Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-t82dr Total loading time: 0.237 Render date: 2021-12-09T14:33:06.704Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Conclusion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2009

Malcolm Crook
Affiliation:
Keele University
Get access

Summary

These days the electoral assemblies are very different to those of the Revolution. Then the people attached the greatest importance to voting and turned out en masse; as a result it was possible to discern the passions, opinions and even the most intimate thoughts of each class of citizen. Today, however, the people have come to realise that, on account of its expertise in assessing the contenders, the government alone should be entrusted with making the necessary choices. Indeed, there would be little objection if we revoked the articles in our Constitution which retain the practice of popular election.

So wrote the acting sub-prefect of Toulon in 1813, in the wake of polls which attracted a mere 5 per cent of the electorate in the naval town. His impression of revolutionary elections was decidedly rose-tinted but, contrary to widely held belief, the Napoleonic régime did not entirely abolish elections; on the contrary, the Constitution of the Year VIII, which was hurriedly issued only a month after Bonaparte came to power, re-instated a broader suffrage. Following revolutionary precedent, this constitutional document was immediately submitted to a referendum, but it was another twelve months before a further round of elections took place. Thereafter the electorate was consulted infrequently and, if the French apprenticeship in democracy and citizenship did not grind to a complete halt, it was severely dislocated under both Napoleon and his Bourbon successors.

The turn of the nineteenth century is thus a good vantage point from which to survey the electoral endeavours of the preceding decade, weighing up what had been achieved against what was left to be desired. The latest rulers of republican France were anxious to demonstrate their popular credentials with a vote on the new Constitution which invited comparison with earlier referenda.

Type
Chapter
Information
Elections in the French Revolution
An Apprenticeship in Democracy, 1789–1799
, pp. 190 - 196
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1996

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Conclusion
  • Malcolm Crook, Keele University
  • Book: Elections in the French Revolution
  • Online publication: 03 November 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511581809.009
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Conclusion
  • Malcolm Crook, Keele University
  • Book: Elections in the French Revolution
  • Online publication: 03 November 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511581809.009
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Malcolm Crook, Keele University
  • Book: Elections in the French Revolution
  • Online publication: 03 November 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511581809.009
Available formats
×