Seven Ages of Paris

Battling post-election nausea, I went looking for clues to democracy from the many revolutions in France. This is a pretty terrible book, but I knew I was asking for trouble trying to read a condensed piece about French history. Grossly oversimplified book, he passes off surface tidbits that you are loathe to knit together into a cohesive whole. For example, the 1871 Commune of Paris fizzled out, et voila here comes Impressionist art to the rescue out of the ashes. I fail to see a real connection between the two, but the author takes long strides as he skims. Despite the flaws, there are parts I can take away as warning shots across our current bow, like the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 which had granted Protestants the right to worship as they chose in otherwise Catholic France. This pushes illustrious citizens out of the country, to England, Denmark, Berlin. “By 1700 between a third and half of the population of Berlin was reckoned to be refugees from Louis’s misguided religious strategy. This strategy also hardened Protestant opinion against him abroad: the League of Augsburg, united as it did France’s enemies against her, was but one of the laden consequences.” Ahem.

Besides this, I scribbled some notes to myself to get a basic timeline of events I’m most interested in:

1648 – Fronde de Parlement
1789 – Paris Commune (later known as the Commune of the French Revolution when the more famous 1871 Paris Commune hit the scene)
1st Republic1793 – Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette guillotined
1793-1794 – The Terror (ended when Robespierre guillotined)
1799 – Coup of 18 Brumaire (<– new month names arrived with 1st Republic) overthrows The Directory, Napoleon made 1st Consul
1803 – Louisiana Purchase
1804 – Napoleon declares himself emperor
1st Empire
1814 – Napoleon abdicates, goes to Elba
1815 – Napoleon resumes control, then Waterloo, then abdicates again
1830 – July Revolution
1848 – Revolution everywhere in Europe except England; Louis Phillipe flees, the last King of France ends a thousand year old French monarchy
2nd Republic
1851 – Louis Napoleon (nephew of Nap I) elected president then takes over Paris
2nd Empire
1852 – Louis Napoleon/Nap III declares himself emperor; Baron Haussmann on the scene
1870 – defeat of French army by Bismarck & the Prussians
3rd Republic
Siege of Paris
Peace terms give up Alsace & Lorraine (foreshadowing!)
1871 – Commune set up in Paris directly challenges Versailles army; demonstrations start, another siege of Paris; revolution fizzles out