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Thread: The French Century - A Ricky AAR 1836 -

  1. #1
    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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    The French Century - A Ricky AAR 1836 -

    The French Century


    This AAR is drawn from a summary of notes from a class I took as a student at the University of Northern Algeria under the eminent Dr. Paul Renault. He was an excellent teacher, one of the best I had during those heady days, but horribly dull in his lecturing style. I never thought I would need these notes, but I am glad I kept them for this time. I will try to keep my own thoughts distinct and separate from the teaching notes


    “Students, in this class we will discuss the rise and development of the French nation and empire in the recent past. As you well know as children of our fatherland, knowledge of one’s own history is essential to being a good citizen of that nation."

    Dr. Renault’s voice is droning and dull, and the heat of his classroom is unbearable. My eyes drift towards the window, which frames the tile clad roofs of the University of Northern Algeria, and in the distance, the Mediterranean coast. A few days ago, I was there, lounging in the sun; now I am here, studying the history of “our Great Nation.” The French Century is a required course for all students at UAN and I happened to draw a class with the most eminent of professors who has the dubious distinction of being the dullest. My name? Rene Atta. I am a Frenchman of Arabic descent. My nation is the greatest in the world. Back to the lecture...

    “The French Nation in 1836 was economically prosperous and politically stable. At home, men of wealth, good morals, and bourgeois sensibilities ruled the nation. The king Louis-Philippe was content in his rule, fully dependent on the bourgeois upper classes to support his rule. He even dressed like a member of he bourgeoisie. Abroad, France was a nation that had for half a generation, been merely another continental power, on par with Austria, Prussia and Russia and constrained on her borders by buffer states erected as a fence against French power.

    The halcyon days of Louis XIV, “the Sun king” when all of Europe basked in the cultural glow of the magnificent monarch were long gone. The more recent days of revolutionary empire under Napoleon were swept under the carpet as too risky to remember. Great Britain alone strode the world as a colossus, with no true competitor to her wealth, industry or influence. France was still a great power, but not nearly as great as she been. No one could predict the changes that would engulf France and the world in the next hundred years in what would become known as The French Century."
    Last edited by kingmbutu; 08-09-2006 at 17:21.
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  2. #2
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    Good start.
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    Revolutionary Leader VILenin's Avatar
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    Interesting, sounds like we have a resurgent France in the future.

    The French Nation in 1836 was economically prosperous and politically stable. At home, men of wealth, good morals, and bourgeois sensibilities ruled the nation.
    Is this an actual line from his lecture? Because if I were describing 1830's France that's not quite how I'd put it. Or should I assume were going AU?
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    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VILenin
    Interesting, sounds like we have a resurgent France in the future.



    Is this an actual line from his lecture? Because if I were describing 1830's France that's not quite how I'd put it. Or should I assume were going AU?
    AU?? What does that mean?

    It is a line from the lecture... a bit of historically distorted hindsight
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    Revolutionary Leader VILenin's Avatar
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    I just wouldn't call the ruling class of France "men of wealth, good morals and bourgeouis sensibilities," though I suppose they were wealthy. I also wouldn't consider France to be "politcally stable." There were riots and street uprisings in 1836 and then again during the Liberal Revolution in 1848 as well as constant agitation against Louis Phillipe.
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    Good stuff, can never have too many French AARs.

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    A very good start, kingmbutu. I am pleased to be able to get in at the beginning of this one, and have been meaning to read up on your Russian one for some time. Good luck.
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    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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    Nikolai : Hopefully the good start will not be wasted on a poor middle and a mediocre end.

    VILenin: Our hindsight is quite different from that of our Prof. Renault and his student Rene Atta. As Prof. Renault would state it, "Historical fact and historical fiction are inventions concocted by those with something to gain or lose in the present and have little bearing on the actual events that comprise sich history."

    LeonTrotsky: I hope only that this small effort is worthy of the genre of French AAR's

    coz1 : Thank you for your kind words. My Russia AAR ended rather abruptly; hopefully I will have better luck here.

    All : Any advice or suggestions are much appreciated as it can only make me a better writer, and make this insignificant story of more interest for you to read.
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    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Interesting start. A lecture I see. I'll try to not to snore in the back row
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    Nice start there. I liked that. Good luck.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stnylan
    Interesting start. A lecture I see. I'll try to not to snore in the back row
    snoring is grounds for suspension; hopefully the lectures won't be that boring
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  12. #12
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    The lecture droned on and on and my mind wandered… Economically prosperous and politically stable? What kind of description is that of France in the 1830’s? Surely it was much more turbulent, with a revolution recently passed. Such transparent propaganda in a university level course. But then again, what do I know? Dr. Renault literally wrote the book on The French Century, that overpriced, under-illustrated book that is required for this class. Every year he makes a fortune by “editing” a few paragraphs and adding some charts and pictures so that it can re-issued as a revised edition. Such a cheat, but what recourse do I have? Use my elder brother’s book from when he was student? If he was smart, he sold it back to the university. I wonder what they do with those books. I mean, we have a new edition every year? I suppose they wind up in some distant colonial classroom to instruct our lesser citizens of the great privilege of being part of France. Oh, wait… class is being dismissed. As always, I missed the announcement of our homework assignment. Never mind, it is chalked on the board.

    Read for next class: article “Low Country, High Tide: The 1836 Low Country conflicts” by St. Nylan

    Oh great, in addition to this stupid textbook, I have to go to the library now. I’ve heard of that author before in a literature class. I think he wrote fiction set in the high middle ages; something about remembering France. Who cares, I have work to do. But first, the beach. There is a girl I am supposed to meet there. Her brother is my friend, and he will chaperone her since her father does not yet know…
    Last edited by kingmbutu; 07-09-2006 at 22:55.
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    Dr. Renault is not the great lecturer he sounded at first. Now why does that author of the Low Country book look familiar

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    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Wellington
    Dr. Renault is not the great lecturer he sounded at first. Now why does that author of the Low Country book look familiar
    hmmm... I don't know. Where have we heard that author's name before??
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    That Guy Over There djoker32's Avatar

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    Very interesting format. I'll be looking forward to more posts.
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    And there was much chuckling from a certain Britsher...

    Actually those thought processes are remarkably similar to what mine were concerning one of my lecturers at uni, and his book that just happened to be required reading...
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    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stnylan
    And there was much chuckling from a certain Britsher...

    Actually those thought processes are remarkably similar to what mine were concerning one of my lecturers at uni, and his book that just happened to be required reading...

    I think we've all shared those thoughts...
    as for the author of the article, well, he and others may have additional cameos as things progress. we'll see...
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    Colonel kingmbutu's Avatar
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    Here is a map of France in 1836 (our book had this giant fold out map; one of the reasons Dr. Renault could issue it as a "new edition")


    France in 1836

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  19. #19
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    “M. Professor, the low countries, especially so called ‘Belgium’ were artificial nations, contrivances meant only to constrain French power.”

    “Very good M. Wellington.” Hmph! Very good indeed. This Wellington kid obviously did the reading while I was at the beach these past days. He clearly means to impress Professor Renault. And he has an English name, but I guess I won't hold that against him. I read St. Nylan’s article, but I don’t remember half of it. Perhaps next time I should read it before I go out drinking. Back to the lecture…


    “The Dutch-Belgian civil war provided an opportunity for France to provide security in what many called the “artificial nation,” of Belgium. French armies marched into Belgium with the express purpose of restoring order and providing for the safety of French speaking citizens.

    Militarily pressed between the Dutch and the French, Belgium quickly settled for a status quo peace with the Netherlands. Her armies then turned towards suppression of its French population, necessitating increasing French pressure. By December of 1836, our glorious French forces had soundly defeated the so called Belgian army and occupied the entire country. The Treaty of Charleroi ceded fully half of remaining Belgian territory to the French nation, including the port province of Brugge. The secession of these provinces to the French nation was an important step in bringing France to her natural God given borderlands on the northeastern frontier.”


    Belgian Concessions at the treaty of Charleroi



    Boy is it hot in this class room... It is interesting though; this history I mean. How horrible would it have been to be trapped in such an artificial creation as “Belgium?” Hmph! A curious half baked concoction that was never meant to be. I wonder if that’s where the saying “a Belgian idea” comes from? … I am really glad they don’t allow women at the university. It is hard enough to concentrate without being distracted. I bet the girls feel the same way at their colleges…

    “The desire for France to fill her natural borders combined with continued agitation of the Dutch against French speaking people led to another declaration of war, this time against the Netherlands. It was an unfortunate reality that within one year, two wars had been forced on the France in defense of her people and nation. The armies of the Netherlands were certainly no match for France and the three month long war yielded Dutch Guyana and the French speaking provinces of Liege, Arlon, & Luxemborg as well as the port of Middleburg. In one year, France had gained over 1 million new citizens and access to crucial iron and coal reserves. The British and other European powers did nothing as the Low Countries fell under French dominance as it was clear that France was acting in her own self protection and in defense of the security of Western Europe.”
    Last edited by kingmbutu; 08-09-2006 at 10:31.
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  20. #20
    That Guy Over There djoker32's Avatar

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    And don't forget that now the French have unlimited access to all-they-can-eat waffles

    Very nice opening moves.
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