Bourbon Restoration  

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"Following the ousting of Napoleon I of France in 1814, the Allies restored the Bourbon Dynasty to the French throne. The ensuing period is called the Restoration, following French usage, and is characterized by a sharp conservative reaction and the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic Church as a power in French politics."

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Bourbon Restoration is the name given to the restored Bourbon Kingdom of France which existed from 1814 until the July Revolution of 1830, with the interval of the "Hundred Days" from Napoleon I's return from Elba to the Battle of Waterloo in 1814–15. The regime was a constitutional monarchy, unlike the ancien régime, which was absolute. The period was characterized by a sharp conservative reaction and the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic Church as a power in French politics.

The Armies of the Sixth Coalition restored the Bourbon pretender, Louis XVIII, to the throne of France in April 1814. A constitution, the Charter of 1814, was drafted, presenting all Frenchmen equal before the law, but retaining substantial prerogative for the king. He was the supreme head of the state, commanded the land and sea forces, declared war, made treaties of peace, alliance and commerce, appointed to all places of public administration, and made the necessary regulations and ordinances for the execution of the laws and the security of the state. King Louis was more liberal than his successor Charles X, choosing many centrist cabinets.

Louis XVIII died in September 1824. He was succeeded by his brother, Charles. Charles X pursued a more conservative form of governance than Louis. His ultra-reactionary laws included the Anti-Sacrilege Act, 1825, which saw his popularity plummet. The king and his ministers attempted to manipulate the outcome of a general election in 1830, through their July Ordinances. The ordinances sparked a revolution against Charles's coup attempt; by 2 August 1830 Charles had fled Paris and abdicated in favour of his grandson Henri, duc de Bordeaux. Henri's theoretical reign was ended on 9 August when the Chamber of Deputies declared Louis Philippe d'Orléans, who was currently ruling France as regent, King of the French, thus ushering in the July Monarchy.


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