When however, it came to a real conflict, when the people mounted the barricades, when the National Guard stood passive, when the army offered no serious resistance, and the kingdom ran away, then the republic seemed self-understood. Each party interpreted it in its own sense.
Won, arms in hand, by the proletariat, they put upon it the stamp of their own class, and proclaimed the social republic. Thus the general purpose of modern revolutions was indicated, a purpose, however, that stood in most singular contradiction to every thing that, with the material at hand, with the stage of enlightenment that the masses had reached, and under existing circumstances and conditions, could be immediately used. On the other hand, the claims of all the other elements, that had cooperated in the revolution of February, were recognized by the lion's share that they received in the government.
Hence, in no period do we find a more motley mixture of high-sounding phrases together with actual doubt and helplessness; of more enthusiastic reform aspirations, together with a more slavish adherence to the old routine; more seeming harmony permeating the whole of society together with a deeper alienation of its several elements. While the Parisian proletariat was still gloating over the sight of the great perspective that had disclosed itself to their view, and was indulging in seriously meant discussions over the social problems, the old powers of society had groomed themselves, had gathered together, had deliberated and found an unexpected support in the mass of the nation--the peasants and small traders--al of whom threw themselves on a sudden upon the political stage, after the barriers of the July monarchy had fal en down.
The second period, from May 4, 1848, to the end of May, 1849, is the period of the constitution, of the founding of the bourgeois republic immediately after the February days, not only was the dynastic opposition surprised by the republicans, and the republicans by the Socialists, but all France was surprised by Paris. The national assembly, that met on May 4, 1848, to frame a constitution, was the outcome of the national elections; it represented the nation. It was a living protest against the assumption of the February days, and it was intended to bring the results of the revolution back to the bourgeois measure. In vain did the proletariat of Paris, which forthwith understood the character of this national assembly, endeavor, a few days after its meeting; on May 15, to deny its existence by force, to dissolve it, to disperse the organic apparition, in which the reacting spirit of the nation was threatening them, and thus reduce it back to its separate component parts. As is known, the 15th of May had no other result than that of removing Blanqui and his associates, i.e. the real leaders of the proletarian party, from the public scene for the whole period of the cycle which we are here considering.
Upon the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe, only the bourgeois republic could follow; that is to say, a limited portion of the bourgeoisie having ruled under the name of the king, now the whole bourgeoisie was to rule under the name of the people. The demands of the Parisian proletariat are utopian tom-fooleries that have to be done away with. To this declaration of the constitutional national assembly, the Paris proletariat answers with the June insurrection, the most colossal event in the history of European civil wars. The bourgeois republic won. On its side stood the aristocracy of finance, the industrial bourgeoisie; the middle class; the small traders' class; the army; the slums, organized as Guarde Mobile; the intellectual celebrities, the parsons' class, and the rural population. On the side of the Parisian proletariat stood none but itself. Over 3,000
insurgents were massacred, after the victory 15,000 were transported without trial. With this defeat, the proletariat steps to the background on the revolutionary stage. It always seeks to crowd forward, so soon as the movement seems to acquire new impetus, but with ever weaker effort and ever smaller results; So soon as any of the above lying layers of society gets into revolutionary fermentation, it enters into alliance therewith and thus shares all the defeats which the several parties successively suffer. But these succeeding blows become ever weaker the more generally they are distributed over the whole surface of society. The more important leaders of the Proletariat, in its councils, and the press, fall one after another victims of the courts, and ever more questionable figures step to the front. It partly throws itself it upon doctrinaire experiments, "co-operative banking"
and "labor exchange" schemes; in other words, movements, in which it goes into movements in which it gives up the task of revolutionizing the old world with its own large collective weapons and on the contrary, seeks to bring about its emancipation, behind the back of society, in private ways, within the narrow bounds of its own class conditions, and, consequently, inevitably fails. The proletariat seems to be able neither to find again the revolutionary magnitude within itself nor to draw new energy from the newly formed alliances until all the classes, with whom it contended in June, shall lie prostrate along with itself.
But in all these defeats, the proletariat succumbs at least with the honor that attaches to great historic struggles; not France alone, all Europe trembles before the June earthquake, while the successive defeats inflicted upon the higher classes are bought so easily that they need the brazen exaggeration of the victorious party itself to be at all able to pass muster as an event; and these defeats become more disgraceful the further removed the defeated party stands from the proletariat.
True enough, the defeat of the June insurgents prepared, leveled the ground, upon which the bourgeois republic could be founded and erected; but it, at the same time, showed that there are in Europe other issues besides that of "Republic or Monarchy." It revealed the fact that here the Bourgeois Republic meant the unbridled despotism of one class over another. It proved that, with nations enjoying an older civilization, having developed class distinctions, modern conditions of production, an intellectual consciousness, wherein al traditions of old have been dissolved through the work of centuries, that with such countries the republic means only the political revolutionary form of bourgeois society, not its conservative form of existence, as is the case in the United States of America, where, true enough, the classes already exist, but have not yet acquired permanent character, are in constant flux and reflux, constantly changing their elements and yielding them up to one another where the modern means of production, instead of coinciding with a stagnant population, rather compensate for the relative scarcity of heads and hands; and, finally, where the feverishly youthful life of material production, which has to appropriate a new world to itself, has so far left neither time nor opportunity to abolish the illusions of old. [#3 This was written at the beginning of 1852.]
All classes and parties joined hands in the June days in a "Party of Order" against the class of the proletariat, which was designated as the
"Party of Anarchy," of Socialism, of Communism. They claimed to have
"saved" society against the "enemies of society." They gave out the slogans of the old social order--"Property, Family, Religion, Order"--as the pass-words for their army, and cried out to the counter-revolutionary crusaders: "In this sign thou wilt conquer!" From that moment on, so soon as any of the numerous parties, which had marshaled themselves under this sign against the June insurgents, tries, in turn, to take the revolutionary field in the interest of its own class, it goes down in its turn before the cry: "Property, Family, Religion, Order." Thus it happens that "society is saved" as often as the circle of its ruling class is narrowed, as often as a more exclusive interest asserts itself over the general. Every demand for the most simple bourgeois financial reform, for the most ordinary liberalism, for the most commonplace republicanism, for the flattest democracy, is forthwith punished as an "assault upon society," and is branded as
"Socialism." Finally the High Priests of "Religion and Order"
themselves are kicked off their tripods; are fetched out of their beds in the dark; hurried into patrol wagons, thrust into jail or sent into exile; their temple is razed to the ground, their mouths are sealed, their pen is broken, their law torn to pieces in the name of Religion, of Family, of Property, and of Order. Bourgeois, fanatic on the point of "Order," are shot down on their own balconies by drunken soldiers, forfeit their family property, and their houses are bombarded for pastime--all in the name of Property, of Family, of Religion, and of Order. Finally, the refuse of bourgeois society constitutes the "holy phalanx of Order," and the hero Crapulinsky makes his entry into the Tuileries as the "Savior of Society."
Let us resume the thread of events.
The history of the Constitutional National Assembly from the June days on, is the history of the supremacy and dissolution of the republican bourgeois party, the party which is known under several names of
"Tricolor Republican," "True Republican," "Political Republican,"
"Formal Republican," etc., etc. Under the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe, this party had constituted the Official Republican Opposition, and consequently had been a recognized element in the then political world. It had its representatives in the Chambers, and commanded considerable influence in the press. Its Parisian organ, the
"National," passed, in its way, for as respectable a paper as the
"Journal des Debats." This position in the constitutional monarchy corresponded to its character. The party was not a fraction of the bourgeoisie, held together by great and common interests, and marked by special business requirements. It was a coterie of bourgeois with republican ideas-writers, lawyers, officers and civil employees, whose influence rested upon the personal antipathies of the country for Louis Philippe, upon reminiscences of the old Republic, upon the republican faith of a number of enthusiasts, and, above all, upon the spirit of French patriotism, whose hatred of the treaties of Vienna and of the alliance with England kept them perpetually on the alert. The
"National" owed a large portion of its following under Louis Philippe to this covert imperialism, that, later under the republic, could stand up against it as a deadly competitor in the person of Louis Bonaparte. The fought the aristocracy of finance just the same as did the rest of the bourgeois opposition. The polemic against the budget, which in France, was closely connected with the opposition to the aristocracy of finance, furnished too cheap a popularity and too rich a material for Puritanical leading articles, not to be exploited. The industrial bourgeoisie was thankful to it for its servile defense of the French tariff system, which, however, the paper had taken up , more out of patriotic than economic reasons the whole bourgeois class was thankful to it for its vicious denunciations of Communism and Socialism For the rest, the party of the "National" was purely republican, i.e. it demanded a republican instead of a monarchic form of bourgeois government; above all, it demanded for the bourgeoisie the lion's share of the government. As to how this transformation was to be accomplished, the party was far from being clear. What, however, was clear as day to it and was openly declared at the reform banquets during the last days of Louis Philippe's reign, was its unpopularity with the democratic middle class, especial y with the revolutionary proletariat. These pure republicans, as pure republicans go, were at first on the very point of contenting themselves with the regency of the Duchess of Orleans, when the February revolution broke out, and when it gave their best known representatives a place in the provisional government. Of course, they enjoyed from the start the confidence of the bourgeoisie and of the majority of the Constitutional National Assembly. The Socialist elements of the Provisional Government were promptly excluded from the Executive Committee which the Assembly had elected upon its convening, and the party of the "National"
subsequently utilized the outbreak of the June insurrection to dismiss this Executive Committee also, and thus rid itself of its nearest rivals--the small traders' class or democratic republicans (Ledru-Rollin, etc.). Cavaignac, the General of the bourgeois republican party, who command at the battle of June, stepped into the place of the Executive Committee with a sort of dictatorial power.
Marrast, former editor-in-chief of the "National", became permanent President of the Constitutional National Assembly, and the Secretaryship of State, together with al the other important posts, devolved upon the pure republicans.
The republican bourgeois party, which since long had looked upon itself as the legitimate heir of the July monarchy, thus found itself surpassed in its own ideal; but it cam to power, not as it had dreamed under Louis Philippe, through a liberal revolt of the bourgeoisie against the throne, but through a grape-shot-and-canistered mutiny of the proletariat against Capital. That which it imagined to be the most revolutionary, came about as the most counter-revolutionary event. The fruit fell into its lap, but it fell from the Tree of Knowledge, not from the Tree of life.
The exclusive power of the bourgeois republic lasted only from June 24
to the 10th of December, 1848. It is summed up in the framing of a republican constitution and in the state of siege of Paris.
The new Constitution was in substance only a republicanized edition of the constitutional charter of 1830. The limited suffrage of the July monarchy, which excluded even a large portion of the bourgeoisie from political power, was irreconcilable with the existence of the bourgeois republic. The February revolution had forthwith proclaimed direct and universal suffrage in place of the old law. The bourgeois republic could not annul this act. They had to content themselves with tacking to it the limitation a six months' residence. The old organization of the administrative law, of municipal government, of court procedures of the army, etc., remained untouched, or, where the constitution did change them, the change affected their index, not their subject; their name, not their substance.
The inevitable "General Staff" of the "freedoms" of 1848--personal freedom, freedom of the press, of speech, of association and of assemblage, freedom of instruction, of religion, etc.--received a constitutional uniform that rendered them invulnerable. Each of these freedoms is proclaimed the absolute right of the French citizen, but always with the gloss that it is unlimited in so far only as it be not curtailed by the "equal rights of others," and by the "public safety,"
or by the "laws," which are intended to effect this harmony. For instance:
"Citizens have the right of association, of peaceful and unarmed assemblage, of petitioning, and of expressing their opinions through the press or otherwise. The enjoyment of these rights has no limitation other than the equal rights of others and the public safety."
(Chap. II. of the French Constitution, Section 8.)
"Education is free. The freedom of education shall be enjoyed under the conditions provided by law, and under the supervision of the State."
"The domicile of the citizen is inviolable, except under the forms prescribed by law." (Chap. I., Section 3), etc., etc.
The Constitution, it will be noticed, constantly alludes to future organic laws, that are to carry out the glosses, and are intended to regulate the enjoyment of these unabridged freedoms, to the end that they collide neither with one another nor with the public safety. Later on, the organic laws are called into existence by the "Friends of Order," and all the above named freedoms are so regulated that, in their enjoyment, the bourgeoisie encounter no opposition from the like rights of the other classes. Wherever the bourgeoisie wholly interdicted these rights to "others," or allowed them their enjoyment under conditions that were but so many police snares, it was always done only in the interest of the "public safety," i. e., of the bourgeoisie, as required by the Constitution.
Hence it comes that both sides-the "Friends of Order," who abolished all those freedoms, as, well as the democrats, who had demanded them al --appeal with full right to the Constitution: Each paragraph of the Constitution contains its own antithesis, its own Upper and Lower House-freedom as a generalization, the abolition of freedom as a specification. Accordingly, so long as the name of freedom was respected, and only its real enforcement was prevented in a legal way, of course the constitutional existence of freedom remained uninjured, untouched, however completely its common existence might be extinguished.
This Constitution, so ingeniously made invulnerable, was, however, like Achilles, vulnerable at one point: not in its heel, but in its head, or rather, in the two heads into which it ran out-the Legislative Assembly, on the one hand, and the President on the other. Run through the Constitution and it will be found that only those paragraphs wherein the relation of the President to the Legislative Assembly is defined, are absolute, positive, uncontradictory, undistortable.
Here the bourgeois republicans were concerned in securing their own position. Articles 45-70 of the Constitution are so framed that the National Assembly can constitutionally remove the President, but the President can set aside the National Assembly only unconstitutionally, he can set it aside only by setting aside the Constitution itself.
Accordingly, by these provisions, the National Assembly challenges its own violent destruction. It not only consecrates, like the character of 1830, the division of powers, but it extends this feature to an unbearably contradictory extreme. The "play of constitutional powers,"
as Guizot styled the clapper-clawings between the legislative and the executive powers, plays permanent "vabanque" in the Constitution of 1848. On the one side, 750 representatives of the people, elected and qualified for re-election by universal suffrage, who constitute an uncontrollable, indissoluble, indivisible National Assembly, a National Assembly that enjoys legislative omnipotence, that decides in the last instance over war, peace and commercial treaties, that alone has the power to grant amnesties, and that, through its perpetuity, continually maintains the foreground on the stage; on the other, a President, clad with al the attributes of royalty, with the right to appoint and remove his ministers independently from the national assembly, holding in his hands all the means of executive power, the dispenser of all posts, and thereby the arbiter of at least one and a half million existences in France, so many being dependent upon the 500,000 civil employees and upon the officers of all grades. He has the whole armed power behind him. He enjoys the privilege of granting pardons to individual criminals; suspending the National Guards; of removing with the consent of the Council of State the general, cantonal and municipal Councilmen, elected by the citizens themselves. The initiative and direction of all negotiations with foreign countries are reserved to him. While the Assembly itself is constantly acting upon the stage, and is exposed to the critically vulgar light of day, he leads a hidden life in the Elysian fields, only with Article 45 of the Constitution before his eyes and in his heart daily calling out to him, "Frere, il faut mourir!" [#1
Brother, you must die!] Your power expires on the second Sunday of the beautiful month of May, in the fourth year after your election! The glory is then at an end; the play is not performed twice; and, if you have any debts, see to it betimes that you pay them off with the 600,000
francs that the Constitution has set aside for you, unless, perchance, you should prefer traveling to Clichy [#2 The debtors' prison.] on the second Monday of the beautiful month of May."
While the Constitution thus clothes the President with actual power, it seeks to secure the moral power to the National Assembly. Apart from the circumstance that it is impossible to create a moral power through legislative paragraphs, the Constitution again neutralizes itself in that it causes the President to be chosen by all the Frenchmen through direct suffrage. While the votes of France are splintered to pieces upon the 750 members of the National Assembly they are here, on the contrary, concentrated upon one individual. While each separate Representative represents only this or that party, this or that city, this or that dunghill, or possibly only the necessity of electing some one Seven-hundred-and-fiftieth or other, with whom neither the issue nor the man is closely considered, that one, the President, on the contrary, is the elect of the nation, and the act of his election is the trump card, that, the sovereign people plays out once every four years. The elected National Assembly stands in a metaphysical, but the elected President in a personal, relation to the nation. True enough, the National Assembly presents in its several Representatives the various sides of the national spirit, but, in the President, this spirit is incarnated. As against the National Assembly, the President possesses a sort of divine right, he is 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 had its weak spot, like Achilles, had also, like Achilles, the presentiment that it would depart by premature death. It was enough for the pure republicans, engaged at the work of framing a constitution, to cast a glance from the misty heights of their ideal republic down upon the profane world in order to realize how the arrogance of the royalists, of the Bonapartists, of the democrats, of the Communists, rose daily, together with their own discredit, and in the same measure as they approached the completion of their legislative work of art, without Thetis having for this purpose to leave the sea and impart the secret to them. They ought to outwit fate by means of constitutional artifice, through Section 111 of the Constitution, according to which every motion to revise the Constitution had to be discussed three successive times between each of which a full month was to elapse and required at least a three-fourths majority, with the additional proviso that not less than 500 members of the National Assembly voted. They thereby only made the impotent attempt, still to exercise as a parliamentary minority, to which in their mind's eye they prophetically saw themselves reduced, a power, that, at this very time, when they still disposed over the parliamentary majority and over all the machinery of government, was daily slipping from their weak hands.
Finally, the Constitution entrusts itself for safe keeping, in a melodramatic paragraph, "to the watchfulness and patriotism of the whole French people, and of each individual Frenchman," after having just before, in another paragraph entrusted the "watchful" and the
"patriotic" themselves to the tender, inquisitorial attention of the High Court, instituted by itself.
That was the Constitution of 1848, which on, the 2d of December, 1851, was not overthrown by one head, but tumbled down at the touch of a mere hat; though, true enough, that hat was a three-cornered Napoleon hat.
While the bourgeois' republicans were engaged in the Assembly with the work of splicing this Constitution, of discussing and voting, Cavaignac, on the outside, maintained the state of siege of Paris. The state of siege of Paris was the midwife of the constitutional assembly, during its republican pains of travail. When the Constitution is later on swept off the earth by the bayonet,
it should not be forgotten that it was by the bayonet, likewise--and the bayonet turned against the people, at that--that it had to be protected in its mother's womb, and that by the bayonet it had to be planted on earth. The ancestors of these "honest republicans" had caused their symbol, the tricolor, to make the tour of Europe. These, in their turn also made a discovery, which all of itself, found its way over the whole continent, but, with ever renewed love, came back to France, until, by this time, if had acquired the right of citizenship in one-half of her Departments--the state of siege. A wondrous discovery this was, periodically applied at each succeeding crisis in the course of the French revolution. But the barrack and the bivouac, thus periodically laid on the head of French society, to compress her brain and reduce her to quiet; the sabre and the musket, periodically made to perform the functions of judges and of administrators, of guardians and of censors, of police officers and of watchmen; the military moustache and the soldier's jacket, periodically heralded as the highest wisdom and guiding stars of society;--were not all of these, the barrack and the bivouac, the sabre and the musket, the moustache and the soldier's jacket bound, in the end, to hit upon the idea that they might as wel save, society once for all, by proclaiming their own regime as supreme, and relieve bourgeois society whol y of the care of ruling itself? The barrack and the bivouac, the sabre and the musket, the moustache and the soldier's jacket were all the more bound to hit upon this idea, seeing that they could then also expect better cash payment for their increased deserts, while at the merely periodic states of siege and the transitory savings of society at the behest of this or that bourgeois faction, very little solid matter fell to them except some dead and wounded, besides some friendly bourgeois grimaces. Should not the military, finally, in and for its own interest, play the game of "state of siege," and simultaneously besiege the bourgeois exchanges? Moreover, it must not be forgotten, and be it observed in passing, that Col. Bernard, the same President of the Military Committee, who, under Cavaignac, helped to deport 15,000 insurgents without trial, moves at this period again at the head of the Military Committees now active in Paris.
Although the honest, the pure republicans built with the state of siege the nursery in which the Praetorian guards of December 2, 1851, were to be reared, they, on the other hand, deserve praise in that, instead of exaggerating the feeling of patriotism, as under Louis Philippe, now; they themselves are in command of the national power, they crawl before foreign powers; instead of making Italy free, they allow her to be reconquered by Austrians and Neapolitans. The election of Louis Bonaparte for President on December 10, 1848, put an end to the dictatorship of Cavaignac and to the constitutional assembly.
In Article 44 of the Constitution it is said "The President of the French Republic must never have lost his status as a French citizen."
The first President of the French Republic, L. N. Bonaparte, had not only lost his status as a French citizen, had not only been an English special constable, but was even a naturalized Swiss citizen.
In the previous chapter I have explained the meaning of the election of December 10. I shall not here return to it. Suffice it here to say that it was a reaction of the farmers' class, who had been expected to pay the costs of the February revolution, against the other classes of the nation: it was a reaction of the country against the city. It met with great favor among the soldiers, to whom the republicans of the
"National" had brought neither fame nor funds; among the great bourgeoisie, who hailed Bonaparte as a bridge to the monarchy; and among the proletarians and small traders, who hailed him as a scourge to Cavaignac. I shal later have occasion to enter closer into the relation of the farmers to the French revolution.
The epoch between December 20, 1848, and the dissolution of the constitutional assembly in May, 1849, embraces the history of the downfall of the bourgeois republicans. After they had founded a republic for the bourgeoisie, had driven the revolutionary proletariat from the field and had meanwhile silenced the democratic middle class, they are themselves shoved aside by the mass of the bourgeoisie who justly appropriate this republic as their property. This bourgeois mass was Royalist, however. A part thereof, the large landed proprietors, had ruled under the restoration, hence, was Legitimist; the other part, the aristocrats of finance and the large industrial capitalists, had ruled under the July monarchy, hence, was Orleanist. The high functionaries of the Army, of the University, of the Church, in the civil service, of the Academy and of the press, divided themselves on both sides, although in unequal parts. Here, in the bourgeois republic, that bore neither the name of Bourbon, nor of Orleans, but the name of Capital, they had found the form of government under which they could al rule in common. Already the June insurrection had united them all into a "Party of Order." The next thing to do was to remove the bourgeois republicans who still held the seats in the National Assembly.
As brutally as these pure republicans had abused their own physical power against the people, so cowardly, low-spirited, disheartened, broken, powerless did they yield, now when the issue was the maintenance of their own republicanism and their own legislative rights against the Executive power and the royalists I need not here narrate the shameful history of their dissolution. It was not a downfall, it was extinction.
Their history is at an end for all time. In the period that follows, they figure, whether within or without the Assembly, only as memories--memories that seem again to come to life so soon as the question is again only the word "Republic," and as often as the revolutionary conflict threatens to sink down to the lowest level. In passing, I might observe that the journal which gave to this party its name, the "National," goes over to Socialism during the following period.
Before we close this period, we must look back upon the two powers, one of destroys the other on December 2, 1851, while, from December 20, 1848, down to the departure of the constitutional assembly, they live marital relations. We mean Louis Bonaparte, on the-one hand, on the other, the party of the allied royalists; of Order, and of the large bourgeoisie.
At the inauguration of his presidency, Bonaparte forthwith framed a ministry out of the party of Order, at whose head he placed Odillon Barrot, be it noted, the old leader of the liberal wing of the parliamentary bourgeoisie. Mr. Barrot had finally hunted down a seat in the ministry, the spook of which had been pursuing him since 1830; and what is more, he had the chairmanship in this ministry, although not, as he had imagined under Louis Philippe, the promoted leader of the parliamentary opposition, but with the commission to kill a parliament, and, moreover, as an ally of all his arch enemies, the Jesuits and the Legitimists. Finally he leads the bride home, but only after she has been prostituted. As to Bonaparte, he seemed to eclipse himself completely. The party of Order acted for him.
Immediately at the first session of the ministry the expedition to Rome was decided upon, which it was there agreed, was to be carried out behind I the back of the National Assembly, and the funds for which, it was equally agreed, were to be wrung from the Assembly under false pretences. Thus the start was made with a swindle on the National Assembly, together with a secret conspiracy with the absolute foreign powers against the revolutionary Roman republic. In the same way, and with a similar maneuver, did Bonaparte prepare his stroke of December 2
against the royalist legislature and its constitutional republic. Let it not be forgotten that the same party, which, on December 20, 1848, constituted Bonaparte's ministry, constituted also, on December 2, 1851, the majority of the legislative National Assembly.
In August the constitutive assembly decided not to dissolve until it had prepared and promulgated a whole series of organic laws, intended to supplement the Constitution. The party of Order proposed to the assembly, through Representative Rateau, on January 6, 1849, to let the Organic laws go, and rather to order its own dissolution. Not the ministry alone, with Mr. Odillon Barrot at its head, but all the royalist members of the National Assembly were also at this time hectoring to it that its dissolution was necessary for the restoration of the public credit, for the consolidation of order, to put an end to the existing uncertain and provisional, and establish a definite state of things; they claimed that its continued existence hindered the effectiveness of the new Government, that it sought to prolong its life out of pure malice, and that the country was tired of it. Bonaparte took notice of all these invectives hurled at the legislative power, he learned them by heart, and, on December 21, 1851, he showed the parliamentary royalists that he had learned from them. He repeated their own slogans against themselves.
The Barrot ministry and the party of Order went further. They called al over France for petitions to the National Assembly in which that body was politely requested to disappear. Thus they led the people's unorganic masses to the fray against the National Assembly, i.e., the constitutionally organized expression of people itself. They taught Bonaparte, to appeal from the parliamentary body to the people.
Finally, on January 29, 1849, the day arrived when the constitutional assembly was to decide about its own dissolution. On that day the body found its building occupied by the military; Changarnier, the General of the party of Order, in whose hands was joined the supreme command of both the National Guards and the regulars, held that day a great military review, as though a battle were imminent; and the coalized royalists declared threateningly to the constitutional assembly that force would be applied if it did not act willingly. It was willing, and chaffered only for a very short respite. What else was the 29th of January, 1849, than the "coup d'etat" of December 2, 1851, only executed by the royalists with Napoleon's aid against the republican National Assembly? These gentlemen did not notice, or did not want to notice, that Napoleon utilized the 29th of January, 1849, to cause a part of the troops to file before him in front of the Tuileries, and that he seized with avidity this very first open exercise of the military against the parliamentary power in order to hint at Caligula. The allied royalists saw only their own Changarnier.
Another reason that particularly moved the party of Order forcibly to shorten the term of the constitutional assembly were the organic laws, the laws that were to supplement the Constitution, as, for instance, the laws on education, on religion, etc. The allied royalists had every interest in framing these laws themselves, and not allowing them to be framed by the already suspicious republicans. Among these organic laws, there was, however, one on the responsibility of the President of the republic. In 1851 the Legislature was just engaged in framing such a law when Bonaparte forestalled that political stroke by his own of December 2. What all would not the coalized royalists have given in their winter parliamentary campaign of 1851, had they but found this
"Responsibility law" ready made, and framed at that, by the suspicious, the vicious republican Assembly!
After, on January 29, 1849, the constitutive assembly had itself broken its last weapon, the Barrot ministry and the "Friends of Order" harassed it to death, left nothing undone to humiliate it, and wrung from its weakness, despairing of itself, laws that cost it the last vestige of respect with the public. Bonaparte, occupied with his own fixed Napoleonic idea, was audacious enough openly to exploit this degradation of the parliamentary power: When the National Assembly, on May 8, 1849, passed a vote of censure upon the Ministry on account of the occupation of Civita-Vecchia by Oudinot, and ordered that the Roman expedition be brought back to its al eged purpose, Bonaparte published that same evening in the "Moniteur" a letter to Oudinot, in which he congratulated him on his heroic feats, and already, in contrast with the quill-pushing parliamentarians, posed as the generous protector of the Army. The royalists smiled at this. They took him simply for their dupe.
Finally, as Marrast, the President of the constitutional assembly, believed on a certain occasion the safety of the body to be in danger, and, resting on the Constitution, made a requisition upon a Colonel, together with his regiment, the Colonel refused obedience, took refuge behind the "discipline," and referred Marrast to Changarnier, who scornfully sent him off with the remark that he did not like "bayonettes intelligentes." [#1 Intelligent bayonets] In November, 1851, as the coalized royalists wanted to begin the decisive struggle with Bonaparte, they sought, by means of their notorious "Questors Bill," to enforce the principle of the right of the President of the National Assembly to issue direct requisitions for troops. One of their Generals, Leflo, supported the motion. In vain did Changarnier vote for it, or did Thiers render homage to the cautious wisdom of the late constitutional assembly. The Minister of War, St. Arnaud, answered him as Changarnier had answered Marrast--and he did so amidst the plaudits of the Mountain.
Thus did the party of Order itself, when as yet it was not the National Assembly, when as yet it was only a Ministry, brand the parliamentary regime. And yet this party objects vociferously when the 2d of December, 1851, banishes that regime from France!
We wish it a happy journey.
On May 29, 1849, the legislative National Assembly convened. On December 2, 1851, it was broken up. This period embraces the term of the Constitutional or Parliamentary public.
In the first French revolution, upon the reign of the Constitutionalists succeeds that of the Girondins; and upon the reign of the Girondins follows that of the Jacobins. Each of these parties in succession rests upon its more advanced element. So soon as it has carried the revolution far enough not to be able to keep pace with, much less march ahead of it, it is shoved aside by its more daring allies, who stand behind it, and it is sent to the guillotine. Thus the revolution moves along an upward line.
Just the reverse in 1848. The proletarian party appears as an appendage to the small traders' or democratic party; it is betrayed by the latter and allowed to fall on April 16, May 15, and in the June days. In its turn, the democratic party leans upon the shoulders of the bourgeois republicans; barely do the bourgeois republicans believe themselves firmly in power, than they shake off these troublesome associates for the purpose of themselves leaning upon the shoulders of the party of Order. The party of Order draws in its shoulders, lets the bourgeois republicans tumble down heels over head, and throws itself upon the shoulders of the armed power. Finally, still of the mind that it is sustained by the shoulders of the armed power, the party of Order notices one fine morning that these shoulders have turned into bayonets.
Each party kicks backward at those that are pushing forward, and leans forward upon those that are crowding backward; no wonder that, in this ludicrous posture, each loses its balance, and, after having cut the unavoidable grimaces, breaks down amid singular somersaults.
Accordingly, the revolution moves along a downward line. It finds itself in this retreating motion before the last February-barricade is cleared away, and the first governmental authority of the revolution has been constituted.
The period we now have before us embraces the motliest jumble of crying contradictions: constitutionalists, who openly conspire against the Constitution; revolutionists, who admittedly are constitutional; a National Assembly that wishes to be omnipotent yet remains parliamentary; a Mountain, that finds its occupation in submission, that parries its present defeats with prophecies of future victories; royalists, who constitute the "patres conscripti" of the republic, and are compelled by the situation to uphold abroad the hostile monarchic houses, whose adherents they are, while in France they support the republic that they hate; an Executive power that finds its strength in its very weakness, and its dignity in the contempt that it inspires; a republic, that is nothing else than the combined infamy of two monarchies--the Restoration and the July Monarchy--with an imperial label; unions, whose first clause is disunion; struggles, whose first law is in-decision; in the name of peace, barren and hollow agitation; in the name of the revolution, solemn sermonizings on peace; passions without truth; truths without passion; heroes without heroism; history without events; development, whose only moving force seems to be the calendar, and tiresome by the constant reiteration of the same tensions and relaxes; contrasts, that seem to intensify themselves periodically, only in order to wear themselves off and collapse without a solution; pretentious efforts made for show, and bourgeois frights at the danger of the destruction of the world, simultaneous with the carrying on of the pettiest intrigues and the performance of court comedies by the world's saviours, who, in their "laisser aller," recall the Day of Judgment not so much as the days of the Fronde; the official collective genius of France brought to shame by the artful stupidity of a single individual; the collective will of the nation, as often as it speaks through the general suffrage, seeking its true expression in the prescriptive enemies of the public interests until it finally finds it in the arbitrary will of a filibuster. If ever a slice from history is drawn black upon black, it is this. Men and events appear as reversed
"Schlemihls," [#1 The hero In Chamisso's "Peter Schiemihi," who loses his own shadow.] as shadows, the bodies of which have been lost. The revolution itself paralyzes its own apostles, and equips only its adversaries with passionate violence. When the "Red Spectre,"
constantly conjured up and exorcised by the counter-revolutionists finally does appear, it does not appear with the Anarchist Phrygian cap on its head, but in the uniform of Order, in the Red Breeches of the French Soldier.
We saw that the Ministry, which Bonaparte installed on December 20, 1849, the day of his "Ascension," was a ministry of the party of Order, of the Legitimist and Orleanist coalition. The Barrot-Falloux ministry had weathered the republican constitutive convention, whose term of life it had shortened with more or less violence, and found itself still at the helm. Changamier, the General of the allied royalists continued to unite in his person the command-in-chief of the First Military Division and of the Parisian National Guard. Finally, the general elections had secured the large majority in the National Assembly to the party of Order. Here the Deputies and Peers of Louis Phillipe met a saintly crowd of Legitimists, for whose benefit numerous bal ots of the nation had been converted into admission tickets to the political stage. The Bonapartist representatives were too thinly sowed to be able to build an independent parliamentary party. They appeared only as "mauvaise queue"
[#2 Practical joke] played upon the party of Order. Thus the party of Order was in possession of the Government, of the Army, and of the legislative body, in short, of the total power of the State, morally strengthened by the general elections, that caused their sovereignty to appear as the will of the people, and by the simultaneous victory of the counter-revolution on the whole continent of Europe.
Never did party open its campaign with larger means at its disposal and under more favorable auspices.
The shipwrecked pure republicans found themselves in the legislative National Assembly melted down to a clique of fifty men, with the African Generals Cavaignac, Lamorciere and Bedeau at its head. The great Opposition party was, however, formed by the Mountain. This parliamentary baptismal name was given to itself by the Social Democratic party. It disposed of more than two hundred votes out of the seven hundred and fifty in the National Assembly, and, hence, was at least just as powerful as any one of the three factions of the party of Order. Its relative minority to the total royalist coalition seemed counterbalanced by special circumstances. Not only did the Departmental election returns show that it had gained a considerable following among the rural population, but, furthermore, it numbered almost al the Paris Deputies in its camp; the Army had, by the election of three under-officers, made a confession of democratic faith; and the leader of the Mountain, Ledru-Rollin had in contrast to all the representatives of the party of Order, been raised to the rank of the "parliamentary nobility" by five Departments, who combined their suffrages upon him.
Accordingly, in view of the inevitable collisions of the royalists among themselves, on the one hand, and of the whole party of Order with Bonaparte, on the other, the Mountain seemed on May 29,1849, to have before it all the elements of success. A fortnight later, it had lost everything, its honor included.
Before we follow this parliamentary history any further, a few observations are necessary, in order to avoid certain common deceptions concerning the whole character of the epoch that lies before us.
According to the view of the democrats, the issue, during the period of the legislative National Assembly, was, the same as during the period of the constitutive assembly, simply the struggle between republicans and royalists; the movement itself was summed up by them in the catch-word Reaction--night, in which all cats are grey, and allows them to drawl out their drowsy commonplaces. Indeed, at first sight, the party of Order presents the appearance of a tangle of royalist factions, that, not only intrigue against each other, each aiming to raise its own Pretender to the throne, and exclude the Pretender of the Opposite party, but also are all united in a common hatred for and common attacks against the "Republic." On its side, the Mountain appears, in counter-distinction to the royalist conspiracy, as the representative of the "Republic." The party of Order seems constantly engaged in a
"Reaction," which, neither more nor less than in Prussia, is directed against the press, the right of association and the like, and is enforced by brutal police interventions on the part of the bureaucracy, the police and the public prosecutor--just as in Prussia; the Mountain on the contrary, is engaged with equal assiduity in parrying these attacks, and thus in defending the "eternal rights of man"--as every so-called people's party has more or less done for the last hundred and fifty years. At a closer inspection, however, of the situation and of the parties, this superficial appearance, which veils the Class Struggle, together with the peculiar physiognomy of this period, vanishes whol y.
Legitimists and Orleanists constituted, as said before, the two large factions of the party of Order. What held these two factions to their respective Pretenders, and inversely kept them apart from each other, what else was it but the lily and the tricolor, the House of Bourbon and the house of Orleans, different shades of royalty? Under the Bourbons, Large Landed Property ruled together with its parsons and lackeys; under the Orleanist, it was the high finance, large industry, large commerce, i.e., Capital, with its retinue of lawyers, professors and orators. The Legitimate kingdom was but the political expression for the hereditary rule of the landlords, as the July monarchy was bur the political expression for the usurped rule of the bourgeois upstarts. What, accordingly, kept these two factions apart was no so-called set of principles, it was their material conditions for life--two different sorts of property--; it was the old antagonism of the City and the Country, the rivalry between Capital and Landed property. That simultaneously old recollections; personal animosities, fears and hopes; prejudices and illusions; sympathies and antipathies; convictions, faith and principles bound these factions to one House or the other, who denies it? Upon the several forms of property, upon the social conditions of existence, a whole superstructure is reared of various and peculiarly shaped feelings, illusions, habits of thought and conceptions of life. The whole class produces and shapes these out of its material foundation and out of the corresponding social conditions. The individual unit to whom they flow through tradition and education, may fancy that they constitute the true reasons for and premises of his conduct. Although Orleanists and Legitimists, each of these factions, sought to make itself and the other believe that what kept the two apart was the attachment of each to its respective royal House; nevertheless, facts proved later that it rather was their divided interest that forbade the union of the two royal Houses. As, in private life, the distinction is made between what a man thinks of himself and says, and that which he really is and does, so, all the more, must the phrases and notions of parties in historic struggles be distinguished from the real organism, and their real interests, their notions and their reality.
Orleanists and Legitimists found themselves in the republic beside each other with equal claims. Each side wishing, in opposition to the other, to carry out the restoration of its own royal House, meant nothing else than that each of the two great Interests into which the bourgeoisie is divided--Land and Capital--sought to restore its own supremacy and the subordinacy of the other. We speak of two bourgeois interests because large landed property, despite its feudal coquetry and pride of race, has become completely bourgeois through the development of modern society. Thus did the Tories of England long fancy that they were enthusiastic for the Kingdom, the Church and the beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the admission that their enthusiasm was only for Ground Rent.
The coalized royalists carried on their intrigues against each other in the press, in Ems, in Clarmont--outside of the parliament. Behind the scenes, they don again their old Orleanist and Legitimist liveries, and conduct their old tourneys; on the public stage, however, in their public acts, as a great parliamentary party, they dispose of their respective royal houses with mere courtesies, adjourn "in infinitum" the restoration of the monarchy. Their real business is transacted as Party of Order, i. e., under a Social, not a Political title; as representatives of the bourgeois social system; not as knights of traveling princesses, but as the bourgeois class against the other classes; not as royalists against republicans. Indeed, as party of Order they exercised a more unlimited and harder dominion over the other classes of society than ever before either under the restoration or the July monarchy-a thing possible only under the form of a parliamentary republic, because under this form alone could the two large divisions of the French bourgeoisie be united; in other words, only under this form could they place on the order of business the sovereignty of their class, in lieu of the regime of a privileged faction of the same. If, this notwithstanding, they are seen as the party of Order to insult the republic and express their antipathy for it, it happened not out of royalist traditions only: Instinct taught them that while, indeed, the republic completes their authority, it at the same time undermined their social foundation, in that, without intermediary, without the mask of the crown, without being able to turn aside the national interest by means of its subordinate struggles among its own conflicting elements and with the crown, the republic is compelled to stand up sharp against the subjugated classes, and wrestle with them. It was a sense of weakness that caused them to recoil before the unqualified demands of their own class rule, and to retreat to the less complete, less developed, and, for that very reason, less dangerous forms of the same.
As often, on the contrary, as the allied royalists come into conflict with the Pretender who stands before them--with Bonaparte--, as often as they believe their parliamentary omnipotence to be endangered by the Executive, in other words, as often as they must trot out the political title of their authority, they step up as Republicans, not as Royalists--and this is done from the Orleanist Thiers, who warns the National Assembly that the republic divides them least, down to Legitimist Berryer, who, on December 2, 1851, the scarf of the tricolor around him, harangues the people assembled before the Mayor's building of the Tenth Arrondissement, as a tribune in the name of the Republic; the echo, however, derisively answering back to him: "Henry V.! Henry V!" [#3 The candidate of the Bourbons, or Legitimists, for the throne.]
However, against the allied bourgeois, a coalition was made between the small traders and the workingmen--the so-called Social Democratic party.
The small traders found themselves ill rewarded after the June days of 1848; they saw their material interests endangered, and the democratic guarantees, that were to uphold their interests, made doubtful. Hence, they drew closer to the workingmen. On the other hand, their parliamentary representatives--the Mountain--, after being shoved aside during the dictatorship of the bourgeois republicans, had, during the last half of the term of the constitutive convention, regained their lost popularity through the struggle with Bonaparte and the royalist ministers. They had made an alliance with the Socialist leaders.
During February, 1849, reconciliation banquets were held. A common program was drafted, joint election committees were empanelled, and fusion candidates were set up. The revolutionary point was thereby broken off from the social demands of the proletariat and a democratic turn given to them; while, from the democratic claims of the small traders' class, the mere political form was rubbed off and the Socialist point was pushed forward. Thus came the Social Democracy about. The new Mountain, the result of this combination, contained, with the exception of some figures from the working class and some Socialist sectarians, the identical elements of the old Mountain, only numerically stronger. In the course of events it had, however, changed, together with the class that it represented. The peculiar character of the Social Democracy is summed up in this that democratic-republican institutions are demanded as the means, not to remove the two extremes--Capital and Wage-slavery--, but in order to weaken their antagonism and transform them into a harmonious whole. However different the methods may be that are proposed for the accomplishment of this object, however much the object itself may be festooned with more or less revolutionary fancies, the substance remains the same. This substance is the transformation of society upon democratic lines, but a transformation within the boundaries of the small traders' class. No one must run away with the narrow notion that the small traders' class means on principle to enforce a selfish class interest. It believes rather that the special conditions for its own emancipation are the general conditions under which alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle avoided. Likewise must we avoid running away with the notion that the Democratic Representatives are all "shopkeepers," or enthuse for these. They may--by education and individual standing--be as distant from them as heaven is from earth. That which makes them representatives of the small traders' class is that they do not intellectually leap the bounds which that class itself does not leap in practical life; that, consequently, they are theoretically driven to the same problems and solutions, to which material interests and social standing practically drive the latter. Such, in fact, is at all times the relation of the "political" and the "literary" representatives of a class to the class they represent.
After the foregoing explanations, it goes with-out saying that, while the Mountain is constantly wrestling for the republic and the so-cal ed
"rights of man," neither the republic nor the "rights of man" is its real goal, as little as an army, whose weapons it is sought to deprive it of and that defends itself, steps on the field of battle simply in order to remain in possession of implements of warfare.
The party of Order provoked the Mountain immediately upon the convening of the assembly. The bourgeoisie now felt the necessity of disposing of the democratic small traders' class, just as a year before it had understood the necessity of putting an end to the revolutionary proletariat.
But the position of the foe had changed. The strength of the proletarian party was on the streets ; that of the small traders' class was in the National Assembly itself. The point was, accordingly, to wheedle them out of the National Assembly into the street, and to have them break their parliamentary power themselves, before I time and opportunity could consolidate them. The Mountain jumped with loose reins into the trap.
The bombardment of Rome by the French troops was the bait thrown at the Mountain. It violated Article V. of the Constitution, which forbade the French republic to use its forces against the liberties of other nations; besides, Article IV. forbade all declaration of war by the Executive without the consent of the National Assembly; furthermore, the constitutive assembly had censured the Roman expedition by its resolution of May 8. Upon these grounds, Ledru-Rollin submitted on June 11, 1849, a motion impeaching Bonaparte and his Ministers. Instigated by the wasp-stings of Thiers, he even allowed himself to be carried away to the point of threatening to defend the Constitution by all means, even arms in hand. The Mountain rose as one man, and repeated the challenge. On June 12, the National Assembly rejected the notion to impeach, and the Mountain left the parliament. The events of June 13
are known: the proclamation by a part of the Mountain pronouncing Napoleon and his Ministers "outside the pale of the Constitution"; the street parades of the democratic National Guards, who, unarmed as they were, flew apart at contact with the troops of Changarnier; etc., etc.
Part of the Mountain fled abroad, another part was assigned to the High Court of Bourges, and a parliamentary regulation placed the rest under the school-master supervision of the President of the National Assembly.
Paris was again put under a state of siege; and the democratic portion of the National Guards was disbanded. Thus the influence of the Mountain in parliament was broken, together with the power; of the small traders' class in Paris.
Lyons, where the 13th of June had given the signal to a bloody labor uprising, was, together with the five surrounding Departments, likewise pronounced in state of siege, a condition that continues down to this moment. [#4 January, 1852]
The bulk of the Mountain had left its vanguard in the lurch by refusing their signatures to the proclamation; the press had deserted: only two papers dared to publish the pronunciamento; the small traders had betrayed their Representatives: the National Guards stayed away, or, where they did turn up, hindered the raising of barricades; the Representatives had duped the small traders: nowhere were the alleged affiliated members from the Army to be seen; finally, instead of gathering strength from them, the democratic party had infected the proletariat with its own weakness, and, as usual with democratic feats, the leaders had the satisfaction of charging "their people" with desertion, and the people had the satisfaction of charging their leaders with fraud.
Seldom was an act announced with greater noise than the campaign contemplated by the Mountain; seldom was an event trumpeted ahead with more certainty and longer beforehand than tile "inevitable victory of the democracy." This is evident: the democrats believe in the trombones before whose blasts the wal s of Jericho fall together; as often as they stand before the walls of despotism, they seek to imitate the miracle.
If the Mountain wished to win in parliament, it should not appeal to arms; if it called to arms in parliament, it should not conduct itself parliamentarily on the street; if the friendly demonstration was meant seriously, it was silly not to foresee that it would meet with a warlike reception; if it was intended for actual war, it was rather original to lay aside the weapons with which war had to be conducted. But the revolutionary threats of the middle class and of their democratic representatives are mere attempts to frighten an adversary; when they have run themselves into a blind alley, when they have sufficiently compromised themselves and are compelled to execute their threats, the thing is done in a hesitating manner that avoids nothing so much as the means to the end, and catches at pretexts to succumb. The bray of the overture, that announces the fray, is lost in a timid growl so soon as this is to start; the actors cease to take themselves seriously, and the performance falls flat like an inflated bal oon that is pricked with a needle.
No party exaggerates to itself the means at its disposal more than the democratic, none deceives itself with greater heedlessness on the situation. A part of the Army voted for it, thereupon the Mountain is of the opinion that the Army would revolt in its favor. And by what occasion? By an occasion, that, from the standpoint of the troops, meant nothing else than that the revolutionary soldiers should take the part of the soldiers of Rome against French soldiers. On the other hand, the memory of June, 1848, was still too fresh not to keep alive a deep aversion on the part of the proletariat towards the National Guard, and a strong feeling of mistrust on the part of the leaders of the secret societies for the democratic leaders. In order to balance these differences, great common interests at stake were needed. The violation of an abstract constitutional paragraph could not supply such interests.
Had not the constitution been repeatedly violated, according to the assurances of the democrats themselves? Had not the most popular papers branded them as a counter-revolutionary artifice? But the democrat--by reason of his representing the middle class, that is to say, a Transition Class, in which the interests of two other classes are mutually dulled--, imagines himself above al class contrast. The democrats grant that opposed to them stands a privileged class, but they, together with the whole remaining mass of the nation, constitute the "PEOPLE." What they represent is the "people's rights"; their interests are the "people's interests." Hence, they do not consider that, at an impending struggle, they need to examine the interests and attitude of the different classes. They need not too seriously weigh their own means. Al they have to do is to give the signal in order to have the "people" fall upon the "oppressors with al its inexhaustible resources. If, thereupon, in the execution, their interests turn out to be uninteresting, and their power to be impotence, it is ascribed either to depraved sophists, who split up the "undivisible people" into several hostile camps; or to the army being too far brutalized and blinded to appreciate the pure aims of the democracy as its own best; or to some detail in the execution that wrecks the whole plan; or, final y, to an unforeseen accident that spoiled the game this time. At al events, the democrat comes out of the disgraceful defeat as immaculate as he went innocently into it, and with the refreshed conviction that he must win; not that he himself and his party must give up their old standpoint, but that, on the contrary, conditions must come to his aid.
For al this, one must not picture to himself the decimated, broken, and, by the new parliamentary regulation, humbled Mountain altogether too unhappy. If June 13 removed its leaders, it, on the other hand, made room for new ones of inferior capacity, who are flattered by their new position. If their impotence in parliament could no longer be doubted, they were now justified to limit their activity to outbursts of moral indignation. If the party of Order pretended to see in them, as the last official representatives of the revolution, all the horrors of anarchy incarnated, they were free to appear all the more flat and modest in reality. Over June 13 they consoled themselves with the profound expression: "If they but dare to assail universal suffrage
. . . then . . . then we will show who we are!" Nous verrons. [#5 We shall see.]
As to the "Mountaineers," who had fled abroad, it suffices here to say that Ledru-Rollin--he having accomplished the feat of hopelessly ruining, in barely a fortnight, the powerful party at whose head he stood--, found himself cal ed upon to build up a French government "in partibus;" that his figure, at a distance, removed from the field of action, seemed to gain in size in the measure that the level of the revolution sank and the official prominences of official France became more and more dwarfish; that he could figure as republican Pretender for 1852, and periodically issued to the Wallachians and other peoples circulars in which "despot of the continent" is threatened with the feats that he and his allies had in contemplation. Was Proudhon whol y wrong when he cried out to these gentlemen: "Vous n'etes que des blaqueurs"? [#6 You are nothing but fakirs.]
The party of Order had, on June 13, not only broken up the Mountain, it had also established the Subordination of the Constitution to the Majority Decisions of the National Assembly. So, indeed, did the republic understand it, to--wit, that the bourgeois ruled here in parliamentary form, without, as in the monarchy, finding a check in the veto of the Executive power, or the liability of parliament to dissolution. It was a "parliamentary republic," as Thiers styled it.
But if, on June 13, the bourgeoisie secured its omnipotence within the parliament building, did it not also strike the parliament itself, as against the Executive and the people, with incurable weakness by excluding its most popular part? By giving up numerous Deputies, without further ceremony to the mercies of the public prosecutor, it abolished its own parliamentary inviolability. The humiliating regulation, that it subjected the Mountain to, raised the President of the republic in the same measure that it lowered the individual Representatives of the people. By branding an insurrection in defense of the Constitution as anarchy, and as a deed looking to the overthrow of society, it interdicted to itself al appeal to insurrection whenever the Executive should violate the Constitution against it. And, indeed, the irony of history wills it that the very General, who by order of Bonaparte bombarded Rome, and thus gave the immediate occasion to the constitutional riot of June 13, that Oudinot, on December 22, 1851, is the one imploringly and vainly to be offered to the people by the party of Order as the General of the Constitution. Another hero of June 13, Vieyra, who earned praise 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 in the hire of the high finance--this identical Vieyra was initiated in the conspiracy of Bonaparte, and contributed materially in cutting off all protection that could come to the National Assembly, in the hour of its agony, from the side of the National Guard.
June 13 had still another meaning. The Mountain had wanted to place Bonaparte under charges. Their defeat was, accordingly, a direct victory of Bonaparte; it was his personal triumph over his democratic enemies. The party of Order fought for the victory, Bonaparte needed only to pocket it. He did so. On June 14, a proclamation was to be read on the walls of Paris wherein the President, as it were, without his connivance, against his will, driven by the mere force of circumstances, steps forward from his cloisterly seclusion like misjudged virtue, complains of the calumnies of his antagonists, and, while seeming to identify his own person with the cause of order, rather identifies the cause of order with his own person. Besides this, the National Assembly had subsequently approved the expedition against Rome; Bonaparte, however, had taken the initiative in the affair. After he had led the High Priest Samuel back into the Vatican, he could hope as King David to occupy the Tuileries. He had won the parson-interests over to himself.
The riot of June 13 limited itself, as we have seen, to a peaceful street procession. There were, consequently, no laurels to be won from it. Nevertheless, in these days, poor in heroes and events, the party of Order converted this bloodless battle into a second Austerlitz.
Tribune and press lauded the army as the power of order against the popular multitude, and the impotence of anarchy; and Changarnier as the
"bulwark of society"--a mystification that he final y believed in himself. Underhand, however, the corps that seemed doubtful were removed from Paris; the regiments whose suffrage had turned out most democratic were banished from France to Algiers the restless heads among the troops were consigned to pennal quarters; finally, the shutting out of the press from the barracks, and of the barracks from contact with the citizens was systematically carried out.
We stand here at the critical turning point in the history of the French National Guard. In 1830, it had decided the downfall of the restoration. Under Louis Philippe, every riot failed, at which the National Guard stood on the side of the troops. When, in the February days of 1848, it showed itself passive against the uprising and doubtful toward Louis Philippe himself, he gave himself up for lost.
Thus the conviction cast root that a revolution could not win without, nor the Army against the National Guard. This was the superstitious faith of the Army in bourgeois omnipotence. The June days of 1548, when the whole National Guard, jointly with the regular troops, threw down the insurrection, had confirmed the superstition. After the inauguration of Bonaparte's administration, the position of the National Guard sank somewhat through the unconstitutional joining of their command with the command of the First Military Division in the person of Changarnier.
As the command of the National Guard appeared here merely an attribute of the military commander-in-chief, so did the Guard itself appear only as an appendage of the regular troops. Finally, on June 13, the National Guard was broken up, not through its partial dissolution only, that from that date forward was periodically repeated at all points of France, leaving only wrecks of its former self behind. The demonstration of June 13 was, above al , a demonstration of the National Guards. True, they had not carried their arms, but they had carried their uniforms against the Army--and the talisman lay just in these uniforms. The Army then learned that this uniform was but a woolen rag, like any other. The spell was broken. In the June days of 1848, bourgeoisie and small traders were united as National Guard with the Army against the proletariat; on June 13, 1849, the bourgeoisie had the small traders' National Guard broken up; on December 2, 1851, the National Guard of the bourgeoisie itself vanished, and Bonaparte attested the fact when he subsequently signed the decree for its disbandment. Thus the bourgeoisie had itself broken its last weapon against the army, from the moment when the small traders' class no longer stood as a vassal behind, but as a rebel before it; indeed, it was bound to do so, as it was bound to destroy with its own hand all its means of defence against absolutism, so soon as itself was absolute.
In the meantime, the party of Order celebrated the recovery of a power that seemed lost in 1848 only in order that, freed from its trammels in 1849, it be found again through invectives against the republic and the Constitution; through the malediction of al future, present and past revolutions, that one included which its own leaders had made; and, finally, in laws by which the press was gagged, the right of association destroyed, and the stage of siege regulated as an organic institution.
The National Assembly then adjourned from the middle of August to the middle of October, after it had appointed a Permanent Committee for the period of its absence. During these vacations, the Legitimists intrigued with Ems; the Orleanists with Claremont; Bonaparte through princely excursions; the Departmental Councilmen in conferences over the revision of the Constitution;--occurrences, all of which recurred regularly at the periodical vacations of the National Assembly, and upon which I shall not enter until they have matured into events. Be it here only observed that the National Assembly was impolitic in vanishing from the stage for long intervals, and leaving in view, at the head of the republic, only one, however sorry, figure--Louis Bonaparte's--, while, to the public scandal, the party of Order broke up into its own royalist component parts, that pursued their conflicting aspirations after the restoration. As often as, during these vacations the confusing noise of the parliament was hushed, and its body was dissolved in the nation, it was unmistakably shown that only one thing was still wanting to complete the true figure of the republic: to make the vacation of the National Assembly permanent, and substitute its inscription--="Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"--by the unequivocal words, "Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery IV
The National Assembly reconvened in the middle of October. On November 1, Bonaparte surprised it with a message, in which he announced the dismissal of the Barrot-Falloux Ministry, and the framing of a new.
Never have lackeys been chased from service with less ceremony than Bonaparte did his ministers. The kicks, that were eventually destined for the National Assembly, Barrot & Company received in the meantime.