United in division: the polarized French nation, 1814-1830 Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Owre, Maximilian Paul
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This dissertation analyzes the political culture of the Bourbon Restoration (1814-1830), the first stable post-revolutionary, post-Napoleonic regime in France. It uses recent theoretical developments in cognitive linguistics and frame analysis to examine the impact of a polarized political conflict between liberals and ultraroyalists, the era's two main factions, on French society. Drawing on published and archival sources such as formal political treatises, pamphlets, poems, popular songs, and state administrative and police records, this dissertation shows how polarized frames for understanding and participating in political life made the division between Left and Right a pervasive social metaphor. Each chapter outlines the frameworks that liberals and ultras used to understand the nation and conduct politics in a polarized public sphere. These ideas spread to diverse locations in France and among varied social classes, triggering further polarization in society. Specific case studies focus on events such as the expulsions of the Abbé Grégoire (1819) and Jacques-Antoine Manuel (1823) from the Chamber of Deputies and the 1823 military intervention in Spain to illustrate the political struggles that grew out of two mutually exclusive conceptions of the French nation. The central claim of this dissertation is that an overarching frame of Left/Right national division that had its origins in the revolutionary era evolved into the normative paradigm for modern French politics during the Restoration. This division has informed French conceptions of the nation and its political life, and has helped the French people negotiate the legacy of the Revolution to this day. This sense of irreparable division in the French public sphere also suggests that national identity is not a static concept but rather a dynamic process that relies on interactions between opposed ideas of the nation in the same polity.
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  • Kramer, Lloyd
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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