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Chapter 13 - The elections of 1859 - (Henry V) - 1858-1859

Depression, Recession, Crisis. These three words defined the previous term of Louis Marie Albert and his fragile coalition. On one side of the spectrum, the 'Aristocratic Liberals' were becoming a painful nuisance, whilst the Conservative Decazes faction, was splintering apart. Only the Ultra-Royalists remained resolute in their support of the Lord Minister, but a decaying electorate meant their word alone mattered increasingly little. Conservative support was imperative for retaining a proper majority, even if radical concessions had to be granted. Progressive Moderates were the most prominent concern - they commanded the largest percentile of seats within the Decazes faction and could easily thwart coalition agreements. Their demands were often broad, stretching from cabinet positions to the implementation of a wider electoral franchise. Reactionaries managed to dodge the concessions in previous terms, formulating false pledges of 'greater freedoms' and 'personal liberties' - though in truth these statements stood as mere promises that held no actual obligation. Many within the party turned a blind eye to the farce, believing that their continued presence in a coalition government would increase their individual chances of ascending to a cabinet position. Despite this policy, there was a strong contingency of liberal conservatives that refused to cooperate with the Ultra-Royalists and Traditional Conservatives. They were known as the Faction honnête by Dubreuil, staunchly opposed to a renewed coalition alongside Albert. Thus, all parties entered the electoral campaign with a uneasy dread, suspicious of the campaign ahead.

A keen reader will notice that our issue covers two years - one preceding the election and the actual year of the vote. The cause for this alteration regards the events of the two years, which are so closely intertwined, that separating them would be nothing more then pure folly.

Albert and the Ultra-Royalists received their first electoral test soon after the Hungarian Invasion of Austria. One of the independent deputies, a devout interventionist, proposed a bill that would motion France into direct conflict with the Austrians. The bill was easily shot down by a near universal margin, eliminating chance of a French intervention in Central Europe. However, Albert was not content over the result - the Republican reformation in Hungary had greatly infuriated the Lord Minister, whom pledged to never support the 'treacherous establishment.' Out of spite - both to the Hungarians and the leftists - Albert proposed a gag bill on French intervention within Hungary, nearly identical (except for opposite reasons) to the one that had been motioned on the Spanish issue. The courts ruled that the previous gag was entirely within the jurisdiction of the legislature, but Albert had never perused it's passing due to the economic recession. Now, the Lord Minister and his supporters brought forth both bills out of pure spite. Liberals and Progressives rallied behind Dubreuil in vocal opposition, pledging their intention to block the legislation. The proclamation shocked the traditionalist wing, whom had managed to pass almost all of their proposed bills (as long as the public did not riot in response). The Ultra-Royalists called upon King Henry V to rule on the matter, or perhaps even force through a Royal edict. The Monarch made a rare appearance at the Chamber of Deputies to a thunderous applause of traditionals and conservatives.

"My beloved uncle, Louis XIX, once stood before the First Minister of France and exclaimed: "If [la noblesse] want to rule France, by God they better pay for it!" Two decades of divine rule have thus passed since such a proclamation was delivered. Yet it is with weary eyes that I perceive little has changed. Allow me, as your sovereign, to declare in the fullest: ""If [la noblesse] want to rule France, by God they shall all rule it!"

When King Henry V exited, the left wing provided their own eruption of applause. The right, was silent. Later, Albert told a fellow politician: "Now we know why that man has no heirs! God has damned him into tenderness."

King Henry V, 1862

The bills were introduced to the Parliament the following morning as an uneasy silence gripped the Chamber. Following two rounds of voting, both bills were defeated by slim margins. Uproar took hold of the building - the Conservative vote had fallen into opposition, throwing the entire chamber into maddening chaos. "Is this democracy?" chuckled one Doctrinaire Deputy. The following weeks fared no better for Albert as two more pieces of Ultra-Royalist legislation was blocked by the left. Dubreuil, empowered by the votes, threatened to propose a motion of no-confidence unless trade duties were cut in half. A Ultra-Royalist convention approved Dubreuil's demand, hoping to cling onto power a little longer. The desperation of the Ultra-Royalists was unnecessary, however, for the actual numeric division of the Chamber remained ambiguous. During the Moroccan Opium Crisis of March, when Sultan 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Hisham hiked tariffs on French imports, provoking a 'free trade uproar,' Albert's faction alone was more then enough for a majority - able to pass the military retribution without leftist assistance (although the Chamber unanimously voted for war.) The Royal Foriegn Legion conducted the invasion of Morocco at the end of the summer, awaiting proper manpower and supply from the mainland. Even then, the full force of the action would not be felt until early the following year, when political tensions were worsening.

Amidst the confusion of the electoral season, the French economy had managed to rebound in full force. Daily income exceeded historic values, while industrial expansion swallowed up the last remaining ounces of unemployment. Due to the conflict in Austria, pitting the Prussians and the vengeance-hungry Hungarians (no pun intended) against the Austrians, common prices remained high. Nonetheless, the improved living and social condition rectified the high sale prices. From such a recovery grew resentment and anger between political economists, all of whom claimed their own policies were the source of restoration. Antoine, comte Roy, dismissed statements by Dubreuil that the Aristocracy had repaired portions of the price crisis by liberalizing their personal estates. Instead, Antoine prompted his own political leader, Molette, as the true 'savior' of France. The liberal leader was deeply disgusted by the former Minister, and demanded Molette eject him from Avant Capitaliste. Egged by the fear of losing his coalition partner, Molette agreed to exile Antoine from AC, securing his parties position at the right-hand side of Dubreuil. Unable to secure his own position, Antoine fled Paris in utter fury, though it would not be the final time he would cause dismay in the capital.

As the war heated in Africa the following year, Albert invested his political clout in the foreign sphere, going so far as to travel to the Moroccan front. General Thomas Boulanger, the commander of the Legion in North Africa, endorsed Albert's campaign just days after successive victories at Warzazat and Rashidia. Liberals accused Albert of bribery, basing their claim off Boulanger's relative silence on political matters. The accusations did not sway Albert's resolve - he was all too aware that allies were essential in the upcoming election. Both men would turn on each other in the aftermath of the election.

The War-Time election roused the literate populace, amassing crowds of protesters, government-sympathizers, businessmen, and all the rest. Dubreuil paraded out and provided lengthy speeches to the populace, intensifying his attacks against the government. Doctrinaire supporters were determined not to suffer the same fate as the previous chamber, screaming their desire for reformation across France. The opposition benches, both within and outside the Chamber, rattled with talk of change. On the contrary, Royalists sought out the landed electorate - determined to slander the progressives with radical associations. Fear tactic ruled the campaign for the Ultra-Royalists, whom warned the nobility of a second "Terror" in the case Albert did not return to office. Meanwhile, the Conservative faction convened it's primary, challenged with choosing a leader. Progressives, Centrists, Bonapartists, and Traditionals all congregated to vote.

The victor of the primary was Ferdinand Victorin Barrot, Pair de France, a scarcely known avocat and honnête, with political ties to the Bonapartists. Ultra-Royalists were outraged at the election, screaming treason at the Decazes Faction for their choice. Unable to act on the decision, Albert receded into the ranks of the Ultra-Royalists, awaiting the result of the general election with harsh anxiety. Meanwhile, Dubreuil made several propositions to Barror, whom was forced to refuse on belahf of retaining control of the entire party. His rejection displayed the powerful discord within the faction but affirmed his own role as a objective leader. Barrot preached solidarity, expressing his opposition to Ultra-Royalist coalitions on the basis of resisting 'obsolete policy. Élie, duc Decazes, aged 79, emerged from retirement to congratulate Barrot's election. His statement rallied the Conservative's into action - for the next several weeks the Decazes appealed to both the landed gentry and the public. Behind closed doors, the Conservatives preached a more moderate and conservative approach, however, outside the ears of fellow aristocrats, Progressive Conservatives advocated for more radical reform. Many in the public were confused if these gentlemen were subscribers to the Decazes or Doctrinaires faction.


Ferdinand Victorin Barrot, Pair de France
Dubreuil held up the newly liberated Republic of Venice as a prime example of Doctrinaire policy. Freed after the successful Prussian invasion, Venice had quickly amassed a vast army, expanded their electorate, and empowered their local elite. The Venetian focus on economics and their recent fortification of the local aristocracy inspired Aristocratic Liberals and capitalists. A large collection of notables sought a electoral endorsement from the Doge of Venice, going so far as to purchase real-estate in Veneto to receive the endorsement. This pursuit later payed off, when Dubreuil broadcasted the Republic of Venice as their model society. The mere title of Republic rallied the Parisians into support of the Doctrinaire's, although the left re-affirmed it's complete loyalty to the Sovereign. As per usual, the Ultra-Royalists screamed treason.

The Moroccan War ended in late August, which gave Albert a final opportunity to campaign his 'enlargement and improvement of the French state.' His claims were largely dismissed, mostly because the act of war was introduced by a liberal, nonetheless, the victory would provide the Lord Minister with a small boost in the polls. And he needed every landed vote he could receive, before the final election day the following month.

The Results

Election day passed without much noise, mostly due to the heavy military presence across the country. The results were posted the following week amid a whirl of excitement and intrigue.


Albert and the Ultra-Royalists suffered a crippling defeat, reduced to the third standing of parties within the Chamber. For the first time, the base of Royalist support was shaken - it's members reeling from the setback. The more open of the Ultra-Royalists suggested forming a conciliatory alliance with Barrot. An agreement between the traditional conservatives and Ultra's was nearly sufficient to form a majority, as long as the coalition could gather the support of some Centrists. Barrot outright refused to forge the coalition, instead appealing to the Doctrinaires for a electoral pact. Conservatives screamed at the very thought of allying with the liberals - especially because it would put them in league with the Radical Capitaliste's. Unsure of which faction to ally, Barrot produced a vote - offering to ally with either the liberals or the reactionaries. Progressives shot down the latter, while Traditionals blocked the other - effectively forcing a hung parliament.

King Henry V, therefore, was obligated to appoint the Lord Minister. Ultra-Royalists vehemently opposed the appointment of Barrot, citing his possible loyalty to the Empire. Henry agreed, and refused to appoint Barrot, but also denied a renewed term under Albert. The King considered Dubreuil as a possible option, calling him for council on several occasions. In response, the right-wing threatened to vote no-confidence immediately if a Doctrinaire Lord Minister was appointed. With the three party leaders effectively crossed out, Henry sought compromise among the moderate ranks. His primary option was François Pierre Guillaume Guizot, a liberal-conservative whom drifted in loyalty between the Progressive Conservatives and Centrists. "The Man of Ghent" had acted as a voice of reason after the restoration (and during the reaction), making him a popular choice among the moderates. While he was accused of "July" loyalties, the Ultra-Royalists were too weakened to put up resistance to the nomination, and begrudgingly accepted. Guizot was appointed Lord Minister and selected his bi-partisan cabinet the following week.

François Pierre Guillaume Guizot, Pair de France

Lord Minister of France: François Pierre Guillaume Guizot, Pair de France
Minister of Finance: Pierre Magne
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Anne-Édouard-Louis-Joseph de Montmorency-Beaumont-Luxembourg, 3rd duc de Beaumont, 12th prince de Luxembourg, 10th prince de Tingry, pair de France
Minister of the Interior: Claude Alphonse Delangle
Minister of War: Aimé, duc de Clermont-Tonnerre
Minister for the Maison du Roi: Marthe Camille Bachasson, Count of Montalivet
Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs: Le comte Martial Como Hannibal Perpetua Magloire Guernon Ranville
Minister of Education: Le comte Guillaume Isidore baron de Montbel
Ministre des Travaux Public: Guillaume Antoine Benoît, baron Cappelle
General of France: Jules Bourbaki, (bestowed) - comte de Clermont-en-Beauvaisis​
Guizot is Lord Minister, eh? He was a good friend of Lord Aberdeen in our timline, so I do wonder if closer ties with Britain are oncoming.

Despite the results, another enable update. :)
Chapter 14 - Turcs et les Italiens - (Henry V) - 1859-1861

The end of Ultra-Royalist domination over French politics was greeted with exuberance by the Royal subjects. French citizens, from all across the Kingdom, rallied in support of the Monarch's decision, perceived as the first moderate step to liberalization. But Guizot had no intentions of living up to his expectations as a moderate. Instead, he picked his allies and enemies rashly, moving to advance the first profound reformation in recent French parliamentary history. His first action was a thrashing of current taxes levied on the population, reducing their historical amount by a staggering 30%, directly correlated alongside his Laissez Faire economic policies. Such activities forced a rift between Guizot and his Conservative counterparts, furthering the divide in the Decazes party. However, the Lord Minister commanded three factions in his pocket, the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals, and the Capitalists, enough to retain control of the Chamber. Guizot remained cautious of his reformation, retaining a trade policy of Protectionism and therefore endorsing a "Mixed Economy" as his preference. While this did not repair relations between the different groups, it temporarily appeased a right-wing in total uproar.


Published for the Finance Ministry - on the topic of tariff and taxation reduction.

Popular sentiment, were indifferent to these extreme economic alterations, and instead called for political change. In November, Guizot presented a series of bills that would force the Ultra-Royalists to respect certain boundaries in election swaying - forcing opposition rallies from an 'underground status' to a more preferred stage of "Harassment." The bill, which had initially been much more radical in it's approach, was withered down by Traditional Conservatives until the bill had proper support to be passed without a Ultra-Royalist block. The legislation passed through the Chamber unscathed by opposition, scoring the moderate his first victory over the entrenched Royalists. Even so, his taunting and provocation to the right was not yet complete - prompting Guizot to encourage his finance minister, Pierre Magne, to implement a total withdraw of Industrial subsidies from the market. As economic policies remained entirely under the executive, the motion was approved by the cabinet, ushering in a large scale government retreat from the Industrial sector. As a result, industry production exploded, as did the unemployment rate. The triumphant return of General Bourbaki crushed any notion of agitation from the unemployed masses - assisted by decent unemployed subsidies enacted as one of the emergency measures during the recession.

Guizot did not take a more relaxed approach on Foreign Policy. His primary concern was the safety of France (and her interests) in this time of profound reform. A fervent Catholic, Guizot sought to reaffirm the authority of the Church in the Holy Lands, appealing to the Ottoman Empire for assistance. Luxembourg led the delegation to Istanbul, where the Turks overwhelmingly showed support for French policy in the region. Abdülmecid I handed over control of Holy Christian Sites on the 18th of November, 1860, despite numerous violations to previous treaties with the Russian Empire. The Turks, henceforth, would slowly fall into the growing French sphere. In Italy, the situation was much intriguing, especially as Anti-Austrian Rhetoric reached a colossal point across France and North Italy. On January 1st, a Sardinian delegation led by Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia arrived at the spa-town of Plombières-les-Bains, joined by His Majesty, King Henry V. The gathering was held in complete secrecy, with only a few cabinet members present at the assembly. The envoy prepared an offer, determined to rid Italy of Hapsburg influence entirely. Benso offered the King the long contested cities of Savoy and Nice, in return for providing military assistance against the Austrians and their Italian allies. The proposition, was too sweet to refuse.


The declaration of war came two weeks later, after French diplomats had confirmed the support of the Spanish, Russians, and Turks. The combined forced of the Alliance (which also consisted of the Papal States, Sardinia, and Egypt), numbered a force greater then 1 and half million soldiers. The Austrians on the other hand, were constrained by treaty rules and lost territory to the Hungarians, their personal force a merge 3% in comparison. However, the Italian allies of Austria had built their local forces to a sizable number, certainly enough to resist French incursions even with limited Austrian support. The undecided nature of the situation prompted Henry to assume personal command of the French Armies, joining General Jules in the leadership position. In total, 100,000 French soldiers were organized for the invasion.

The immediate problem for the alliance was the lack of troops in the vicinity of the front, so Jules moved the French contingencies into Piedmont in the first massive use of railways. Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany sought to disrupt this movement, sending half his forces against the enlarged Papal army, and the other to prevent the movement of the Royal Army.

As French forces moved unopposed into Austrian Italy, the Papal Army suffered a drastic defeat at the hands of invading Tuscan forces. General Domenico Ottaviani fled the field with only a token of his original force and hotly perused by General Prospero Cialdini. The timely arrival of 26,000 Ottoman soldiers in Grosseto prevented the Royal Tuscan Army from obliterating Papal forces. Henry V quickly responded, marching his personal force to defend Ottaviani and the Ottoman Army. The Tuscans, vastly outnumbered, attempted to retreat, but were stalled by bad weather. This divine delay allowed Henry and Ottaviani to catch the Tuscan Army at Ravenna, where the entirety of the Tuscan army was obliterated. Cialdini was killed during the battle. Henry, despite his vast numeric superiority, was hailed a savior by Papal forces and offered a personal blessing by the Holy See. In the following weeks, Russian armies executed a slow invasion of Galicia, while Austrian armies still did not arrive at either front. On May 25th, Austrian diplomats signed a Armistice at Villafranca - accepting the claims and demands of the Franco-Sardinian envoy. The following week, the Kingdom of Sardinia annexed the Duchy of Parma, the Duchy of Modena and Reggio, and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. As per the agreement, Nice and Savoy were given to Henry V, and thereafter annexed into France.


King Henry V at the Battle of Ravenna

The Abolition of Slavery

During the war, Guizot had sought methods of furthering the reformation without damaging his personal political status. He drew up a ploy that would strike directly at the entrenched Ultra-Royalists, but have little impact on the economy or his electoral chances. The plan was to strike at the issue of slavery - a motion that had been re-implemented following the French incursions into west Africa. In truth, slavery was all but extinct within the Kingdom, for it's burdensome costs and questionable morals had driven the number of actual slaves into the triple digits. The issue, on the other hand, remained a sign of white, aristocratic power - an ideal that the Ultra-Royalists were not too keen to abandon. Both sides would argue the issue for theological reasons rather then practical causes - causing a rift in ideological stances.

Progressive Conservative leader, Jacques-Victor-Albert, 4th duc de Broglie, proposed the abolition to a full Chamber in early April of 1860. The timing of the act was carefully executed in the midst of the Austro-Sardinian War, when many Ultra-Royalists were off fighting. Liberals, Capitalists, and Progressives all overwhelmingly showed support for the act, enough to pass the act. However, the importance of the motion was to force a divide in the traditional right, not just pass the act. Ergo, Guizot and Jacques called for support among Traditional Conservatives, whom had been instrumental in Albert's reign. Marshal Marie Esme Patrice Maurice de MacMahon, 1st Duke of Magenta, the leader of the Traditional Conservatives, symbolically joined the Society of the Friends of the Blacks, a pre-revolutionary abolitionist group, alongside Molette, Dubreuil, Guizot, and Jacques.

Société des amis des Noirs or Amis des noirs: Duke of Magenta, Francois de Molette, Louis Dubreuil, Lord Minister Guziot, and Jacques Albert

The motion passed with 444 votes, 74% of the Chamber of Deputies. The overwhelming support for the motion crushed the opposition, the solitary Ultra-Royalists. Louis Marie Albert bashed Magenta and the Traditionals in a following speech, infuriated at the 'betrayal,' yet unable to prevent it's enactment.

The Communist Agenda
According to unemployment statistics in 1860, 73,000 workers were unemployed as a result of the unrestricted industrial policies of Guizot. Even those whom were employed endured inhumane working conditions and petty pay. The desire for social reform was on a sudden rise - attributed to the horrid situation during the recession and common desire to improve the industrial environment. These ambitions eventually bubbled into the pinnacle of radical thought, engineered by Herr Karl Marx and Herr Friedrich Engels in their collection of political theories, including the infamous "Communist Manifesto." The duo perceived a society administered through the proletariat as the next step in social evolution. In order to achieve these aims "a revolution of the majority" would unshackle the workers from the bourgeois chains of 'slavery.'

Communism also separated from the modern conception of nationalism, driven to rid separate states in their entirety. Marx's words: "the worker has no country," forced the censorship offices to rid the public markets of the Manifesto. The action would prove meaningless, as workers rallied behind new Socialist and Communist theories that stood juxtaposed to the Monarchy. Francois de Molette was the most prominent opposition to this new theory, haunted by Marx's depiction of Capitalism and a industry functioned through the workers. He warned private employees that association with these theories would be punished harshly - deploying tactics that had been implemented under the Ultra-Royalists. Needless to say, associates of the red movement faced the gallows.

The National Agenda​
Back in the land of Saint Francis, Pan-Nationalist sentiment bubbled into intense attitude. With the northern states subdued, King Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont-Sardinia sought to wrestle the rest of the Italian peninsular and place it under his personal control. In order to attain the proper cause for conflict, Sardinia ordered Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Pan-Italian Redshirts to lead a incursion into the Venetian Republic. The move caused uproar in the Chamber of Deputies, especially among the aspiring liberals whom had used the ancient Republic as a backdrop. Garibaldi and Emmanuel were unmoved by the outcry, scurrying past the Venetian armies and proclaiming a declaration of unity - effectively annexing the Venetian Republic without a pitched battle. The following week, Sardinian armies disarmed the demoralized Venetians.

The Redshirt brigades attacked the Papal States on November 1st, ruining the alliance that had stood during the War of Independence. The action prompted a immediate response from Henry V, whom ordered the Royal Armies to amass at the southern border. But the fervor of Nationalism was too great to intimidate with force - Garibaldi conquered nearly all of the Papal States before a joint Franco-Roman defense prevented the incoming force from occupying the Holy City. Nonetheless, the victory was enough for Emmanuel to declare the Kingdom of Italy a independent state - despite recurring pleas from Paris to halt the aggression. Henry V, was infuriated. The King provided a military document to the General Staff, announcing his intent to invade the Kingdom of Italy and secure French domination in the north. The Italians, expecting French retaliation, prepped their armed forces and authorized a general mobilization of the Italian populace. France and Italy were locked in struggle.


Padri Della Nazione: King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour

But the war was not to be. For another conflict was brewing - one that would be raged across a peninsular on the other side of Europe. The Crimea.
Do all communist thinkers have incredibly large beards? :D

Another really enjoyable update. Packed with interesting events and political intrigues. Good to see Italy forming, especially. Those Levantine decisions looked similarly intriguing. Are they from PoD? It seems fitting that Guizot's ministry has placed such a focus on foreign affairs, in any case, what with his background.

Looking forward to more!
Do all communist thinkers have incredibly large beards? :D

Another really enjoyable update. Packed with interesting events and political intrigues. Good to see Italy forming, especially. Those Levantine decisions looked similarly intriguing. Are they from PoD? It seems fitting that Guizot's ministry has placed such a focus on foreign affairs, in any case, what with his background.

Looking forward to more!

In the 19th and early 20th century they did...only one that didn't was Mao...I think.
((Hello all, apologies for the delay - I'm currently writing a 25 page term paper (High School is a bitch) - and I'm quite booked for the week. The update should be up around next weekend, until then, do svidaniya! ))
Chapter 15 - Some damn thing in Italy - François Guizot - 1861-1863 (Henry V)

Between 1860 and 1864, the Kingdom of France would be ensnared in four wars, each one engaged with different alliances and opponents, culminating in the final conflict of 1863. The first war was the Austro-Sardinian War, which had facilitated the creation of Italy, much to the vexation of King Henry and Lord Minister Guizot. The conflict's aftermath divided the Italian Peninsula into two camps, the traditional regionalists, led by Francis II of the Two Sicilies, and the Pan-Nationalists, led by Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. The natural ally in this division was Ferdinand, not only because the Royal opinion sided against the Italian nationalism, but also because Francis shared the same blood as Henry, a far relative of the Senior Bourbon line. Francis was, however, not so keen to proceed with the alliance - especially after the French had assisted the Italians in securing the north. Instead, Francis looked to the Russians, who offered military assistance for the defense of the Southern Peninsular. The Eastern intervention was perceived by Parisians as a direct incursion on Royal policy, and a method for undermining Guizot's Italian maneuvers. King Henry dispatched Foreign Minister Luxembourg to Naples, where he sought convention with the King. Francis refused the French Foreign Minister entrance under the personal advice of the Tsar.


Francis II of the Two Sicilies and his Kingdom​

The Count of Cavour used the situation to his advantage, offering the Chamber of Deputies a incredibly profitable economic deal that allowed French investors unlimited access to the Italian markets. Several notable finance ministers, including Pierre Magne, official Minister of Finance - pleaded that the legislature accept the deal - therefore publicly endorsing the Italian movement (with a hefty price return.) The Chamber voted the deal into law, though not without opposition from the right. Their concerns were not lacking base - Guizot's foreign policy in Italy seemed to be a tipping scale that changed like the winds. Deposed Lord Minister, Louis Marie Albert denounced this nationalist endorsement as a provocation to further conflict in the region, especially as the peninsular became polarized between two opposing camps. But the motions in Italy were a mere power-play between greater forces in Europe - most profoundly, the French and Russians.

The Russian Empire delivered an official ultimatum to Istanbul for violations of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in early June. The Ottoman Sultan stubbornly refused the demands, sparking tension between the Bear and the Eastern Dumpling. After negotiations fell through, Europe erupted into a frenzy, while Turkish officials pleaded to Paris for aid - citing the Franco-Turkish agreement on the Status of Christianity as the direct cause for war. The requests reached the Chamber of Deputies inside a few hours, forcing Guizot to call a snap vote on the issue of intervention. Jingoistic sentiment bubbled both within and outside of the Chambers, allowing the intervention bill to receive a substantial bi-partisan majority. The Lord Minister signed the act of war, authorizing the French Navy to mobilize and initiate maneuvers to secure Turkish waters. The consequences of the act sent ripples across Europe. The Italians, inspired by the French, mobilized their armed forces, delivering their own declaration of war to the Russians and their Neapolitan allies. Rapid Telegrams between Paris and Turino escalated the separate conflicts into a coordinated coalition. On the orders of Henry, General Giuseppe Garibaldi denounced Russian attempts to disrupt the free market economy in the Italy, calling the war in Italy - "a result of Autocratic aggression from the East." Within a handful of days, the Ottoman-Russian War had expanded to the Mediterranean, dramatizing the European condition.

Before the first shots of the war rang out, the Ottoman Sultan, Abdülmecid I, respired his final breathe. He was succeeded by his brother, Abdülaziz, an energized successor, eager to cure the vast empire. His predecessor had preached caution in the upcoming days, worried that a false step would result in a crushing Imperial victory and doom the Empire. Abdülaziz immediately rebuked that plan, confident in his ability to rally the nation into vigor and urgency. In the following days, thousands of Turkish-Romanian soldiers poured into western Ukraine, defeating a string of smaller regional forces. They were blessed by geography, which prevented the Imperial Armies from organizing a swift counter-attack. As no serious Russian opposition showed, the southern armies commenced a occupation of Izmail and the bordering regions. The offensive galvanized the Turkish population into patriotic sentiment - inspiring frontier forces to take courageous actions against the Imperial East.


Sultan Abdülaziz and the Advancing Ottoman Armies

With the Eastern Front occupied by war-time maneuvers, Italy became the provincial concern for the Chief Parisian officials. The rapid incursion of Neapolitan Armies caught the Italians by surprise, permitting the southern kingdom to occupy Anconna and Ravenna. General Tommaso della Rovere managed to eliminate two Italian armies in quick succession, paving a path for southern victory by the end of the summer. His victory was prevented by great surges in the French Patriotic Movement, a Jingoistic group that lobbied for direct intervention in Italy. Henry, convinced by the movement, authorized Bourbaki to lead a response expedition into Italy. The General of France was accompanied by Veteran Lt. General, Antoine Bazaine - whom commanded the Second Army. Bazaine sought to achieve success through a combined arms strategy, which included the encirclement of the Northern Neapolitian Armies, and the destruction of the Southern Navy for a subsequent general blockade. On July 24th, the Mediterranean Royal Fleet converged on the Straits of Messina, intending to clear a path to the Eastern Front. The overwhelming firepower of the French munitions decided the conclusion of the battle. The Southern Fleet was decimated - ending any chance of coordination between the Russian and Neapolitian armies.


Subsequently - French naval units dispersed around the Italian nation, organizing one of the largest naval blockades in recent history. Upon hearing the news, Francis was utterly irritated - humiliated by a series of (otherwise) predictable military results. Against the advice of his Generals, the King refused to authorize a withdrawal from Italy. Tommaso della Rovere warned that inability to talk precautionary measures would result in the uncompromising defeat of the Sicilian Army. He proposed the establishment of a defensive line just south of the border, where fresh troops could be called with ease. The King respected the word of Tommaso alone, but lagged in his decision, especially because he feared the retreat would inspire internal nationalists to rebel. Finally, Francis gave the command for the evacuation. His order came too late - the northern army was unexpectedly ambushed by a smaller army under General Bourbaki. Superior artillery, coupled with the element of surprise, allowed the French Army to steal an advantage at Ravenna, defeating Rovere on the 29th of August.

Meanwhile, the Royal Fifth Army landed at Sevastopol unopposed. They set up communication lines to Odessa, currently occupied by the Ottomans, intending to organize a joint-strike into the heartland of Russia. General Etienne de Bourbon, moved into deeper into Crimea, taking towns along the way. During the march, the General encouraged local Cossacks to form brigades and attach to the French army. These disgruntled natives joined the invading force en masse, inspired by their regional leader, Vasily Orlov-Denisov. The Don Cossacks brought substantial supply trains and opened resource lines for the invading army, serving as both auxiliary and cavalry troops to the Fifth. In late October, Denisov took his supporting divisions and marched north, capturing Simferopol without French assistance. A few days later, the final Russian army in the region, was defeated at Cherkassy by Turkish-Romanian brigades, forcing the Imperial Power to seek peace.


Humiliated by the swift defeat, Alexander II sent his emissaries to Paris, hoping to retain the few scraps of dignity the Russian Empire still maintained.

The treaty admitted the Ottoman Empire to the European concert, and the Powers promised to respect its independence and territorial integrity. Russia gave up a little land and relinquished its claim to a protectorate over the Christians in the Ottoman domains. The Black Sea was demilitarised, and an international commission was set up to guarantee freedom of commerce and navigation on the Danube River.

Romania would stay under nominal Ottoman rule, but would be granted independent constitutions and national assemblies, which were to be monitored by the victorious powers. A project of a referendum was to be set in place to monitor the will of the peoples regarding unification. Romania received the south of Bessarabia (Budjak), creating a buffer between the Ottoman Empire and Russia in the west.

New rules of wartime commerce were set out: (1) privateering was illegal; (2) a neutral flag covered enemy goods except contraband; (3) neutral goods, except contraband, were not liable to capture under an enemy flag; (4) a blockade, to be legal, had to be effective.

The treaty also demilitarised the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea, which belonged to the autonomous Russian Grand Principality of Finland.

The Treaty of Paris (1856) marked a severe setback in Russian influence in the region. Its absence was replaced by a modum of French authority, enfeebling the former sphere of power the Russians had controlled. The Tsar, the infuriated Alexander II of Russia, contrary to the terms of the Treaty, delivered weaponry and supplies to his Italian allies through the use of blockade runners. These lightweight ships would smuggle goods past the vast blockading armada, earning great lumps of cash as prices mounted. Occasionally, even Russian officers would be shipped into Naples. Multiple contemporary accounts show Russian POW’s in the Italian front, often leading a large contingency of Sicilians. During the Battle of Aquila, when General Antoine and 26,000 French were attacked by a 50,000 strong Southern contingency, over forty-five Russian officers were reported by French spies. In this case in particular, the presence of experienced Russian officers nearly allowed the the Neapolitans to decimate the French at Aquila. Only the timely arrival of the 9th Army, under General Bourbaki, prevented the destruction of Bazaine’s force, and confirmed the Eastern presence.


General Bourbaki arrives at Aquila.

The Battle of Aquila had cost the southern forces to suffer 15,000 deaths, and more than double wounded. Both sides, throughout the duration of the conflict, had suffered multiple occupations - especially the Italians, who were doomed to fail if not for the intervention of France. One month after ther the Battle of Aquila, as the front-lines blurred and the opposing camps pushed deeper into the other’s territory, Naples fell to Bourbaki’s 9th Army. The subsequent peace, widely regarded as a necessary compromise, allowed the war-ravaged Italian peninsular time to recover. The state of Pugilia, previously administered by the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, was stripped from the former’s control and annexed into the Kingdom of Italy.

With the peace concluded, the Kingdom of France evacuated from Italy, satisfied with its strategic position. Able to access the small, extravagant markets of Italy, French businesses engaged in healthy competition with the Italians. Luxurious products underwent a substantial upsurge, promoted by the Acte de libre-échange, a French legislative motion that eliminated all economic duties. Confident investors assisted the uptick of the economy, while a group of Ultra-Royalists, the Collectif royaliste financière, established the first Aristocratic business owning collective. Guizot, concurrently, heavily promoted the expansion of heavy industry, expanding the arms and resource manufacturers to new zeniths. The drive to exploit domestic goods for industrial production would spur France into a colonial conflict in Bombara, while the search of efficiency spurred a spring of inventions that accelerated the pace of manufacturing output. This period, marked by substantial economic advances, polarized the French population. Many believed that the economic uptick was thanks to the workings of Guizot and the Peace of Naples. A different perspective fermented from the elite, attributing the boom to foreign market stability and private industrial capital. These loyalties would prove to be the deciding factor in the subsequent election, especially after the affairs of the following months.


Lords of Assisi

The economic pact between Italy and France was, as logistically necessary for the Italians, as it was economically imperative for the French. The Count of Cavour had scribed the agreement not to forge a lasting relation, but rather, to formulate a repellent while Italy pursued it's nationalist ambitions. Throughout the winter months of 1862, telegrams of warning were frantically delivered from Rome, warning of an imminent attack. The Italians denied the accusations, but nonetheless warned Guizot that any territorial violation would be contrary to their joint Pact. The Lord Minister dispatched Luxembourg to include a guarantee of the Papal States's sovereignty in the deal, which was promptly rebuked by King Victor. The refusal sparked tensions between Paris and Turino, neither side willing to back down from their contrasting ambitions. The Chamber of Deputies, convinced that a Italian strike on Rome was a simple matter of time, made a public declaration warning that French troops would soon reinforce the Holy See. The declaration stirred a frenzy at the Italian court - many Italian politicians saw the statement as a direct provocation, almost a violation of their territorial sovereignty. On the 16th of January, the Italian Army rushed across the Papal Border.
Very detailed.
Looks good.
Workers of the World, unite yourselves!
Chapter 16 - Notre Automne - François Guizot - 1863 - (Henry V)

When the Royal French Army stormed across the Italian border in 1863, few mundane souls could have predicted the sordid fate of France. The nation was locked in a tentative future - stagnated by endless wars, and bungled economics. Avarice businessmen fled the country en masse, displeased by the recurring conflicts that severed economic ties and razed domestic stability. And worse, these trends had advanced in a subtle nimble, never escalating to a tremendous calamity, but rather, seeping into the cracks left behind by fledgling officials. The fickled market carried on with terrible foreboding - unconfirmed by any harbinger. One glance into the depreciated French administration would find a most blissful ignorance. Profits remained soaring, state-run industry boomed, and the political atmosphere remained quite stable. Yet a deeper perception would find a worrisome confliction - prices remained unusually high, working conditions were destitute, and the general standard of living had devalued below competing countries. The French clientele were starved away by regulation, while the aristocracy welcomed great bundles of plunder, indulged in their own cupidity.

The General Staff had barely moved their headquarters into Italian territory when reports of Parisian agitation reached the military. Simple actions of disobedience, including anti-war protests, and widespread conscientious objection, were reported from Paris to Bordeaux - the message was the same, end the wars, fix the food prices. But the French government was in no position to respond to these demands, consumed by the nationalist invasion of Roma and the fragile diplomatic situation involving Italy. Lord Minister Guizot suggested that the agitators be allowed to continue their demonstrations until the Kingdom was in a more suitable position to address the issues. In general, the parliament agreed, concluding that a disregard for the situation would prove more fruitful than inflaming it. The stance proved to be a welcomed reverse from previous 'crackdown' policies, although the inaction allowed the peaceful movement to swell in support.


Economic woes, sheltered beneath enormous profits, were starting to intensify. The revocation of the Franco-Italian trade agreements shook factory input and caused a wild price fluctuation. Pierre Magne, Minister of Finance, briefly noted that industrial profit had dipped - although he attributed the minor slip to wartime price changes. Whereas the government remained ignorant, the populace was confronted by the brunt of the tribulation. Factory workers starved as the cost of living spiked and industrial wages plummeted. Even Francois de Molette, worried by the unexpected economic direction, offered private factories governmental subsidies. But the subsidies, approved by the Chamber, drained the French income to a record low, decreasing by a massive fifty-four percent. While wages normalized, the Defense Ministry needed more injections to fund the war - injections that were unable due to the subsidies. With the Chamber concerned by the protests and the war alike, the Ultra-Royalists and the moderates opted to raise taxes (exempting the industrialists and aristocrats) across the board.

The spike in income taxes enraged the general populace, and soon, the peaceful protests turned violent. French garrisons attempted to control the population but the regiments were undermanned - the majority of domestic soldiers had been relocated to fight in Northern Italy. Guizot motioned for the withdrawal of the recent tax, advocating for the government to swallow the price of the subsidies. His legislation was blocked by a slim majority, the first time in years that a Lord Ministerial proposal was rejected by the Deputies. The defeat of the economic reversal empowered the Ultra-Royalists - on the 11th of March, the Duke of Magenta, effective leader of the Traditionalist Decazes faction and the Ultra-Royalists, called a vote of no-confidence against Guizot. In the days before the vote, Guizot gathered what little support he had left, and opposed the vote with all his power. Nonetheless, Guziot's government collapsed after four years in office.

Although Guizot was definitely not the man of the people, the Duke of Magenta was the Parisian adversary; he was aristocratic, agrarian, snobby, and an ardent supporter of the Church. Cheers of joy in the Vendée were matched by dozens of strikes in Paris, grinding the industrial economy to a standstill. Elections were to be held within the month - the war, the protests, and the economy loomed above the election. Jules Bourbaki and his army, after a string of victories in the east, was recalled to France for the protection of the nation. The Royal French Army returned to France in triumph, but they were met only by snickering cries and bashful words. In some areas, sporadic outbreaks of violence shocked the armed forces - they had expected thousands to welcome their return with flowers and kisses. They received none. Instead, subjects called the returning army 'traitors' to France and demanded mass-defection. Some 23,000 French soldiers deserted the Royal Army and joined the agitating ranks, screaming for the government to liberalize or face rebellion.


Lacking a political figure to handle the situation with decisive response, the protests became more and more concentrated. Radical groups attempted to march on the Chamber of Deputies, demanding higher wages, better working conditions, and a free ballot. When the response from the Chamber was silence, the agitators formed a Revolutionary Committee and demanded King Henry sign a liberal Constitution. Henry, who was in headquarters in Italy, ordered a general withdrawal from the Italian territory to handle the domestic situation. While they withdrew, the Italians advanced as far as Nice, purposely inspiring revolutionary sentiment. Henry sought to crush the opposition with overwhelming arms, but by the time he had arrived in the north, his forces had dwindled to a mere half. Whispers of a Bonaparte in France caused panic across the Royalist ranks and soon, in a confusing disarray, soldiers fired on citizens and subjects returned shots.


Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew to the infamous Emperor, had indeed returned to France with a sizable bulk of support. Many moderate Conservatives and Bonapartist Doctrinaires resigned their Deputy seats and joined Bonaparte on his march to Paris. Henry, well read in history, appointed Magenta to the Lord Minister position to handle the situation before it turned into Civil War. But there was to be no war - revolutionary soldiers, loyal to the Committee, seized the Hôtel de Ville and declared the creation of a French Republic. Magenta could not resist - instead, he fled with Henry to the west while Bonaparte joined with Revolutionary forces in Paris. Henry, Magenta, and Louis Marie Albert convened in the Vendeé - debating on whether to resist or flee the country. Henry and Albert were determined to fight, but Magenta believed he could forge a successful Monarchial bloc in the new Republic and establish a Constitutional Monarchy. It is important to remember the Monarchy as a institution remained quite popular across France - though not in it's present, authoritative state. Henry and Albert agreed to Magneta's plans, allowing the Duke to return to Paris while the King fled the country on a British warship.

Magneta would never make it to Paris. He was shot by Bonapartist forces on the 9th of April on his way to the capital - other leaders, such as Francois de Molette, Louis Dubreuil, and Guziot, were peacefully returned to the capital and welcomed as moderators for the new Republic. Only Guizot, monarchist to the end, refused to participate. He would return to the countryside for the remainder of his days. Meanwhile, in Paris, renown Monarchists and Ultra-Royalists were apprehended or forced into exile while the Revolutionary armies took control of the military. Bourbaki remained neutral during the conflict - historians agree his neutrality allowed him to continue to serve as a General, although he was made subordinate to Bonaparte, who would continue the war against Italy under the auspices of a "Second Revolutionary War."


The fall of the Bourbon Kingdom is often regarded as an inevitability. Held together by a minority of oligarchs - the systems refusal to reform or adapt caused a constant inflammation of public opinion. Neither could this oligarchy commit to a sturdy economic plan, forever plagued by a capitalist market that worked against their aristocratic agrarian nature. And worst of all, its inability to react to public demands forced a deep plebeian animosity towards both the Royal Government and Military. The Bourbon Monarchy did, however, strengthen the strategic position of the French nation and advance its international position to a point conflicting with the First Empire. Ah yes, didn't I mention there was to be a Second?

"Those who are slow to react and deaf to hear the demands of labour will see both swept away and themselves by labour" - Bourbon Autocracy was too much for the modern age. Still a noble reactionary effort and a delight to read.

I like the fall, a combination of economic and military troubles, only worsened by weak government, very believable. I hope you don't take it the wrong way but its quite refreshing to see an AAR 'fail' rather than march in triumph towards 1936.
I believe that that's what you would call "an inevitability". :D

I'm disappointed that we won't get to see the results of Louis-Napoleon's efforts – and similarly so that Palmerston didn't get a mention in the update – though one cannot complain when one has enjoyed what has been a unique and fun read.

I guess I'll see you next time there's a republic that needs returning to absolutism.