Political Dissent: Allegiances and Intrigue

June Days Uprising

June Days Uprising

Painting of Barricades during the June Days Uprising in Paris

Soldiers Firing on Crowd at the Boulevard des Capucines

Soldiers Firing on Crowd in gathered at the Boulevard des Capucines

Crowd gathered outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gunned down by the 14th Line Regiment

Paris throughout 1848 was a city of shifty allegiances and intrigue. In this collection of posters, we explore the violent acts like assassination attempts and political conspiracies that gripped the public's attention and would lay the seeds of hysteria that only furthered the divisions between the people. However, such hysteria can sometimes force the unlikeliest of allegiances between parties or factions in an attempt to offer some sort of stability. The everchanging scope of political allegiances and constant denunciations between parties and factions help give an idea of how tense the climate must have been in 1848 Paris.

This poster claims to have discovered a conspiracy by the deposed Louis-Philippe against Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Republic. Louis-Philippe supposedly conspired with Henri V, Count of Chambord and the Legitimist Bourbon claimant to the French throne, to overthrow the republican government in France, by uniting their efforts to have a pro-monarchist, anti-republican conservative assembly elected, which would then remove Louis-Napoleon from the presidency. The poster goes on to state that the conspirators wished to abolish universal suffrage, and reintroduce the supremacy of the monarch. Whether true or not, the poster clearly attempts to rile up its readers by telling them that their republic, and all the rights that come with it is under danger, and that they must therefore remain vigilant against any attempts to undermine their new government.

This poster recounts the deposition of a Mr. Testullat, a dismissed member of the Republican Guard who was accused of taking part in the armed June Days Uprisings in Paris. The prosecution charged him with conspiracy to overthrow the government: "Nous concluons à ce qu'il plaise au conseil déclarer le prévenu coupable d'attentat ayant pour but de renverser le gouvernement, d'exciter à la guerre civile et de porter la dévastation, le massacre et le pillage dans la capitale." It goes to show the tensions between protestors and government could lead to serious legal repercussions. Because of the violence of the uprising, the Assembly motioned to the development of a new constitution headed by the new office of the President of France. 

These posters calls on the citizens of France, imploring them to unite against the threat of the moderates. The poster recalls to the reader how the moderates betrayed the vision of the republic in 1815 and 1830, both occasions which saw the ascension of a monarch. The poster calls for those on the left, the socialists and the democrats, to put aside their differences and unite against the moderates, who they claim will surely betray republican ideals, as they had in the past. This poster shows the division and dissent between left and right within French society at this time, and indeed between those on the left, all of whom hold a different vision for the future of France. It highlights the fragility of political alliances being built only on common enemies rather than shared goals. 

This poster recounts an evening from a certain Constant Hilbey, who states he had unveiled a corruption plot by a police officer who was paid off by a bourgeoise faction to supress republican dissidence. Hilbey says he had some of his colleagues hiding in a cabin in the room to act as witnesses to this attempt at corruption. Hilbey comments on the portraits of great republicans like Marat and Rousseau he has hanging in his room to dissuade him from such corruption from the aristocrats. How true this event was is open to interpretation, but it says something about the political climate at the time that a newspaper owner like Mr. Hilbey could accuse such seditious acts from an opposing political party. Note the Ink on the reverse side that highlights how thin these posters often were.

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