State Power, Popular Resistance, and Competing Nationalist Narratives in France, 1791-1871 Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Ayling, Lindsay
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • In this thesis, I analyze rhetoric surrounding three events in which violence erupted between the French authorities and the French “people”: the Champ de Mars massacre of 1791, the June Days revolt of 1848, and the Paris Commune of 1871. Studying newspapers, speeches, images, memoirs, and literature, I argue that in producing competing narratives surrounding these events, politicians and polemicists also shaped competing conceptions of the French nation. In order to justify a given position, they associated either “the people” or the military with French symbols, values, and ideals while presenting their opponents as the national enemy. With each subsequent civil struggle, they appropriated and altered previous narratives, thereby constructing evolving but still irreconcilable versions of the nation. I conclude that because nationalism fractures on ideological lines, it is impossible to realize a single, unified conception of a national essence.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Reid, Donald
  • Kramer, Lloyd
  • Smith, Jay
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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