By Matthew N Truesdell

Drawing on newspapers, archival resources, and memoirs, wonderful Politics indicates how, as President of the second one Republic after which as Emperor Napoleon III, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte used public speech and spectacle to dazzle and seduce the French inhabitants, assisting to pioneer the fashionable strategies of photograph politics and the manipulation of a mass voters. Elected President of the second one Republic in 1848, the yr of the inception of common male suffrage, this nephew of Napoleon I overthrew that Republic in 1851 to set up himself as Emperor Napoleon III, a name he stored for nearly 20 years. in this interval, Louis-Napoleon used occasions as various because the annual nationwide vacation at the birthday of Napoleon I, the glitzy inaugurations of Paris's new streets, the common expositions, and the numerous army studies of the time to degree tricky public celebrations. writer Matthew Truesdell indicates how those occasions have been greater than simply festive amusements, yet have been in reality a few of Louis-Napoleon's key instruments within the projection earlier than a mass viewers of robust photos that allowed him to offer himself because the incarnation of the nationwide will and the right chief for the age. His skill to package deal his principles briefly, beautiful verbal slogans made him some of the most profitable political orators in French heritage. He had a knack for arising with the felicitous word, the emotionally attractive slogan that summed up his coverage basically and was once infinitely repeated in newspapers, speeches, songs, and poems, within the "soundbite" sort that dominates politics at the present time. yet this examine additionally is going past the tale of Louis-Napoleon's makes an attempt to control public opinion to check how his political opponents--especially the republicans--used related suggestions of their eventually profitable attempt to supplant his regime. fantastic Politics makes an important contribution to the bigger heritage of the invention of picture and spectacle as instruments of political manipulation. it will likely be of curiosity to students of recent French heritage, glossy Europe, and the heritage of politics.

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Extra resources for Spectacular Politics: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the Fete Imperial, 1849-1870

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In the first place, as Sand noted, the sheer numbers involved make such a scenario highly unlikely. Louis-Napoleon did not hold the reins of state firmly enough to have carried out truly massive fraud, and he had not held them long enough for Bonapartist propaganda to have so thoroughly effaced the memory of other political possibilities for so many people. Moreover, other indicators of Louis-Napoleon's popularity—prefects' reports, for example—do exist, while there is little evidence of widespread dissatisfaction with the results of the plebiscite.

Worked better. By standing in opposition to the personal cheers for Louis-Napoleon, this cheer for the Republic clearly voiced support for the left. Yet since it voiced support for the current form of government and did not call for radical change, it was hard to repress. The Divided Republic 25 The repression cast a pall on the celebration of the second anniversary of the February Revolution in 1850. The official circular from the minister of the interior to the prefects requesting them to make plans for the celebration made clear that nothing more than minimal conformity with the law was required.

These sources generally portrayed the crowds as either curious but apathetic or supportive of the Republic, and they usually interpreted any enthusiasm for Louis-Napoleon as the product of threats, intimidation, or bribery. The radicals placed direct responsibility for this manufacturing of Bonapartist enthusiasm at the doorstep of the Societe du Dix Decembre, a group named for the date of the 1848 presidential election that maintained nominally charitable status to avoid the ban on political meetings.

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