which at the beginning of the century set the state to stand guard over the 
newly arisen small holding and manured it with laurels, has become a vampire 
that sucks out its blood and brains and throws it into the alchemistic cauldron of 
capital. The Code Napol&eacuteon is now nothing but a codex of distraints, 
forced sales and compulsory auctions. To the four million (including children, 
etc.) officially recognized paupers, vagabonds, criminals and prostitutes in France 
must be added five million who hover on the margin of existence and either have 
their haunts in the countryside itself or, with their rags and their children, 
continually desert the countryside for the towns and the towns for the countryside. 
The interests of the peasants, therefore, are no longer, as under Napoleon, in 
accord with, but in opposition to the interests of the bourgeoisie, to capital. Hence 
the peasants find their natural ally and leader in the urban proletariat, whose task 
is the overthrow of the bour- 

page 131 

geois order. But strong and unlimited government ~ and this is the second 
"id&eacutee napol&eacuteonienne," which the second Napoleon has to carry out - 



- is called upon to defend this "material" order by force. This ''ordre materiel " 
also serves as the catchword in all of Bonaparte's proclamations against the 
rebellious peasants. 

Besides the mortgage which capital imposes on it, the small holding is 
burdened by taxes. Taxes are the source of life for the bureaucracy, the army, the 
priests and the court, in short, for the whole apparatus of the executive power. 
Strong government and heavy taxes are identical. By its very nature, small- 
holding property forms a suitable basis for an all powerful and innumerable 
bureaucracy. It creates a uniform level of relationships and persons over the 
whole surface of the land. Hence it also permits of uniform action from a supreme 
centre on all points of this uniform mass. It annihilates the aristocratic 
intermediate grades between the mass of the people and the state power. On all 
sides, therefore, it calls forth the direct interference of this state power and the 
interposition of its immediate organs. Finally, it produces an unemployed surplus 
population for which there is no place either on the land or in the towns, and 
which accordingly reaches out for state offices as a sort of respectable alms, and 
provokes the creation of state posts. By the new markets which he opened at the 
point of the bayonet, by the plundering of the Continent, Napoleon repaid the 
compulsory taxes with interest. These taxes were a spur to the industry of the 
peasant, whereas now they rob his industry of its last resources and complete his 
inability to resist pauperism. And an enormous bureaucracy, well-gallooned and 
well-fed, is the 'Hd&eacutee napol&eacuteonienne " which is most congenial of 
all to the 

page 132 

second Bonaparte. How could it be otherwise, seeing that alongside the actual 
classes of society he is forced to create an artificial caste, for which the 
maintenance of his regime becomes a bread-and-butter question? Accordingly, 
one of his first financial operations was the raising of officials' salaries to their old 
level and the creation of new sinecures. 

Another 'Hd&eacutee napol&eacuteonienne " is the domination of i\\Q priests 
as an instrument of government. But while in its accord with society, in its 
dependence on natural forces and its submission to the authority which protected 
it from above, the small holding that had newly come into being was naturally 
religious, the small holding that is ruined by debts, at odds with society and 
authority, and driven beyond its own limitations naturally becomes irreligious. 
Heaven was quite a pleasing accession to the narrow strip of land just won, the 
more so as it makes the weather; it becomes an insult as soon as it is thrust 
forward as substitute for the small holding. The priest then appears as only the 
anointed bloodhound of the earthly police ~ another 'Hd&eacutee 
napol&eacuteonienne. " On the next occasion, the expedition against Rome will 
take place in France itself, but in quite a different sense to that of M. de 
Montalembert. 



Lastly, the culminating point of the ''id&eacutees napol&eacuteoniennes " is 
the preponderance of the army. The army was the point d'honneur^ of the small- 
holding peasants, it was they themselves transformed into heroes, defending their 
new possessions against the outer world, glorifying their recently won 
nationhood, plundering and revolutionizing the world. The 



* Matter of honour, a point of special touch. —Ed. 

page 133 

uniform was their own state dress; war was their poetry; the small holding, 
extended and rounded off in imagination, was their fatherland, and patriotism the 
ideal form of the sense of property. But the enemies against whom the French 
peasant has now to defend his property are not the Cossacks; they are the 
buissiers [*] and the tax collectors. The small holding lies no longer in the so- 
called fatherland, but in the register of mortgages. The army itself is no longer the 
flower of the peasant youth; it is the swamp-flower of the peasant 
lumpenproletariat. It consists in large measure of rempla&ccedilants, of 
substitutes, just as the second Bonaparte is himself only a rempla&ccedilant, the 
substitute for Napoleon. It now performs its deeds of valour by hounding the 
peasants in masses like chamois, by doing gendarme duty, and if the internal 
contradictions of his system chase the chief of the December 10 Society over the 
French border, his army, after some acts of brigandage, will reap, not laurels, but 
thrashings. 

One sees: all "id&eacutees napol&eacuteoniennes" are ideas of the 
undeveloped small holding in the freshness of its youth ; for the small holding that 
has outlived its day they are an absurdity. They are only the hallucinations of its 
death struggle, words that are transformed into phrases, spirits transformed into 
ghosts. But the parody of the empire [des Imperialismus ] was necessary to free 
the mass of the French nation from the weight of tradition and to work out in pure 
form the opposition between the state power and society. With the progressive 
undermining of small-holding property, the state structure erected upon it 
collapses. The centralization of the state that modern society requires arises only 
on the ruins of the mili- 



* Bailiffs. -Ed. 
page 134 

tary-bureaucratic government machinery which was forged in opposition to 
feudalism. [^ 



The condition of the French peasants provides us with the answer to the riddle 
of the general elections of December 20 and 21, which bore the second Bonaparte 
up Mount Sinai, not to receive laws, but to give them. 

Manifestly, the bourgeoisie had now no choice but to elect Bonaparte. When 
the puritans at the Council of Constance[63] complained of the dissolute lives of 
the popes and wailed about the necessity of moral reform. Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly 
thundered at them: "Only the devil in person can still save the Catholic Church, 
and you ask for angels." In like manner, after the coup d'etat, the French 
bourgeoisie cried: Only the chief of the December 10 Society can still save 
bourgeois society! Only theft can still save property; only perjury, religion; 
bastardy, the family; disorder, order! 

As the executive authority which has made itself an independent power, 
Bonaparte feels it is his mission to safeguard "bourgeois order." But the strength 
of this bourgeois order lies in the middle class. He looks on himself, therefore, as 
the representative of the middle class and issues decrees in this sense. 
Nevertheless, he is somebody solely due to the fact that he has broken the 
political power of this middle class and daily breaks it anew. Consequently, he 
looks on 



* In place of the last two sentences of this paragraph the following lines were printed in the 
1852 edition: "The demolition of the state machine will not endanger centralization. Bureaucracy 
is only the low and brutal form of a centralization that is still afflicted with its opposite, with 
feudalism. When he is disappointed in the Napoleonic Restoration the French peasant will part 
with his belief in his small holding, the entire state edifice erected on this small holding will fall to 
the ground and the proletarian revolution will obtain that chorus without which its solo song 
becomes the swan song in all peasant countries.'' --Ed. 

page 135 

himself as the adversary of the political and literary power of the middle class. 
But by protecting its material power, he regenerates its political power. The cause 
must accordingly be kept alive; but the effect, where it manifests itself, must be 
done away with. However this cannot pass off without slight confusions of cause 
and effect, since in their interaction both lose their distinguishing features. New 
decrees that obliterate the border line. As against the bourgeoisie, Bonaparte looks 
on himself, at the same time, as the representative of the peasants and of the 
people in general, who wants to make the lower classes of the people happy 
within the frame of bourgeois society. New decrees that cheat the "True 
Socialists"[64] of their statecraft in advance. But, above all, Bonaparte looks on 
himself as the chief of the December 10 Society, as the representative of the 
lumpenproletariat to which he himself, his entourage, his government and his 
army belong, and whose prime consideration is to benefit itself and draw 
California lottery prizes from the state treasury. And he vindicates his position as 
chief of the December 10 Society with decrees, without decrees and despite 
decrees. 



This contradictory task of the man explains the contradictions of his 
government which, by confused groping, seeks now to win, now to humiUate first 
one class and then another and arrays all of them uniformly against itself, a 
government whose uncertainty in practice presents a highly comical contrast to 
the imperious, categorical style of its decrees, a style which is faithfully copied 
from the Uncle. 

Industry and trade, hence the business affairs of the middle class, are to prosper 
in hothouse fashion under the strong government. The grant of innumerable 
railway concessions. But the Bonapartist lumpenproletariat is to enrich itself. The 

page 136 

initiated play tripotage [*] on the bourse with the railway concessions. But no 
capital is forthcoming for the railways. Obligation of the Bank to make advances 
on railway shares. But, at the same time, the Bank is to be exploited for personal 
ends and, therefore, must be cajoled. Release of the Bank from the obligation to 
publish its report weekly. Leonine agreement of the Bank with the government. 
The people are to be given employment. Initiation of public works. But the public 
works increase the obligations of the people in respect of taxes. Hence reduction 
of the taxes by an onslaught on the rentiers, by conversion of the 5 per cent bonds 
to 4.5 per cent. But, once more, the middle class must receive a douceur.in 
Therefore doubling of the wine tax for the people, who buy it en d&eacutetaiU^^^ 
and halving of the wine tax for the middle class, who drink it en gros,^^^^ 
Dissolution of the actual workers' associations, but promises of miracles of 
association in the future. The peasants are to be helped. Mortgage banks that 
hasten their getting into debt and the concentration of property. But these banks 
are to be used to make money out of the confiscated estates of the House of 
Orleans. No capitalist wants to agree to this condition, which is not in the decree, 
and the mortgage bank remains a mere decree, etc., etc. 

Bonaparte would like to appear as the patriarchal benefactor of all classes. But 
he cannot give to one class without taking from another. Just as at the time of the 
Fronde it was said of the Duke of Guise that he was the most obligeant 



* Hanky-panky. —Ed. 
** Sop. -Ed. 
*** By retail. —Ed. 
**** Wholesale. —Ed. 



page 137 



man in France because he had turned all his estates into his partisans' obligations 
to him, so Bonaparte would fain be the most obligeant man in France and turn all 
the property, all the labour of France into a personal obligation to himself. He 
would like to steal the whole of France in order to be able to make a present of her 
to France or, rather, in order to be able to buy France anew with French money. 



for as the chief of the December 10 Society he must needs buy what ought to 
belong to him. And all the state institutions, the Senate, the Council of State, the 
legislative body, the Legion of Honour, the soldiers' medals, the washhouses, the 
public works, the railways, the &eacutetat major [*] of the National Guard to the 
exclusion of privates, and the confiscated estates of the House of Orleans ~ all 
become parts of the institution of purchase. Every place in the army and in the 
government machine becomes a means of purchase. But the most important 
feature of this process, whereby France is taken in order to give to her, is the 
percentages that find their way into the pockets of the head and the members of 
the December 10 Society during the turnover. The witticism with which Countess 
L., the mistress of M. de Morny, characterized the con fiscation of the Orleans 
estates: ''C'est le premier vol^^ de Vaigle"^^^ is applicable to every flight of this 
eagle, which is more like a raven. He himself and his adherents call out to one 
another daily like that Italian Carthusian admonishing the miser who, with 
boastful display, counted up the goods on which he could yet live for years to 
come: ''Tufai conto 



* General Staff. -Ed. 

** Vol means flight and theft. [Note by Marx.] 

*** "It is the first flight (theft) of the eagle." -Ed. 

page 138 

sopra i beni, bisogna prima far il conto sopra gli anni.'\n Lest they make a 
mistake in the years, they count the minutes. A bunch of ruffians push their way 
forward to the court, into the ministries, to the head of the administration and the 
army, a crowd of the best of whom it must be said that no one knows whence he 
comes, a noisy, disreputable, rapacious boheme that crawls into gallooned coats 
with the same grotesque dignity as the high dignitaries of Soulouque. One can 
visualize clearly this upper stratum of the December 10 Society, if one reflects 
that Veron-Crevelra is its preacher of morals and Granier de Cassagnac its 
thinker. When Guizot, at the time of his ministry, utilized this Granier on a hole- 
and-corner newspaper against the dynastic opposition, he used to boast of him 
with the quip: ''C'est le roi des dr&ocircles,'' "He is the king of buffoons." One 
would do wrong to recall the Regency[65] or Louis XV in connection with Louis 
Bonaparte's court and clique. For "often already, France has experienced a 
government of mistresses, but never before a government of hommes 
entretenus,''^^^ 

Driven by the contradictory demands of his situation and needing at the same 
time, like a conjurer, to keep the public gaze fixed on himself, as Napoleon's 
substitute, by springing constant surprises, that is to say, needing to execute a 
coup d'etat en miniature every day, Bonaparte throws the entire 



* "Thou countest thy goods, thou shouldst first count thy years." [Note by Marx.] 

** In his work, Cousine Bette, Balzac delineates the thoroughly dissolute Parisian philistine in 



Crevel, a character which he draws after the model of Dr. Veron, the proprietor of the 
Constitutionnel. [Note by Marx.] 

*** The words quoted are those of Madame Girardin. [Note by Marx.] Hommes entretenus : 
Kept men. —Ed. 

page 139 

bourgeois economy into confusion, violates everything that seemed inviolable to 
the Revolution of 1848, makes some tolerant of revolution, others desirous of 
revolution, and produces actual anarchy in the name of order, while at the same 
time stripping its halo from the entire state machine, profanes it and makes it at 
once loathsome and ridiculous. In Paris he duplicates the cult of the Holy Tunic of 
Treves[66] in the cult of the Napoleonic imperial mantle. But when the imperial 
mantle finally falls on the shoulders of Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue of 
Napoleon will crash from the top of the Vendome Column. 



From Marx 
to Mao 


Marx and Engels 
Collection 


Reading 
Guide 


Notes on 

the Text 

Below 



page 140 



NOTES 



^^^ The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is one of the masterpieces of Marxism. In this 
important work Marx analysed the events of the Revolution of 1848-51 in France, and on that 
basis, elaborated further the fundamental tenets of historical materialism, the theory of the class 
struggle and the proletarian revolution, and the theory of the state and the dictatorship of the 
proletariat. Here, for the first time, Marx advanced the proposition that the victorious proletariat 
must necessarily smash the bourgeois state machine. 

Marx wrote this book between December 1851 and March 1852, hot on the heels of the events 
described. While working on The Eighteenth Brurnaire Marx maintained a constant exchange of 
opinion with Engels on the French events. In addition to the press and official documents, he used 
private reports from Paris as his sources. At first it was intended to print the work as a series of 
articles in the journal Die Revolution, a weekly which J. Weydemeyer<a friend of Marx and Engels 
and a member of the Communist League <planned to publish in the USA. Weydemeyer, however, 
was able to put out only two issues (in January 1852) before financial difficulties forced him to 
discontinue. Marx's articles arrived too late to appear in this periodical. In May 1852, at Marx's 



suggestion, Weydemeyer had them printed as a separate book forming the first (and only) issue of 
the non-periodical journal Die Revolution. He changed the title of the book to The Eighteenth 
Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (instead of Louis Bonaparte). Weydemeyer, then in straitened 
circumstances, was unable to buy from the printing-house the greater part of this first edition and 
only very few copies reached Europe. Efforts to reprint the book in Germany 

page 141 

or England (in an English translation) did not succeed. The second edition came out only in 1869 
and Marx again went over the text to prepare for it. In his preface to this edition Marx wrote, "A 
revision of the present work would have robbed it of its peculiar colouring. I have therefore 
confined myself to the mere correction of printer's errors and to striking out allusions now no 
longer intelligible." The third edition of the book, edited by Engels, was published in 1885 in 
accordance with the text of the 1869 edition, [p.u 

^^^ J. B. A. Charras, Histoire de la campagne de 1815. Waterloo, Brussels, 1857. [p.4] 

^^^ J. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi, Etudes sur I'&eacuteconomie politique, T. I, Paris, 1837, p. 35. 

[p.5] 

^^^ December 2, 1851 ~ the day of the counter-revolutionary coup d'etat in France by Louis 
Bonaparte and his supporters, [p.6] 

^^^ On December 10, 1848, Louis Bonaparte was elected president of the French Republic by 
universal ballot. [p.i2] 

^^^ During the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt as mythically described in the Bible, the 
hardships and hunger of the journey caused the faint-hearted to think back longingly to the days of 
their Egyptian captivity, when at least they had enough to eat. The phrase "to long for the fleshpots 
of Egypt" has become a proverb, [p. 12] 

^^^ Hie Rhodus, hie salta! (Here is Rhodes, leap herel) ~ in Aesop's fable, "The Swaggerer," these 
words were addressed to a boaster who claimed that he had made a remarkable leap in Rhodes. 
The meaning is, "Show right here what you can do!" 

Here is the rose, here dance! ~ this paraphrase of the preceding quotation is used by Hegel in 
the preface to his work Grundlinien der Philosophic des Rechts {Principles of the Philosophy of 
Right ). Rhodes, the name of the island is also the Greek word for "rose." [p. 14] 

^^^ In May 1852 Louis Bonaparte's presidential term was to end. According to the French 
Constitution of 1848, presidential elections were to be held every four years on the second Sunday 
in May. [p.i5] 

^'^^ In partibus infidelium — literally "in parts inhabited by unbelievers." The phrase is added to the 
title of Roman Catholic bishops appointed to purely nominal dioceses in non-Christian countries. 
Marx and Engels frequently used it to describe &eacutemigre governments formed abroad in 
disregard of the actual situation in their own countries, [p. 15] 

^^°^ Capitol - a hill in Rome, a fortified citadel where the temples of Jupiter, Juno and other gods 
were built. According to a legend Rome 

page 142 



was saved from an invasion of the Gauls in 390 B.C., thanks to the cackling of geese from the 
temple of Juno which awakened the sleeping guards of the Capitol. [p.i5] 

^^" The republican generals, Cavaignac, Lamori&egraveiere and Bedeau, who had commanded 
the French troops in colonial wars in Algeria in the 1830s and 40s. [p.i5j 

"'^ Goethe, Faust, Part One, Lines 1339-40. [p. 16] 

^^^^ Dynastic opposition — a group, led by Odilon Barrot, in the French Chamber of Deputies 
during the July Monarchy. Its representatives, voicing the sentiments of the liberal circles of the 
industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, advocated a moderate electoral reform as a means of 
averting revolution and preserving the Orleans dynasty. [p.i6] 

^^^^ The revolutionary attempt of the people of Paris on May 15, 1848 was made under the slogans 
of further advancing the revolution and supporting the revolutionary movements in Italy, Germany 
and Poland. The workers, headed by Auguste Blanqui, played the leading role in this movement. 
The demonstrators burst into the hall of the Constituent Assembly, then in session, demanding that 
it keep its promise to give bread and work to the workers and establish a Ministry of Labour; they 
declared the Assembly dissolved and formed a revolutionary government. But the movement was 
suppressed and its leaders Blanqui, Barb&egraves, Albert, Raspail and others were arrested. The 
Provisional Government then took a series of measures to abolish the "national workshops," 
enforced a law banning street meetings and closed many democratic clubs. [p.i8] 

^^^^ The National — a French daily, organ of the moderate bourgeois republicans, published in 
Paris from 1 830 to 1 85 1 . [p.22] 

^^^^ Journal des D&eacutebats - abbreviated form of the French bourgeois daily Journal des 
D&eacutehats politiques et litt&eacuteraires, founded in Paris in 1789. During the July Monarchy 
it was a government paper, the organ of the pro-Orleans bourgeoisie. During the Revolution of 
1848 the newspaper expressed the views of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, the so called 
party of Order, [p.22] 

^^^^ At the Congress of Vienna held in 1814-15, Austria, England and tsarist Russia, the powers 
which headed the reaction in Europe, re-carved the map of that continent with the aim of restoring 
legitimist monarchies in disregard of the interests of the national unification and independence of 
the peoples, [p.22] 

page 143 

^^^^ The Executive Committee (the Commission of the Executive Government) ~ the Government 
of the French Republic set up by the Constituent Assembly on May 10, 1848 to replace the 
Provisional Government which had resigned. It survived until June 24, 1848 when Cavaignac's 
dictatorship was established, [p.23] 

^^'^^ The constitutional Charter of 1830, adopted after the bourgeois Revolution of 1830 in France, 
was the basic law of the July Monarchy. Nominally the Charter proclaimed the sovereign rights of 
the nation and somewhat restricted the king's power. At the same time, however, it left untouched 
the police and bureaucratic machinery and the severe laws against the labour and democratic 
movements, [p.24] 

^^°^ ''Fr&egravere, ilfaut mourir! " ("Brother, death is near!") ~ the words with which members 
of the Roman Catholic monastic Order of Trappists greet each other. The Trappist Order, which 



originated in 1664, is distinguished by the strictness of its rules and the ascetic life prescribed for 
its members, [p.27] 

f^" Clichy - a debtors' prison in Paris from 1826 to 1867. [p.27] 

^^^^ The pure republicans {the tricolour republicans or the National ) ~ a bourgeois party whose 
organ was the National. During the Revolution of 1848 its leaders joined the Provisional 
Government and later, with Cavaignac's help, hatched the June massacre to put down the Paris 
proletariat. [p.30] 

^^^^ From May to July 1 849 the Kingdom of Naples took part in the intervention against the 
Republic of Rome. 

The Constituent Assembly of Rome, elected on the basis of universal suffrage, abolished the 
secular power of the Pope and proclaimed the republic on February 9, 1849. The executive power 
was concentrated in the hands of a triumvirate headed by Mazzini. During the Republic, a number 
of bourgeois-democratic reforms were carried out. However, the limited class character of the 
Republic affected its agrarian policy ~ the refusal to hand over the landlords' estates to the 
peasants as their property deprived the Republic of valuable allies in its fight against the counter- 
revolution. Intervention by France, Austria and Naples led to the fall of the Republic on July 3, 
1849. [p.3i] 

^^^^ Marx alludes to the following events in Louis Bonaparte's life: in 1832 Louis Bonaparte 
became a Swiss citizen in the canton of Thurgau; in 1848 during his stay in Britain he voluntarily 
joined the special constabulary who together with the police attacked the workers' demonstration 
organized by the Chartists on April 10, 1848. [p.3i] 

page 144 

^^^^ This refers to the analysis of the, election of December 10, 1848 given by Marx in his work 
Die Klassenk&aumlmpfe in Frankreich, 1848 bis 1850 (The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 
1850 ). [p.3i] 

^^^^ The Legitimists - supporters of the elder line of the Bourbon dynasty of France which 
represented the interests of the big landowning aristocracy and was overthrown in 1792. They 
formed the Legitimist Party in 1830, after the second overthrow of the Bourbons. When struggling 
against the reigning Orleans dynasty (1830-48), which relied on the financial aristocracy and the 
big bourgeoisie, a section of the Legitimists resorted to social demagogy and presented themselves 
as defenders of the working people against bourgeois exploitation, [p.32] 

^^^^ The Orleanists — supporters of the House of Orleans that came to power during the July 
Revolution of 1830 and was overthrown by the Revolution of 1848. [p.32] 

^^^^ The party of Order, founded in 1848, was the party of the conservative big bourgeoisie in 
France. It was a coalition of two monarchist factions, the Legitimists and the Orleanists. It played 
the leading role in the Legislative Assembly of the Second Republic from 1849 up to the coup 
d'etat of December 2, 1851. The bankruptcy of its anti-popular policy was utilized by Louis 
Bonaparte's clique in building the regime of the Second Empire, [p.32] 

^^'^^ The French Government obtained an appropriation from the Constituent Assembly for 
sending an expeditionary corps to Italy in April 1849, on the pretext of giving support to Piedmont 
in its fight against Austria and protecting the Roman Republic. The true purpose of the expedition. 



however, was intervention against the Roman Republic and restoration of the secular power of the 
Pope, [p.36] 

^^°^ Moniteur — short for Le Moniteur universel, French daily, official organ of the government, 
published under this name in Paris from 1789 to 1869. [p.36] 

^^" This refers to the bill tabled on November 6, 1851 by the royalists Le Flo, Baze and Panat, the 
quaestors of the Legislative Assembly (charged by the Assembly with handling economic and 
financial matters and safeguarding its security) which was rejected after a heated debate on 
November 17. During the ballot the Montague supported the Bonapartists, as it saw the royalists 
as the main danger, [p.36] 

^^^^ The Girondists or Girondins were supporters of the Party of the Gironde which was formed in 
the French bourgeois revolution. They represented the interests of the big commercial and 
industrial bour- 

page 145 

geoisie and of the landlord-bourgeoisie which emerged during the period of the revolution. They 
were so named because many of their leaders represented the province of Gironde in the 
Legislative Assembly and the National Convention. Under the flag of protecting the right of the 
provinces to autonomy and federation, the Girondists opposed the Jacobin government and the 
revolutionary masses supporting it. [p.37] 

^^^^ The Jacobins - members of the Jacobin Club which represented the interests of the lower 
bourgeoisie in the period of the French bourgeois revolution towards the end of the 18th century. 
During the Jacobin dictatorship between 1793 and 1794 a series of decrees were promulgated to 
abolish feudal ownership, suppress counter-revolution and strike back at armed intervention from 
abroad, [p.37] 

^^^^ On April 16, 1848, the workers of Paris demonstrated peacefully to present a petition on 
"labour organization" and "abolition of exploitation of man by man" to the Provisional 
Government of France. The demonstration was dispersed by the bourgeois National Guard 
mobilized purely for that purpose. 

For the event of ]V[ay 15, 1848, see note 14. [p-37] 

^^^^ The Fronde — a movement against absolutism among the French nobility and bourgeoisie, 
active between 1648 and 1653. Its leaders from among the aristocracy relied on the support of 
their vassals and of foreign troops, and made use of peasant revolts and the democratic movement 
in the cities to further their own objectives, [p.39] 

^^^^ Peter Schlemihl - the hero of Chamisso's fairy-tale Peter Schlemihl, who exchanged his 
shadow for a magic purse, [p.39] 

^^^^ Ems - a spa in Germany. In August 1 849 a Legitimist conference held here was attended by 
the Count of Chambord, the pretender to the French throne who called himself Henry V. 

Claremont - a castle near London, Louis Philippe's residence after his escape from France. 

[p.44] 



^^^^ An allusion to the plans of Louis Bonaparte, who expected that Pope Pius IX would place the 
French crown on his head. According to biblical tradition David, the King of Israel, was anointed 
king by the prophet Samuel, [p.54] 

f^'^^ The battle ofAusterlitz on December 2, 1805 ended in a victory of Napoleon I over the Russo- 
Austrian troops, [p.54] 

^^°^ An allusion to Louis Bonaparte's book Des id&eacutees nap ol&e acute oniennes, published in 
Paris in 1839. [p.6i] 

page 146 

^^" Bur graves was the name given to the 17 leading Orleanists and Legitimists, who were 
members of the Legislative Assembly's committee for drafting a new electoral law, for their 
unwarranted claim to power and their reactionary aspirations. The name has been taken from the 
title of Victor Hugo's historical drama. Its action is set in mediaeval Germany where a Burg-Graf 
was the ruler of a "Burg" ~ a fortified town or castle ~ appointed by the emperor, [p.66] 

^^^^ The press law passed by the Legislative Assembly in July 1850 considerably increased the 
deposits which the publishers of newspapers had to pay, and introduced a stamp duty which 
applied to pamphlets as well. The new law continued the reactionary measures which meant, in 
practice, the abolition of freedom of the press in France, [p.68] 

^^^^ La Presse ~a bourgeois daily published in Paris from 1836; in 1848-49 it was the organ of the 
bourgeois republicans, afterwards a Bonapartist paper, [p.68] 

^^^^ This passage refers to the efforts of Louis Bonaparte during the July IMonarchy to stage a coup 
d'etat by means of a military insurrection. On September 30, 1836, he succeeded in rousing two 
artillery regiments of the Strasbourg garrison with the aid of a few pro-Bonapartist officers. 
Within a few hours, however, the insurgents were disarmed. Louis Bonaparte was arrested and 
deported to America. Taking advantage of a certain revival of Bonapartist feelings in France, he 
landed in Boulogne with a handful of conspirators on August 6, 1840, and attempted to instigate a 
rebellion among the local garrison. But this attempt too proved to be an utter failure. Bonaparte 
was sentenced to life imprisonment, but in 1846 he escaped to England, [p.74] 

^^^^ Schufterle and Spiegelberg — two characters from Schiller's drama Die Ra&uumlber {The 
Robbers), who were portrayed as complete rogues, lacking all moral principles, [p.75] 

^^^^ Changarnier had been expected both by the Legitimists and the Orleanists to invite their king 
back to the throne, as General ]V[onk had invited Charles II back to England in 1660. [p.76] 

^^^^ Elys&eacutee newspapers - those of a Bonapartist trend; the name is taken from the 
Elys&eacutee Palace, the Paris residence of Louis Bonaparte while president, [p.77] 

[48] Pqj. ]^jg pj^y Qj^ words IMarx utilizes here a line from Schiller's Lied an die Freude {Ode to Joy 
), in which the poet sings of joy as the "daughter of Elysium." In classical mythology Elysium or 
Elysian 

page 147 



fields was equivalent to paradise. Champs Elys&eacutee (Elysian Fields) was the name of an 
avenue in Paris, where Louis Bonaparte had his residence, [p.83] 

^^'^^ In France before the Bourgeois Revolution of 1789 the parliaments were the supreme judicial 
bodies. They existed in a number of towns throughout the country. The most important was the 
Paris Parliament, which registered the royal decrees and possessed the right of remonstrance as it 
was called, i.e., the right to protest against decrees which infringed upon the customs and the 
legislation of the country. However, the parliamentary opposition was in fact powerless, since the 
personal appearance of the king at the session made registration of the decrees obligatory, [p.88] 

^^°^ Belle Isle — an island in the Bay of Biscay; from 1849 to 1857 it served as a place of detention 
for political prisoners; in particular the workers who took part in the Paris uprising of June 1848 
were imprisoned there, [p.92] 

^^^^ Marx paraphrases here a story told by the Greek writer Athenaeus (2nd-3rd century A.D.) in 
his hook Deipnosophistae (Dinner-Table Philosophers ). The Egyptian Pharaoh Tachos, alluding 
to the small stature of the Spartan King Agesilaus who had come with his troops to the Pharaoh's 
assistance, said: "The mountain was in labour. Zeus was scared. But the mountain has brought 
forth a mouse." Agesilaus replied: "I seem to thee a mouse, but the time will come when I will 
appear to thee as a lion." [p.94] 

^^^^ L' As semhl&e acute e Nationale — A French daily of a monarchist Legitimist trend; it appeared 
in Paris from 1848 to 1857 Between 1848 and 1851 it supported the fusion of the two dynastic 
parties~the Legitimists and the Orleanists. [p.98] 

^^^^ In the fifties of the 19th century the Count of Chambord, the Legitimist pretender to the 
French throne, lived in Venice, [p.98] 

^^^^ This refers to tactical disagreements in the Legitimist camp during the Restoration period. 
Louis XVIII and Vill&egravele favoured a more cautious introduction of reactionary measures, 
while the Count dArtois (who in 1824 became King Charles X) and Polignac completely ignored 
conditions in France and advocated the unqualified restoration of the pre-revolutionary regime. 

During the Restoration period the Palace of the Tuileries was the residence of Louis XVIII; the 
Count dArtois lived in the Pavilion Marsan, one of the Palace's wings, [p.ioo] 

page 148 

^^^^ The Economist — an English economic and political weekly journal, organ of the big industrial 
bourgeoisie, published in London ever since 1843. [p.i03] 

^^^^ The first international trade and industrial exhibition was held in London from May to 
October 1851. [p. 109] 

^''^ The Economist, January 10, 1852, pp. 29-30. [p.iu] 

^^^^ Le Messager de I'Assemhl&eacutee - French anti-Bonapartist daily published in Paris from 
February 1 6 to December 2, 1851. [p. 112] 

^^'^^ A paraphrase from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5. [p. 123] 



^^°^ Short for National Convention, the supreme legislative body created by the French bourgeois 
revolution, which existed from September 1792 to October 1795. During the rule of the 
Girondists, the National Convention failed to abolish feudalism and firmly resist foreign 
intervention. Under the Jacobin dictatorship, it became the highest organ of state power and 
promulgated a series of decrees to abolish feudal ownership and establish a democratic republic. 
Carrying out the will of the big bourgeoisie during the subsequent Thermidorian regime, the 
National Convention liquidated the chief revolutionary measures of the Jacobins, [p. 126] 

^^" The Code Napol&e acute on in its broad sense includes the Civil Code, the Code of Civil 
Procedure, the Commercial Code, the Criminal Code, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, all of 
which were adopted in 1804-10. These codes were also introduced in the western and south 
western parts of Germany seized by Napoleonic France and continued to operate in the Rhine 
Province even after it was ceded to Prussia in 1815. In the narrow sense the Code 
Napol&eacuteon is the Civil Code adopted in 1804, which Engels called "so classic a legal code. . 
. for bourgeois society." (Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy , 
FLP, Peking, 1976, p. 53.) [p.i26] 

^^^^ Cevennes — a mountainous region in the Languedoc in southeastern France, where an uprising 
of peasants (the so-called Camisards) took place from 1702 to 1705. The revolt, starting as a 
protest against the persecution of Protestants, became strongly anti-feudal in character. Sporadic 
outbreaks of the uprising continued to occur till 1715. 

Vend&eacutee — a western department of France. During the French bourgeois revolution at the 
end of the 18th century, it was the scene of a counter-revolutionary peasant revolt led by the 
nobility and clergy. [p.i27] 

^^^^ The Council of Constance (1414-18) was convened for the purpose of strengthening the 
position of the Roman Catholic Church which had been weakened by the rising Reformation 
movement. The Council condemned the teachings of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, leaders of the 
Reformation. It healed the schism in the Catholic Church by electing a new Pope in place of the 
three pretenders who had been contending with each other for the papal crown. [p.i34] 

^^^^ A reference to German "True Socialism," a reactionary trend which in the 1840s was 
spreading primarily among German petty-bourgeois intellectuals. Its representatives were Karl 
Gr&uumln, Moses Hess, Hermann Kriege and others who substituted sentimental preaching of 
love and brotherhood for socialist ideas and denied the necessity of a bourgeois-democratic 
revolution in Germany. Marx and Engels criticized this ideological trend in their works: "The 
German Ideology" (1845-46) "Circular Against Kriege" (1846), "German Socialism in Verse and 
Prose" (1846-47) and " Manifesto of the Communist Partv " (1847-48). [p.i35J 

^^^^ A reference to Philippe d'Orleans' regency during the infancy of Louis XV from 1715 to 1723. 

[p.l38] 

^^^^ The Holy Tunic of Treves — a Catholic relic preserved in the Treves Cathedral, alleged to be a 
holy vestment taken from Christ while he was suffering death. It was regarded by pilgrims as an 
object of veneration, [p. 139]