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A. de Tocqueville before America

The Revolution of 1830: At the heart of the Insurrection

July 28, 1830: Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix

July 28, 1830: Liberty Leading the People, Eugène Delacroix
© RMN/Hervé Lewandowski

When the July Revolution broke out on July 27, 1830, Alexis de Tocqueville was still working at Versailles, and thus relatively sheltered from the events in Paris. Nevertheless, his father sent him a note urging him to exercise the greatest caution no matter what his opinions of the change in regime. His main preoccupation was to get his parents to a safe place, which turned out to be at Saint-Germain-en-Laye with the Baron Ollivier, his brother Edouard's father-in-law.

For his part, Tocqueville was resolutely determined not to remain a mere spectator to what was happening, and he crossed Paris, armed with a rifle given to him by the Garde Nationale to help "contain the masses".

« How hard it is at times to be alive! The bloodshed in Paris and cries of alarm haunt me incessantly. As for the Bourbons, they have behaved like cowards and are not worth one part in a thousand of the blood that has just been spilled in their behalf. »
(Letter to Mary Mottley, July 30, 1830)

He thus was an eye-witness to his first revolutionary days, and the letter he sent to Marie Mottley his future wife, on July 30, 1830, clearly testifies to the horror he felt at the uncontrolled and furious uprising and the terrible spectacle of French people cutting each other's throats.  play sound extractlire l'extrait sonore   This fear of crowds caught up in revolutionary fury - perhaps a legacy of the trauma that his family had suffered during the French Revolution and which he felt concretely for the first time - never left him.

Aux 27, 28, 29 juillet 1830, anonyme

The 27th, 28th, and 29th of July 1830, anonymous
© PMVP

Archives

Start of Alexis de Tocqueville in the position of alternate magistrate at Versailles, October 25, 1830

Start of Alexis de Tocqueville in the position of alternate magistrate at Versailles, October 25, 1830 © AD Yvelines

Start of Alexis de Tocqueville in the position of alternate magistrate at Versailles, Octobre 28, 1830

Start of Alexis de Tocqueville in the position of alternate magistrate at Versailles, Octobre 28, 1830 © AD Yvelines

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